You will find the following are some essentials for delicious vegan/vegetarian cooking:
15 Essentials for your Vegetarian (or Vegan) Pantry
lentils and chickpeas. Lentils cook quickly and are great additions to soups, pilafs, and salads. You can throw chickpeas into pasta dishes and vegetable braises and stews. Pinto, black, kidney, and cannellini beans are also good to have on hand.
Using a variety of grains lends nutrition, texture, flavor, and makes vegetarian and vegan meals more interesting. Keep your vegan/vegetarian pantry stocked with brown rice, white rice, quinoa, spelt, farro, millet, and bulgur.
Once you know how to prepare it, tempeh can be one of the best staple sources of protein. It can be refrigerated for a week or two (check the date on the package) and will keep up to several months in the freezer.
Like tempeh, tofu is not strictly a pantry item, but it’s an essential for vegetarian kitchens. There are so many different types and textures of tofu…each used for something different. There is the extra firm tofu for baking and frying, vacuum-packed silken tofu to blend into dressings and puddings, and dried tofu for soups and stir-fries.
Nuts are not only a wonderful source of proteins and healthy fats but the are also a great addition to vegan and vegetarian diets. Some great ones to keep available are almonds and cashews and try to keep pistachios and pine nuts around, too. Whole or chopped nuts can be used in salads and grain dishes. Ground nuts can add body to lasagna. And there’s always pesto. Extend the life and freshness of nuts by keeping them in the freezer.
Raisins, dried apricots, and dates are not only great for snacking, but they can add unexpected and delicious flavour to pretty much any vegan or vegetarian dish.
Vegetable stock is another essential in the vegan and vegetarian diet. You can either make your own or buy it ready made. And once you’ve prepared it, keep it in the freezer.
Nutritional or Brewers yeast is another thing that is great for cooking. In fact, as a Childe it was used by our family typically as a topping for potatoes and popcorn.
There are different types of Miso….There is both light and dark miso paste which have distinctly different flavours. Miso makes excellent soup as well as dressings for salad, vegetables, and tofu
Tahini, or sesame paste, often works in conjunction with miso in my kitchen. A quick tahini-miso sauce (try adding lemon juice and garlic, too) can be poured over steamed vegetables, tofu, or tempeh for simple weeknight dinners. Tahini is also a wonderful addition to homemade hummus.
Dried sea vegetables
Although not my favourite, many vegans and vegetarians enjoy the different types of seaweed, from sheets of nori that can be wrapped around rice and vegetables, to kelp and kombu that add flavour to broth, to hijiki that can be reconstituted and used in salads and vegetable dishes.
One of my absolute favorites. From making rich curries and roasting vegetables, to searing tofu and even baking, coconut oil is super versatile. Consider replacing your body lotion with a big jar of coconut oil….It does wonders for the skin.
There are so many choices for sweeteners that are considered Vegan; however, who doesn’t like Maple syrup? It is definitely my favourite natural sweetener. It’s perfect for baking, making dressing and glazes, and of course, you can never use too much of it on pancakes.
This is another thing that I grew up eating and it was put in pretty much everything we ate from our breakfast cereal to our vegetarian burgers. Flax seeds are super nutritious and loaded with not only fibre but with Omega-3s. Try putting flax seeds in your baking and even try them as an egg substitute when baking.
My Flax Eggs
Basically use a food processor to grind up about 1-2 tablespoons of flax seeds mixed with 3-6 tablespoons of water. Then let the mixture chill for about 1-2 hours in the fridge and then you will notice that the mixture is quite a lot like egg whites, in texture.
Some Wonderful and Easy Recipes your family will love…..
Easy Vegan Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (Super Big Batch)
- 3 ½ cups flour (your choice of flour types)
- 4 cups oatmeal
- 2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup of vegan butter, softened (brands such as “I can’t believe its not butter”, Smart Balance, Becel Vegan)
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cups packed brown sugar (for a healthy change try coconut sugar)
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoons ground flaxseed mixed with six tablespoons water (equal to about 2 eggs)
- 2 cups chocolate chips (use a semi-sweet chocolate chip which is most often void of milk products such as Kirkland – semi sweet chocolate chips”, Nestle – semi sweet chocolate chips. There are really so many options here)
- Mix together the butter, sugar and vanilla extract, and then add the “flax egg” mixture.
- Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and oatmeal in a different bowl, and then stir into the butter/sugar/vanilla/”egg” mixture.
- Lastly….stir in your chocolate chips
- Bake on an ungreased baking sheet for 9-11 minutes at 375 degrees. Watch the cookies closely as they may bake super fast and may not take the entire 9-11 minutes. Check cookies at about 7-8 minutes.
Patricia’s Overnight Oatmeal Delight
Now this recipe is super, easy and probably the best oatmeal you will ever experience! Flax seeds are again so healthy but next to them, I LOVE chia. This recipe will not only be excellent on a nutritional level but top it off with fruit (fresh or dried), granola and a sweetener of your choice and it is simply HEAVEN!
- 2 cups Oats of your choice
- 2 Tbsp unsalted Sunflower Seeds OR PUMPKIN SEEDS or whatever nuts you enjoy most
- 1 Tbsp Flax Seeds (GROUND OR NOT)
- 1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
- 4½ cups Almond or cashew milk
- 1 Tbsp Brown Sugar/coconut sugar or the sweetener of your choice
- pinch of salt
- Dried Fruit (raisins, cranberries, cherries, apple slices, apricots)
- Brown sugar, maple syrup, coconut sugar
- Combine oats, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds and “milk”. Stir in brown sugar and a pinch of salt (don’t skip the salt – I think it brings out a lot of flavor in the oats, even if you skip the sugar).
- Put the mixture into your fridge and let it sit overnight.
Serve oats straight out of the fridge or enjoy them like I do….warmed briefly in the microwave and topped with pretty much anything you would put on your regular morning cereal