Dear Vegan at Heart,
Today your mission is to start stocking your powerful, plant-based pantry!
How many times have you drooled over a recipe only to realize that you have two of the ten ingredients? So often, it's the little things that get in our way of making a delicious dish, and we end up feeling deprived.
Your pantry expands naturally over time as you fill it up with ingredients that recipes require. My pantry has taken years to build.
But to kickstart your pantry so that you'll have more ingredients now and will be more likely to prepare healthy, delicious foods, add some of the following vegan staples to your shopping list. Some can be pricey and found only at health foods stores, so it might be a gradual process. Buying in bulk keeps things cheaper though.
This video on VegNews.com features some of my favorite pantry staples, including:
Nutritional yeast - not to be confused with brewer's yeast or active dry yeast; has mui importante B vitamins, and is great for making cheesy sauces or for sprinkling on popcorn. Braggs and Red Start Vegetarian Support are good brands.
Miso - a healthy, fermented soy product that's easily digested with immune-boosting properties that tastes great in a soup or pesto.
Agave nectar - lower glycemic index than sugar and has antibacterial properties; comes from the cactus plant and is often used in place of honey
Vegan worcestershire sauce - like this one is great for flavoring veggie burgers and other meat alternatives
Unbleached sea salt - contains key trace minerals such as iodine and selenium; just make sure it's "real" unbleached sea salt, which will by slightly gray or pink in color (ex: Celtic sea salt or Himalayan sea salt)
The vegcooking.com Shopping Guide's list of vegan staples includes more good ideas, including the following, which I've modified a little:
Dried and/or canned beans - kidney, chickpeas, lentils, pintos, etc. (Note: Eden Organic's cans aren't lined with BPA, a toxin found in other cans)
Nondairy milk - soy, rice, oat, almond, etc.
Unsweetened coconut milk (canned)
Pasta and noodles - Italian whole wheat pasta, rice sticks, buckwheat soba, udon, etc.
Whole-grain cereals such as steel-ground oats, barley oat flakes, amaranth, etc.
Canned tomato products (diced, whole, puréed, and paste)
Canned vegetables - artichokes, hearts of palm, roasted red peppers, etc.
Condiments - salsa, chutney, mustard, pickles, Vegenaise brand vegan mayonaise, etc.
Capers and olives
Soy sauces - tamari, nama shoyu, Bragg's Liquid Aminos, etc.
Thickeners - cornstarch, arrowroot, and kudzu
Egg-replacement powder (Ener-G Egg Replacer)
Vegetable broth (cubes, powder, and canned) - preferably lower sodium and without MSG
Dried mushrooms, dried chilies, sun-dried tomatoes
Dried sea vegetables - nori, dulse, kelp granules, etc. contain important minerals such as iodine
Assorted vinegars - balsamic, red wine, apple cider, brown rice, etc.
Spicy stuff - chili paste, curry paste, hot sauce, BBQ sauce, wasabi powder, chili oil, etc.
Grains - brown, basmati, and jasmine rice, quinoa millet, barley, bulgur, couscous, rolled oats, popcorn, etc.
Tofu and tempeh - more on these in an upcoming mission
Seitan - wheat "meat"
Meat alternative convenience foods - veggie burgers, soy hot dogs, burger crumbles, veggie sausage, etc.
Dairy alternatives - Daiya cheese, Tofutti Sour Supreme and Better Than Cream Cheese, Whole Soy yogurt, Earth Balance butter, Parma!, etc.
Whole-grain flours, cornmeal, etc.
Bread products - whole-grain bread, tortillas, pita bread, etc.
Oils - olive, coconut, flaxseed, sesame, peanut, corn, hemp, etc.
Nut and seed butters - Peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, macadmia nut butter, tahini (sesame seed butter), etc.
Nondairy ice cream - from coconut milk, hemp milk, soy milk, rice milk, etc.
Nuts - almonds (calcium), cashews, brazil nuts (selenium), pistachios, walnuts (omega 3's), pecans, etc.
Seeds - sesame seeds (calcium), pumpkin seeds (zinc), hemp seeds and flaxseeds (omega 3s), etc.
If you see anything on here that you'd like to get, whip out that shopping list so you don't forget. You'll be cooking more and feeling abundance in no time.