I have many friends who want to embrace a Vegan or Vegetarian lifestyle and are not sure what to keep in their pantry to make this process easier. Keeping your pantry and fridge stocked with good, wholesome ingredients is key to being able to make any recipe you come across without having to head to the grocery store daily.
From keeping your produce and herbs fresh to finding the perfect spices, I hope this list will come in handy.
My absolute favorite Veggie Broth is the Zoup Brand. I have tried all of them out there and this brand is superior in taste and not a salt bomb like most. It tastes so good you can actually drink it warm, which I do sometimes in the evening if I want a hot drink. I use it in place of oil to sauté veggies, anytime oil is called for to sauté anything this is what I use. From soups to stews and everything in between, this is the best broth on the market. I buy it by the case.
Nutritional yeast is a must have for the V/V pantry. In addition to being loading with healthy B vitamins, Nutritional Yeast adds a nutty/ cheesy flavor to just about anything you use it on. I sprinkle it on my salads with lemon juice and it tastes just like Parm. Bragg and Kal Brands are the best.
Miso Paste is an ingredient that most people do not know about. It is very concentrated and adds a great depth of flavor to any vegetarian or vegan dish, from soups to stews to salad dressings. It is quite salty so you only want to use it in very limited amounts – approx. 1 tsp per recipe. It is also vegan and gluten free.
Tamari is the low sodium version of soy sauce. It is used widely in V/V recipes and adds a great umami taste with less salt that regular soy. San-J low sodium is the only brand I buy. It is also gluten free.
Fish Sauce is used in Thai cooking and often in Vegetarian cooking, but it is not Vegan. I have found one that is Vegan – No Fish Sauce by Oceans Halo.
For non-Vegans, this Fish Sauce is excellent!
Oyster Sauce is a wonderful ingredient to use in sauces and soups, and stews. This Oyster sauce is Vegan, and is mushroom based. It is the only oyster sauce I use – it tastes so good!
Rice Vinegar is great for salad dressings, sauces and to season all your veggies. It comes seasoned or unseasoned, and I always buy the unseasoned Marukan Organic. It is very light and tastes so much better than traditional vinegar.
Vegan Mayo is a must have in the V/V Pantry. I love Sir Kensington products, they are all Non-GMO and organic.
A huge must have for the fridge is a herb keeper. Cooking healthy foods means always having herbs on hand, and you want to keep them as fresh as possible for as long as possible. I used to put mine in a glass of water but after spilling it one too many times in the fridge I decided to splurge on a glass herb keeper. I am listing two here. The first is a smaller, more affordable version that will most likely fit in your side door as it is no larger than a carton of Almond Milk. The second is a splurge for sure. I have this one, having purchased it three years ago and it is truly the best. It is a tad over 12 inches tall, so check your fridge first before ordering. I had to rearrange a few shelves so that I could fit it in the door. I keep it stocked at all times with cilantro and it stays fresh for up to three weeks. The smaller one I use for parsley as their stems are not as long as cilantro. Either way, you cannot go wrong having these in your fridge.
Slivered Blanched Almonds make a great base for vegan cheese recipes. Most vegan creamy “cheese” or sauce recipes call for soaked cashews, but I have found that these slivered almonds blend up better and are creamier than cashews! And no soaking!
Coconut milk is another item to always have on hand! It works magic when using in place of dairy milk. Always buy full-fat instead of light, it tastes better and is thicker and creamier.
This is hands-down the BEST garlic press/mincer I have ever used! Easy to clean, too.
I am just throwing this in for fun. I love kitchen towels and use them often. But they have to be a certain type of fabric. Some kitchen towels just do not absorb anything and are impossible to keep clean. These towels are amazing. I buy the ones with the pink stripe but you can bleach them and the color stays the same. Yep, you will always have pristine white towels with a stripe of your favorite color! Once you click on the towels, click on the Liliane name and you will be redirected to their store to get the color of your choice.
There are many other must-have ingredients to help you along your journey to a vegetarian or full plant based diet. These can all be purchased at your local grocery store, and I will even search for a brands website because sometimes it is cheaper to order directly from the source. Here are a few more of my favorites:
Miyokos Vegan Cheddar Cheese and Pepper Jack Slices – they are amazing and they MELT so you can make yourself a grand vegan grilled cheese sandwich.
Kite Hill products – their cream cheese (all flavors) are amazing as are their plant based yogurts.
Canned chickpeas – pretty much an everyday thing we use in salads.
Tahini – used often in salad dressings and sauces.
White vinegar and apple cider vinegar – soaking your berries in a solution of white vinegar and water will make them last in the fridge longer
Non dairy milk for drinking and flavoring and tea or coffee. You will have to test out several to find your favorite.
Beyond Meat – superior if you are craving a burger. I cannot say enough about this!
We choose cheese and products that are nut based as opposed to oil based. I don’t see any health benefits in eating vegan cheese that is predominantly made out of oil.
Something to reflect on ~ eating Vegetarian/Vegan food is not a “diet”, it is a lifestyle. From protecting animals to protecting planet earth, what we consume makes a difference – not just for OUR health, but for the health of future generations. Concentrate on always having fresh vegetables on hand and don’t buy processed foods. Spend most of your time at the supermarket in the produce section. Eat the rainbow!
Starting your journey to a vegetarian or plant based lifestyle does not have to be intimidating! Please feel free to contact me with any questions. You can pm me though my Facebook page here or here. I would love to know your favorites!!!!