General Practice 2022

PANCs: what são, main plants and how to use (with recipes)

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PANCs: what são, main plants and how to use (with recipes)
PANCs: what são, main plants and how to use (with recipes)

PANCs, also called unconventional food plants, are fruits, flowers, seeds and vegetables that are little known in everyday food, produced in small quantities and hardly found in supermarkets to buy.

PANCs such as taioba, ora-pro-nobis, peixinho da horta, yam and milkweed are rich in fiber, which help to prevent constipation, control hunger and reduce of cholesterol in the blood. In addition, PANCs are usually good sources of protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, helping to maintain muscle he alth and prevent diseases such as cancer, heart attack and diabetes.

Normally PANCs grow spontaneously in gardens, forests, but they can also be planted in the backyard, found at local street fairs and with small food producers.PANCs contribute to a more varied diet and can be consumed in the form of teas, in stir-fries, in salads or in natura.

Main PANCs

The types of PANCs vary according to the region where it is grown and the nutritional benefits, and the main ones are:

1. Ora-pro-nobis

ora-pro-nobis is a PANC rich in fiber, important for preventing constipation and helping to control hunger. This vegetable also has good amounts of protein and minerals such as calcium and iron, which are important for maintaining he althy bones and muscles, and fighting anemia.

In addition, ora-pro-nobis has good amounts of beta-carotene and vitamin C, which are antioxidants that help in the prevention of various diseases, such as flu, cancer, heart attack and obesity. Learn more about the benefits of ora-pro-nobis.

How to use: ora-pro-nobis leaves have a texture reminiscent of okra and a sweet taste.As this PANC contains oxalate, which is a nutrient that hinders the absorption of calcium and iron from food, it should always be consumed cooked, which can be steamed, sautéed, in soups, omelets, breads or pies.

2. Physalis

Physalis is a fruit with great amounts of fiber, which help maintain the proper functioning of the intestine and lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels. The fruit is also a source of vitamins C and A, which protect the body against diseases such as flu and colds, in addition to keeping the skin firm and hydrated, preventing wrinkles and sagging.

Because it is a fruit with low calories and rich in potassium, physalis also helps in the elimination of excess liquids from the body, being indicated in weight loss diets.

How to use it: physalis has a sweet and sour taste, and can be consumed in natura, added to yogurts, in salads or in sauces.

3. Yam

Yam is a tuber rich in fiber, which helps to control hunger, avoid constipation and lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels, preventing diseases such as diabetes and atherosclerosis, which is an inflammation caused by the accumulation of fat in the blood vessels.

This vegetable is also rich in iron, antioxidants, vitamin C and folic acid, protecting the body against anemia and diseases such as cancer, flu and heart disease.

How to use: The yam has a texture reminiscent of potatoes and a mild flavor. Because it contains oxalate, which can inhibit the absorption of minerals such as calcium and iron, yams must be cooked and can be consumed as a base for pâtés, in purees, in soups, cakes or in drinks to replace cow's milk.

4. Bertha

Bertalha is a PANC rich in iron, and can be used in the treatment of anemia, in addition to having a high amount of fiber, which reduces the absorption of sugar and fat from food, preventing diseases such as diabetes, hepatic steatosis, which is excess fat in the liver, and atherosclerosis.

This PANC also has good amounts of vitamin C and antioxidants, nutrients that help in detoxifying the liver, eliminating toxins from the body, as well as preventing premature aging and diseases such as cancer.

How to use: bertalha has a similar flavor to spinach, but is a little milder and can be used in a variety of ways, such as steamed, in soups, braised, raw in salads and in omelets.

5. Araçá

Araçá is a fruit with great amounts of fiber, helping to avoid constipation and control hunger. In addition, araçá is a PANC very low in calories and fat, and can be consumed during weight loss diets.

This PANC has good amounts of vitamin C and antioxidants, which strengthen the immune system, helping to fight colds and flu and prevent diseases such as cancer and heart attack. Learn more about the benefits of araçá.

How to use it: with a flavor similar to guava, but a little more acidic, araçá can be consumed in natura, in juices or jellies.

6. Taioba

Taioba is a vegetable source of fiber, important for the maintenance of beneficial bacteria in the intestine, improving the absorption of vitamins and minerals, helping to combat constipation and preventing diseases such as bowel cancer.

In addition, this PANC has good amounts of vitamin C and antioxidants, which stimulate the immune system, important to fight flu and colds and to prevent diseases such as heart attacks and diabetes. See other benefits of taioba and how to consume it.

How to use: Taioba has a mild flavor and contains oxalate, so it should only be eaten cooked. The leaves can be used in preparations such as stir-fries, omelets, stews, salads, breads, cakes or soups.

7. Little fish from the garden

Peixinho da horta is a PANC rich in antioxidants, which strengthen the body's immune system, helping to prevent premature aging, and prevent heart diseases such as heart attack and atherosclerosis, strokes and some types of cancer.

This vegetable still has good amounts of fiber, which contributes to the proper functioning of the intestine and the control of hunger. Fish from the garden is also a good source of potassium, an important mineral for controlling high blood pressure.

How to use it: Peixinho da horta is usually eaten breaded, with a texture and flavor reminiscent of fried fish. It can also be used chopped in soups, stir-fries, omelets and pies.

He althy Recipes with PANCs

PANCs can be included in the daily diet, being used in different ways, such as salads, omelets, soups, stews, juices or purees.

1. Baked omelet with fish from the garden, now pro-nobis and zucchini


  • 2 beaten eggs;
  • 50 g grated zucchini;
  • 10 g diced onion;
  • 4 minced fish leaves;
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley;
  • 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour;
  • 4 leaves of finely chopped ora-pro-nobis;
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil;
  • S alt to taste.

Preparation method:

In a bowl, beat the eggs. Lightly mix the other ingredients one by one to form an emulsion. Grease a small baking dish with 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 tablespoon of wheat flour. Carefully pour the mixture into the baking dish and bake in a preheated oven at 220ºC for about 15 minutes or until the omelet is set.

2. Taioba braised with spices


  • 1 bunch of taioba;
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil;
  • S alt and pepper to taste;
  • 1 minced garlic clove;
  • Sliced ​​chives;
  • 1 medium onion cut into slices;
  • Juice of ½ lemon.

Preparation method:

Wash the taioba well and tear the leaves into small pieces. In a pan, heat the oil and add the garlic to sauté. Add the taioba and s alt and sauté for 5 minutes or until the taioba is soft. Turn off the heat and reserve. Make a sauce with the onion, lemon juice and chopped chives. Pour the sauce over the taioba and serve.

3. Araçá juice


  • 750 ml of water;
  • 250 g of araçá;
  • ice to taste;
  • 1 tablespoon of honey.

Preparation method:

In a blender, put the water and add the araçás little by little. Whisk everything until smooth. Strain the drink and add the honey and ice cubes, hit the blender again and serve.

4. Physalis salad with tomato and spinach


  • 500 g of physalis;
  • 50 g red onion;
  • 200 g of tomatoes;
  • 100 g spinach;
  • 50 g coriander;
  • S alt and pepper to taste;
  • 10 g mustard;
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil;
  • 15 ml of wine vinegar;
  • 3 g smoked paprika.

Preparation method:

Remove the leaves of the physalis and wash the fruits. Cut the fruit into four parts and place in a salad bowl. Cut the onion into thin slices, adding to the cut physalis. Wash and cut the tomatoes into slices, placing them in the salad bowl. Wash and chop the cilantro and spinach, adding to the other ingredients. Sprinkle with s alt and pepper, mixing well. Make the sauce by mixing the mustard, vinegar, oil and paprika until smooth. Pour the sauce over the vegetables in the salad bowl, mix well and carefully and serve.

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