Today I will be discussing important staples most vegans/cruelty-free/plant-based eaters have in their kitchens. I realized it is presumptive of me to expect my readers to have their pantries/fridges/freezers stocked with the same things as me. Of course, everyone might add or take away something on this list. These are just some things I think are key, in addition to your typical kitchen staples (garlic, salt, bread…etc).
- Flax Seeds. I usually buy Organic Milled Flax Seeds. Flax is rich in Omega 3 & 6, Fiber and Lignans. Vegans use flax as an egg substitute, by mixing it with proportional amounts of water to create a paste. Keep your flax in the fridge after opening to preserve ultimate freshness.
- Chia Seeds. Chia is a super food. You can add it to basically everything. Chia seeds are an antioxidant, rich in Omega 3, fiber, and protein. Chia are a whole grain food. Chia can help with weight loss, by making you feel fuller longer. You can mix them with oats, yogurt, in baking, as an egg substitute, or as a recipe thickener. It is so versatile! A single bag is also said to last a very long time.
- Rolled Oats. Vegans can’t have their eggs in the morning. They need some other way to get their fuel and feel sustained. Rolled oats can offer this energy, and even be prepared the night before. They are customizable and versatile. Check out my friend’s blog OatsForYou (https://oatsforyou.wordpress.com) for her amazing oats recipes. (Chia seeds required!)
- Soy, Almond, Coconut or Hemp Milk. Any non-dairy option is great! Lots of cool flavors and types to choose from.
- Nutritional Yeast. I was a little weirded out by nutritional yeast at first, because the word ‘yeast’ is kind of gross to me. But I came to find it has really awesome benefits and uses. It’s delicious sprinkled over popcorn, because it has a sort of cheesy & salty flavor. It has B12 in it, which many vegans are deficient in (since B12 is mainly found in animal products). It is high in protein, fiber, folic acid and is gluten-free! It is also delicious to cook with on veggies.
- Vegan Butter, like Earth Balance. You will need this for baking,
- Coconut Oil. I have come to believe coconut oil is a magical substance. It has practical uses, health benefits, and can even be used on your teeth and in your hair! Coconut oil is great for cooking and baking. It is a superfood, and has the “good kind of fat.” It can increase your energy and kill bacteria. Google “Oil Pulling.”
- Maple Syrup/Agave/Apple Sauce. Vegans don’t eat honey, because of the bees! #BeesLivesMatter. Maple Syrup and/or agave and/or apple sauce are delicious and natural sweeteners that you can use in their natural state on pancakes/waffles/french/toast/ice cream/cereal/spaghetti/whatever. Or you can also substitute out sugar with them in baking recipes.
- Peanut Butter. DUH. I think I get most of my protein from peanut butter. I shouldn’t even have to include this. Obvious pantry item must have.
- Frozen Fruits & Veggies. These are the best because they are always handy, always cheap, they last forever and they’re packaged when the fruit/veggie is at it’s peak. You can steam them, roast them, stir-fry them, sauté them, add them to other recipes and sauces. Explore your local grocery store’s frozen produce section and have fun. Also great for juices and smoothies. (I heard a quote: “Eat your fruits and juice your veggies.” If you juice your fruits, you’re essentially just drinking all the sugar and discarding the healthy fiber and nutritious part. Juicing your veggies gets the nutrients in the glass and the part you don’t need in the trash. Good advice).
- Fresh Fruits & Veggies. Obviously the fresh stuff is good too. Just make sure there’s no mold on it and that its cleaned and safe to eat!
- Tofu/Seitan/Tempeh. Consider these vegan “meat” options. Vegans get much of their protein from these three sources. They’re versatile in terms of how you can prepare and season them. They have different tastes and textures. Google the differences if you don’t know what they are or which to buy. Keep one or more in your fridge every week.
- Lettuce (Kale/Arugula/Spinach/Romaine). Vegans eat a lot of salads. Keep lettuces on hand that you actually enjoy. I used to hate lettuce until I discovered arugula.
- Quinoa. I LOVE quinoa. It is delicious and nutritious on its own as a side, or mixed with sauce and veggies or even with tofu/tempeh/seitan for a heartier lunch or dinner. It is a superfood, rich in protein, antioxidants and anti-inflamatory phytonutrients.
These are the staples I make sure I have all the time in my kitchen. Most of the recipes I use and create utilize these ingredients. Comment below if you think I should add anything else, or if you have questions about anything already listed!