If you are looking for some new plant based foods for your kitchen, then look no further than these 10 vegan staples; a must have for any kitchen. The following plant based food items are great for creating any delicious meal, and will add flavor and creativity to any dish.
1.) Nutritional Yeast
This deactivated yeast, made from single cell organism, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, has become very popular in the vegan community. Often referred to as “nooch”, this heavenly golden flake/powder can be found in most natural food stores, or sometimes in the nature’s market at your local grocery store. A great source of nutrients and vitamins, nooch is a complete protein and is rich in vitamin B12. Naturally low in fat and sodium, this product is free of dairy, gluten, and sugar, and will give a burst of “cheesy” flavor to any dish. Nutritional yeast tastes great in spaghetti, salads, pizza, casseroles, vegan mac & cheese, or on top of popcorn. Simply sprinkle and enjoy that guilt-free cheesy flavor.
2.) Nuts (Cashews)
If you thought that going vegan meant having to give up rich and creamy foods — think again. Cashews are a must have staple for any vegan kitchen. They can be used to make cashew cream, which can be used in countless vegan recipes such as cashew cream cheese, cashew sour cream, or alfredo sauce. It can also be used to make vegan pesto. Other nuts like almonds, pine nuts, or pecans are also great to have around in the kitchen because they are very versatile and can be used in many different recipes.
Tofu is great because as long as you know how to season and cook it properly, it will take on the flavor of its seasonings. It is super cheap and will compliment any dish. It goes great in stir-fries, can be made into a tofu scramble, put into a sandwich, crushed up and used as “ricotta cheese” in a lasagna, or used as a filling inside a vegan “cheesecake”. It also tastes great when seasoned with some nooch and cut into a square, placed on top of an english muffin with vegan bacon and vegan cheese, then melted in the oven to perfection. Voilà , you have your very own vegan breakfast sandwich with tofu as your egg substitute. Yum!
Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans and has a distinctive, nutty taste, and tough texture. It is easy to prepare and not too expensive, which makes it an ideal staple for vegans. Tempeh tastes great in a TLT sandwich, as a substitute for bacon, in a tempeh reuben, tempeh burger, or when made into vegan jerky. There are all kinds of ways to eat tempeh.
5.) Greens (Kale)
Greens like kale should always be at the top of any healthy shopping list, as they provide a number of vitamins and nutrients essential for achieving optimum health. This green is a great choice, because it is very low in calories and contains 206% of the daily value of Vitamin A, 134% of Vitamin C, and is also high in iron.
Kale tastes great in salads or as a substitute for lettuce on top of your favorite vegan sandwich. It is easy to grow in the garden, which makes preparing kale even easier and also saves you money in the long run. Just think, with a garden full of thriving kale, you can have homemade kale chips when you get those midnight munchies, or blend a little with your morning smoothie. The best thing about kale? After consuming it, you’ll feel grrrreat!
6.) Beans, Lentils, and Legumes
Beans, lentils and legumes are a popular staple for vegans, and with good reason: they are cheap, have a long shelf life and contain lots of protein! Beans, lentils, and legumes are easy to prepare and relatively cheap to purchase. You can buy them dried, in bulk and store up for the apocalypse, or if you’re in a hurry and on the go, canned beans are ideal. Beans are very versatile and can compliment many different meals. Black beans or vegetarian refried beans make great tacos or enchiladas. Beans, lentils and legumes all go great in a soup or spaghetti sauce. You can also use them to make a vegan burger from scratch. There are many different choices. You can never go wrong with these three items.
Grains are another inexpensive but versatile staple for any vegan household. Rice and other grains like quinoa can be used in many different ways. Both are great for stir-fries, or when seasoned and served as a side dish or as a base to a stew. They both can be used as a filling inside a wrap or taco, or can even be used to make vegan sushi. While rice is great, quinoa is even better (its a complete protein and a super food). One cup of cooked quinoa has 8 grams of protein and also contains several essential vitamins and minerals.
8.) Faux Milk
Faux milk tastes great in cereal, with desserts, or even in your morning cup of coffee. Some companies like Silk even sell vegan coffee creamers in different flavors. But anyways, back to the vegan milk — there are so many options! Stores like Whole Foods have a large selection of different types of milks you can try, including hemp milk, sunflower milk, almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk, rice milk; they even offer vegan chocolate soy or almond milks, etc. — as you can see, the options are endless. For lots of protein and vitamins try fortified nut milks, which contain crucial vitamins, we vegans need. Faux milks also taste great in smoothies, sauces, or gravies.
Hummus is great to dip your favorite veggies or pita chips, and it also tastes great on sandwiches. It compliments falafel or wraps, and also makes a great substitute for pizza sauce on a veggie pizza. When mixed with vinegar and other seasonings, it makes a great vegan dressing for your favorite salad. Hummus tastes great on a lot of things, don’t be afraid to get creative!
When it comes to cooking vegan, having a variety of different cooking oils to choose from can really come in handy! Coconut oil is a popular choice amongst many vegans. Not only is it great for adding a very subtle coconut flavor to vegan bacon or tempeh, it is easy to cook with and also works great as a moisturizer for skin or to condition your hair. Other cooking oils you might try include sesame oil, olive oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, etc. Any light flavored oil that can be used for baking or high-heat cooking is ideal, and each type will have its different advantages or flavor depending on what type of meal you are preparing. Don’t be afraid to experiment, the best dishes and cooking practices are developed that way.