Whether you are new to veganism or a seasoned vegan, here are the basics every vegan pantry must have:
Core Items for Your Vegan Pantry
Almond Milk (or soy, cashew, hemp, oat, etc.) – For baking or creamy sauces, alternative milks are a seamless substitute.
Nutritional Yeast – As vegans do not eat cheese, you may be missing your childhood macaroni and cheese; but have no fear, nutritional yeast is here. It is creamy and everything you are hoping it will be!
Seeds (chia, hemp, sesame, etc.) – Nutrient dense little bits of goodness. Seeds can be used in baked goods, oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, smoothies, a crunchy topping for salads or vegetables, stir fry, and even soup. I bless almost every dinner with a handful of seeds.
Polenta, Rice, Risotto and Pasta – Perhaps these items are not typically lumped into one category, but what they have in common (besides being tasty) is that they are a filling carb/grain and are sometimes fortified with additional nutrients.
Seasonings for Your Vegan Pantry
Oil (coconut oil, flax oil, olive oil, etc.) – For baking and pan frying, you can experiment with combinations of various oils to select your individualized approach. The bottom line is we do need moderate amounts of healthy fats in our diets.
Vinegar – Useful for making your own pickled vegetables, but also a staple in sauces and salad dressings.
Salt – If you are transitioning to a vegan lifestyle, salt may be something you will initially crave but eventually taper off of as your taste buds change and begin to notice the nuances of unadulterated vegetables and fruits.
Spices – Similar to salt, vegetables may initially taste bland to a transitioning vegan. This vegan writer still enjoys a good kick in the mouth, though; bring on the habanero, cayenne and serrano!
Dried Fruit – Great as a snack but also a surprisingly delicious addition to cereal, oatmeal and yogurt, and less obviously to salads, soups and stir fry.
Pickles – Not just pickled cucumbers, but pickled vegetables in general can be a fantastic addition to chili, pasta, stir fry, sandwiches and as a side or appetizer.
Tahini – Tahini is actually made of ground sesame seeds and is present in hummus and baba ghanoush.
Miso Paste – Similar to tahini, miso paste makes a wonderful base for sauces and dips.
Vegetables! – Finally, no vegan pantry is complete without tons of vegetables! I am consistently surprised at the variety of vegetables I can cram into a meal and how this results in a magnificent masterpiece! Make sure to include vitamin and fiber-filled vegetables such as greens (spinach, kale, mustard greens, etc.), garlic, onions, celery, and carrots. Also do not forget what I like to call “filler” vegetables, as they help fill you up and add a sense of completeness to any meal: squash, mushrooms, eggplant and the like.
Anything in your vegan pantry that we missed? Have a favorite recipe you would like to share? Please comment below and tell us what your vegan pantry looks like!