Happy World Vegan Day guys! To celebrate the occasion, I thought I’d put together my top 10 vegan kitchen essentials for your pantry to kick-start your vegan journey, and ultimately make healthy, plant-based cooking a whole lot easier!
My recommended Vegan kitchen essentials:
1. Chickpeas and Lentils
Pulses like chickpeas and lentils are such versatile plant-based sources of protein because they can be used to bulk up stews, curries, and chickpeas can also be blended in hummus, or mashed up and shaped into falafels or even used as a sandwich filler.
Tinned chickpeas are super cheap too, especially if you buy them in bulk as they’re usually come to under 35p a tin!
Turmeric hummus recipe (above): click here
2. Milk alternatives
Soya milk, coconut milk, almond milk, oat milk- the vegan milk alternatives are almost endless. My personal favourite for cereal is hazelnut milk as it’s super creamy and tastes like Nutella too! In terms of the most versatile option, I’d say coconut is your best bet (except for tea and coffee), as you can use it in porridge but also in curries too.
3. A varied herb and spice collection
Having some basic herbs and spices can make your cooking go a long way as you can vary the amounts you add to change the overall flavour. Here are my favourites:
- Basil: Great for pasta
- Rosemary: Goes well with roast potatoes
- Curry powder: Perfect base as a seasoning for any Indian curry
- Ground Cinnamon: Can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes from porridge to a Moroccan stew
- Turmeric: Adds a yellow vibrant colour to your meals and there’s also evidence to show that it has anti-inflammatory properties too
Vegan chickpea coconut curry (above) recipe: click here
4. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is such a great store cupboard ingredient as it’s a quick and easy source of plant-based protein. I usually eat it on brown toast with banana (best combo ever), spread on sliced apples and also adds a really nice salty taste if you add a spoonful in a Thai Red Curry.
5. Maggi seasoning
I discovered Maggi Seasoning whilst travelling in South-East Asia, as restaurants offered it on the tables (in the same way Western restaurants have salt and pepper). This concentrated liquid seasoning adds a punch of flavour to your dishes; I usually add it to boiled (rice once cooked) and homemade soup, but watch out as it quite high in salt.
6. Porridge Oats
Porridge oats are super filling and a great source of complex carbs/wholegrain. They can be used in a wide range of variety breakfast and snack options with my favourites being overnight oats, pancakes, homemade granola and flapjacks.
Protein overnight oat recipe (above): Click here
7. Nutritional Yeast
The name sounds a bit odd but these flakes add such a nice cheesy/nutty flavour to dishes once melted in stews, tomato pasta, in burritos or even on beans on toast. Nutritional yeast is also high in B vitamins too but just be careful not to overheat it as this would ‘destroy’ all the nutrients!
I love snacking on unsalted cashews, almonds and walnuts along with some raisins as the high protein content helps to stabilise your blood sugar levels, preventing you from having sugar highs and crashes (leading to suppressed energy and sugar cravings). Nuts are super versatile too- soaking cashews in water then blending them makes a ‘cream’ which can be used in desserts like vegan cheesecake or as a ‘cheese’ dip.
9. Frozen Berries
Frozen berries are such an essential back-up option for when you’re low on fresh ingredients as they can be used straight from the freezer in porridge, smoothies (blended with nut milk) or even alone if you microwave them on low heat and then spoon over some vegan yogurt.
10. Vitamin B12!
I saved the best ’til last- this one is essential as vitamin B12 is not naturally present in vegan foods (unless fortified) so it’s super important you keep your levels topped up or else you run the risk of developing symptoms associated with vitamin B12 deficiency like anaemia leading to low energy, headaches and low mood. I get my vitamin B12 supplements from Holland & Barrett and they’re super really cheap if you get them on the penny sale!
I hope this post helped any of you guys who need some inspo for what to buy if you’re thinking of transitioning to Veganism, comment below if you have any vegan kitchen essentials!