I publish a lot of recipes on EatsLeeds, and while I have a philosophy of using fresh, seasonal and easy-to-find ingredients where possible, some vegan & gluten-free dishes really need something a bit harder to find.
Where a recipe does include more obscure ingredients, I’ve usually linked to where you can buy it on Amazon (which is usually the cheapest option).
You can generally pick up most of these ingredients in larger supermarkets, too.
If you prefer to support local businesses, a health-food store is usually the best place to find more unusual ingredients.
I sometimes write about places to eat and drink in Leeds, however, the Leeds food scene is a dynamic and ever-expanding one. While I make every effort to update these lists as things change, I just don’t have the time to keep them 100% up-to-date. Please check the date the post was published, and contact the venue if you’re at all unsure. If you notice any out-of-date information or know of a Leeds venue that should be added to a list, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know.
I often note in a recipe that you can pick these items up at ‘your local health food store’.
I think health food shops get a bad rap. They have a reputation for being a bit hippyish, a bit woo, but I love them. My very first Saturday job was actually in a health food store (unfortunately closed now), and I find them really comforting, and interesting at the same time.
The smells of dried fruit & nuts, the shelves stacked with unusual packaging & foods that you might not have seen before, the patter of salespeople who (usually) care about the products they stock and the customers they serve. When I’m in a strange town, I find myself drawn into health food stores, just for a browse, in the same way I am into bookshops.
Where is your local health food store?
The easiest way to find out is to Google ‘health food stores near me’ obviously.
You could also try asking in vegan or gluten-free groups for your city on Facebook, or in a hashtag for free-from people in your area on Twitter (I might search #VegansOfLeeds or #GlutenFreeLeeds, for example).
If you’re based in Leeds though, here’s a list of some of the health food shops in the city centre, where you can get more unusual free-from ingredients.
Health food shops in Leeds
These are the independent health food shops in Leeds where you can usually find any unusual ingredients that a free-from recipe might call for.
20 New Market Street, Leeds, LS1 6DG
Probably my favourite health food shop in Leeds – and certainly my local one. Out of This World has been around as long as I can remember. They stock a really wide range of free-from ingredients (things like nutritional yeast & xanthan gum), as well as snacks and other foods, and vegan toiletries & household products, too. Out of This World also have a fresh counter selling homemade snacks – I highly
109 Vicar Ln, Leeds LS1 6PJ
Millie’s stock a range of healthy & free-from foods, as well as having a large takeout food area at the back of the store, for fresh salads & hot food. Millie’s also has a large beauty salon upstairs, offering natural, vegan beauty treatments.
23 North Lane, Headingley, Leeds LS6 3AW
Outside the city centre, in Headingley, Natural Food Store is an independent health food shop selling everything from free-from ingredients to fairtrade products and herbal teas.
Trinity Leeds, Leeds LS1 5ER
37 The Merrion Centre, Leeds LS2 8NG
4a Kirkstall Bridge Shopping Park, Leeds LS5 3BL
43 White Rose Shopping Centre, Leeds LS11 8LU
Tesco Extra Seacroft, York Road, Leeds LS14 6JD
11 Crossgates Centre, Arndale, Leeds LS15 8ET
Okay, not an indie, but there are 6 branches of H&B in Leeds and, with their regular penny sale (buy one item, get another for 1p), they can be a good source of free-from ingredients (like GF oats or flours) & snacks.
117-119 Vicar Lane, Leeds LS1 6PJ
26 – 28 Woodhouse Lane, Leeds LS2 8LX
Not strictly ‘health food’ shops, but East Asian supermarkets, like Taste The Orient on Vicar Lane or Sing Kee on Woodhouse Lane, are often the cheapest place to buy vegan protein items, like tofu, cashew nuts, and mock-duck (which isn’t gluten-free, but if you eat gluten, knock yourself out). They are also a good place to buy rice and rice noodles pretty cheaply – both a staple for anyone eating gluten-free.
If you’re unsure where to get gluten-free & vegan ingredients in Leeds, try one of these local health food shops. Let me know in the