Are you new to this lifestyle? overwhelmed or confused on where or how to start? let me help you navigate by starting with your vegan pantry essentials. But first, let me quickly pat your shoulder (albeit virtually), you just made a great decision in bettering your overall health, preserving our planet, and saving a precious animal’s life (read my vegan journey). Let me tell you too that becoming vegan now is a lot easier more than ever. Anywhere you go you’ll find vegan alternatives or in our lingo, “veganized” so it will be easy peasy for you to adjust (also read how to beat fatigue as vegan)!
Which leads me to my next point. Being vegan does not necessarily mean healthy because there are vegan junk food, no thanks to opportunistic companies who see this growing demographics the new pot of gold; so please, I highly encourage you to be mindful of what you buy, what you eat. Don’t like reading labels or ingredients? go straight to the produce section. A stem of broccoli does not need any fancy name, it is what it is. A beautiful veggie packed with protein, calcium, vitamins and minerals. Missing the meaty texture? there’s seitan, tempeh, soy curls, young jackfruit. Missing tuna? there’s fishless tuna made from soy flour, packed the same. Missing cheese? there are tons of dairy-free brands! I remember when my husband first became vegan (he celebrates one year this month), he was astounded with all the selections out there and like every meat-eating turned vegan say “why didn’t I do it sooner”? So don’t doubt yourself, you will ace this lifestyle like a pro!
I’m a 60/40 vegan. Meaning, I eat 60% raw and unprocessed (vegetables and fruits) and 40% cooked. I’ve learned how to portioned my intake depending on where I am and what I do. I know some who are 100% raw, and while I admire them for their tenacity, I don’t think I can cross over to that point yet because I love cooking. I enjoy eating greatly prepared cooked food. Hence, you will always find these pantry essentials 24/7, 365d, especially since my husband is my number one fan when it comes to preparing homecooked meals. So without further ado, here they are:
Grains. White and brown rice, quinoa (great for salad, my favorite way to season it is with a dash of curry powder; this grain is abundant in complete protein), bulgur (wheat kernels, great for pilafs or salads like Mediterranean style, abundant in fiber), steel cut oats (chewier texture, I also use it when I make cookies, rich in beta glucans than can help reduce cholesterol levels), wheat (in form of pasta or bread).
Nuts and seeds. Cashew, almond, walnut, pistachio, macadamia, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, peanuts are rich in either monounsaturared or polyunsaturated fat (both good kind of fat) which helps in lowering LDL cholesterol (culprit to clogged arteries) and other heart health benefits. I make sour cream, cream of mushroom, cheesecake, alfredo sauce made from cashews; I make cookies with almond, walnut, chia seeds; I sprinkle chia and hemp seeds on my cereal or granola; I snack on pistachio; I love almond butter spread and use it too when I make cookies.
Legumes and beans. Black beans, red beans, pinto beans, chickpeas, and lentils are all rich in protein and other vital nutrients. The question is whether to use canned or do your own soaking and boiling. If you are a beginner and/or pressed for time, you can try canned and eventually graduate to DIY, reason being, you want to avoid processed. There are hundred and one ways to cook beans but my mainstays are the following: chili, nachos, bean burger, lentil faux meatballs, chickpeas hummus or tuna. Practically anything I can grind and blend, I turn it to something palatable.
Herbs and spices. Cilantro, basil, oregano, paprika, curry, kennel, turmeric, rosemary, dill, etc take your dishes to a whole new level. Come to think of it, without seasonings, any meal would taste bland. So if you’re a new vegan, cook the same way, season the same way, but omit meat obviously, and your vegan dish will taste just as good!
Coffee and tea. Vegan they are. While I prefer my coffee black, feel free to add almond/soy/cashew/coconut as you please.
Accidentally vegan. Yay Tabasco, Sriracha, tomato sauce. More on this post.
Miscellaneous. Nutritional yeast extract flakes (as “parmesan” replacement, tastes nutty, rich in vitamin B12) vegan butter, vegenaise.
Of course you are not limited with what I have identified here, explore the aisle, ask questions and enjoy your new lifestyle!
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26 thoughts on “Vegan Pantry Essentials”
What a wonderfully informative post, Kath!
Curry is also my favorite way to spice up grains. It’s just delightful!
Isn’t it? I make curry for almost everything
Great post. I’m not vegan but I have been eating a lot less meat lately and focusing more on plant based food.
Glad to hear! In time and as you start to reap the benefits of healthy and plant-based food, it will be very easy for you to crossover. It’s a journey, enjoy!
It actually reminds me of my kitchen essentials though I’m not heavy on beans. But I’d be bereft without some kind of chocolate!
Lucky you coz I have allergy to chocolates, of all things right?!
Thanks for the info.
Thank you for sharing your essentials!
It was really interesting to see what you keep in your pantry! I need to keep more nuts in my mine!
I’m a pescatarian and have all of these things in my pantry already. I’m a fan of all of your choices.
I’m a pescatarian and have all of these in my pantry already. I’m a fan of all of your choices here.
Such an informative post. Glad to find a curry lover like me 😉
I always soak and cook my beans! It’s super easy and the texture is sooo much nicer than canned beans, which are usually mushy. I just have to plan a day ahead so I remember to soak them overnight, and then I cook them with a pressure cooker which takes less than 30 min (Instant Pot would work too)!
Yes, I also prefer it that way
I tried Travis’s vegenaise when he got it and it’s actually better than the regular mayo! We get it whenever we can afford to go two hours for groceries.
I’m not vegan but found this very helpful and now know and understand more about the lifestyle.
Thank you for breaking it down in a way that’s easy to read and learn from. I appreciate all you do in educating others!
My pleasure Krystal
I’ve been seeing a lot about nutritional yeast lately, and noticed they have it at Trader Joes and Walmart! Might have to try sometime!
Try it. Rich in b12. Let me know how you like it.
I also could never do raw diet but I like to eat raw at at time. Nutritional Yeast has changed my life! Hahaha.
There are so many great options to have a well rounded diet these days.
This is a really helpful post for people who want to go vegan but aren’t sure what to do.
I love beans and lentils, but would fail at being vegan because of my love of cheese and butter!
There’s vegan cheese and butter. Try Miyoko’s vegan cheese and butter, that’s my fave brand