I have been vegan going on three years now so I have compiled a list of my personal favorite vegan must haves!
Nutritional Yeast! If you are new to the vegan game, you may have never heard of nutritional yeast or nooch (another name for it)before. Nutritional yeast is actually deactivated yeast that has a reminiscent flavor of cheese. Vegans are known to use this in most recipes that call for a cheesy flavor. It also contains B-12, which we all know is one of the missing nutrients in a vegan diet, right? Now, again, if you are new to being vegan, you may have never heard about the b-12 controversy but hang tight, you will. It’s right up there with “where do you get your protein” and “you know plants feel pain, right?” (insert eyeroll emoji here).
So, yes, get some nutritional yeast for your pantry. You can get it on Amazon or any health food store.
Beans, beans and more beans! Dry beans and canned beans, my pantry is stocked with them. My favorite go-to bean right now is the very versatile garbonzo bean or chickpea. You can make so many surprising foods using the chickpea and it’s liquid (aquafaba) which I will have to do a whole blog about that life changing liquid! I’m probably going to have to dedicate a whole bunch of blogs and recipe posts dedicated to the marvelous garbanzo bean.
Ok, so let’s not make all the other beans feel bad. I’ve got to give a shout out to the trusty pinto bean, delicious kidney beans and fast cooking lentils. There are so many varieties of beans, you should try them all. And I forgot to mention how cheap they are! Seriously, you can find a pound of beans at the dollar store and feed your fam for a week on them bad boys.
Tofu! You’re gonna hear me say this alot, but you’re vegan now, so be adventurous. And to be honest, there’s nothing more adventurous than Tofu. I say that because unless you grew up in a vegetarian household or maybe in a family who uses tofu in their family’s traditional dishes, you probably were never exposed to it. And tofu seems to get a bad rap and people are just generally scared of it. I’m here to tell you that tofu is a hero!
I use tofu as a meat substitute, in smoothies, in sauces to make them creamy, and to make cheesecake..yes, cheesecake, and it tastes just like the real thing. For real.
With any new way of eating and cooking, tofu requires a learning curve. So try different recipes and see what works for you.
Grains, of course. Rice, Quinoa, Bulgur, Oats, Semolina….the list goes on and on. These can become the base of any meal. They are filling, versatile and good for you. A lot of them also make really good meat replacement in sauces. For example, bulgur has a meaty consistency and I like to use it in pasta sauces. But as a vegan, you must always have a bag of rice in your pantry. It’s a must…and a rice cooker is a nice addition to a vegan’s kitchen as well.
Nuts! Nuts and peanut butter are my go-to protein filled snack throughout the day. I’ve been known to eat peanut butter by the spoonful for lunch and midnight snack attacks, but as a vegan, I’d like to introduce you to the cashew (bless you). The cashew can be a vegan’s best friend. If you miss creamy sauces and cheeses, then the cashew will be life changing for you. You can literally soak these overnight and blend them up into creamy sauces such as alfredo sauce, nacho cheese sauces and use them to make sliceable cheeses too. I know what you’re thinking..what kind of sorcery is this?
This is just a small list of my favorite vegan pantry must haves. What’s yours? I’d love to hear what you have in your cabinets right now that our fellow vegans should about?