Awhile back, Alicia Silverstone did a post about her top 20 ingredients she couldn’t live without. Soon after, Cadry shared her list and Bobbie shared hers. Because list-making is one of my most favorite things in the world, I couldn’t pass this opportunity up to make a list of things my vegan kitchen is never without.
MY TOP 25 VEGAN KITCHEN STAPLES
Legumes– Whether they are canned, dry, or cooked and stored in the fridge/freezer, I am never without my beans. Occasionally I’ll get some more exotic varieties of beans, but I always have chickpeas, black beans, great northern white beans, pinto beans, black-eyed peas, lentils, and green peas in my kitchen. They are probably my most favorite source of protein and are great for making dips, stews, sloppy-joes, desserts, my favorite quick-fix dinner, and so much more.
Rolled Oats– Oatmeal is definitely one of my standard breakfasts. I also always have oats on hand because I never know when I’m going to want to whip up some granola or cookies. They’re also great to have around for blending into oat flour.
Whole Grains– At any given time, I have at least five different grains in my pantry, usually more. Rice, quinoa, millet, farro, and couscous are always on stand-by, and in most cases, so are wheat berries, buckwheat groats, and polenta. Like legumes, they’re perfect for whipping up a quick dinner or even a more fancy one.
Flours– I love to bake, so flour tends to be necessary for those things. I don’t adhere to a gluten-free lifestyle, but I do find that I feel better when I don’t consume a lot of it. Because of that, I have a variety of gluten-free flours, such as buckwheat, brown rice and sorghum, in addition to my regular flours, like whole wheat pastry, spelt, and ’00’ bread flour.
Chickpea Flour– I use chickpea flour for such a myraid of different things, I thought it deserved it’s own separate category from the other flours. It has a somewhat eggy taste which makes it the perfect substitute to egg-based dishes like omelets or french toast. It’s high in protein and wonderful for thickening gravies, baking, pancakes, waffles, and for coating cauliflower to make buffalo cauliflower wings.
Seeds– My kitchen is stocked with at least 6 different seeds at any given time: Flax, Hemp, Chia, Sesame, Sunflower, and Pepitas. They are extremely nutrient dense and pretty filling, giving you a lot of bang for your buck. I love adding a tablespoon or two to my daily smoothie.
Nuts– I eat nuts every single day. I make my own nut butters from a variety of different nuts and they’re a great way to add a little flavor, texture, healthy fat and protein to your meal. And they’re a great way to tide myself over in between meals or if I need a snack on the go.
Cashews– I’m including cashews as a separate item from nuts because they are so amazingly versatile and I use them for so many things. I always have a bulk stash cashews to use in nut butters, sauces, ricotta, cheese, desserts, cream, and so much more. These little guys are my kitchen’s secret weapon.
Nutritional Yeast– I have been moved to almost crying and/or cursing and swearing upon finding that I am out of nooch. I use it so often, in so many things, that I take for granted that it’s always there. There’s nothing like being in the middle of making a cheesy recipe or roasting vegetables only to find out that you forgot to pick up more nooch at the store.
Unbleached Sea Salt– A little pinch of salt goes in almost all of my recipes. I also tend to have kala namuk (black salt), smoked salt, and a citrus herb sea salt on hand.
Bragg Liquid Aminos– In my early vegan days, I didn’t want to be “that vegan” who uses weird ingredients like Bragg Liquid Aminos or nutritional yeast. Fast forward to now when my Bragg’s is one of my most cherished ingredients. It tastes similar to soy sauce or tamari, but is packed with nutrients, such as B vitamins. It’s such a great ingredient for adding a bit of umami to a dish.
Coconut Oil– A much more nutrient dense oil to keep in your kitchen. When I have time to make my own butter, I use coconut oil. It’s also a must for baking.
Olive Oil– I know there is a lot of controversy about how good olive oil is for you, but I am in the pro-oil camp. I only use high-quality olive oil though- it’s worth the investment. Years ago, I never cooked with olive oil. I never even had it in the house! Then after my first trip to Europe (where I got to taste some of the world’s best olive oils), I came home and bought a bottle and fell in love with how a little bit added so much richness to my meals. As with most high calorie/fat ingredients, however, it should be used in moderation.
Blackstrap Molasses– This stuff is not only delicious, but is a source for mega amounts of iron. It has more iron per ounce than beef! I also use blackstrap molasses in baking and when I make granola, but my favorite use is just a spoonful in my morning oatmeal.
Sriracha– The king of hot sauces and coincidently, the only hot sauce that doesn’t upset my stomach (thank goodness!).
Onions & Garlic– These are two very inexpensive, highly flavorful ingredients. They can be added to so many recipes to add a lot of oomph without draining your pocket book.
Lemons– A splash of lemon juice can brighten up almost any dish. I drink warm lemon water first thing every morning and it has done wonders for my health- increased energy, more balanced appetite, less bloating, more regularity, clearer skin, and the list goes on. I also love lemon flavored foods like hummus, pancakes, or cookies.
Avocados– Healthy fat, super versatile, and crazy delicious. Need I say more?
Mushrooms– I’ve never met a mushroom I didn’t like. I love their versatility, texture, taste, and their ability to take on whatever flavor you choose. If I could, I would add them to almost everything- pizza, burgers, tacos, farrotto, stuffing, gravy, frittatas, seitan– you name it, I’ve done it!
Baby Carrots– These guys are the perfect healthy snack- handy, no-fuss, and tasty. A few of these and some hummus makes up one of mine and Chris’s favorite snacks.
Greens– Thanks to my CSA, I always have a full stock of greens. Kale, chard, collards, and spinach are nutrient powerhouses and at least one or two can be found in my refrigerator’s crisper drawer at any given time. I tend to save the greens from my beets, turnips, and other root vegetables and bok choy, mizuna, arugula, and romaine can also be found there on occasion. I use greens in everything including salads, soups, stews, smoothies, side dishes, pesto, tofu scrambles, or just incorporated into a main dish.
Almond Milk– Almond milk is my favorite of the non-dairy milks. It goes in everything- our cereal, oatmeal, smoothies, waffles & pancakes, baked goods and my stepdaughter even drinks it straight-up! Needless to say, we never let ourselves run low on this stuff.
Tofu– Tofu is pretty much my favorite go-to for when I don’t know what to make for dinner. I can scramble it up, fry it, bake it, and it always produces a tasty and filling meal. It can replace eggs in some baked goods, giving a super-moist final product. It’s also great for making creamy sauces, dressings, sour cream, and my favorite tofu chèvre.
What are your favorite kitchen staples?