11 Vegan Cupboard Essentials For New Vegans
11 Vegan Cupboard Essentials for New Vegans
Having a well-stocked cupboard can save you money and make it easier to make healthy choices when deciding what to eat. For new vegans it can also make it much easier to stick with the new lifestyle, as having a full pantry soothes the temptation to go back to familiar meals which might not be vegan friendly.
We’ve compiled a list of 11 vegan essentials to add to your shopping list and keep on hand at all times in your vegan food pantry. Note that wholegrains, fruit and vegetables should also play a major role in any diet, but we have mostly excluded them here as they will change based on preference, season and what meals you have planned that week!
Canned beans are one of the most convenient and affordable options out there, and they happen to be great for you! They are a great source of protein which, with rice, make up all of the essential amino acids (and therefore makes a great answer to one of the most common questions vegans get) as well as being super filling and working in a variety of meals. Roast some chickpeas for a snack or throw them in a curry, add black beans to chilli and kidney beans to soups - the options are almost endless.
Nut butters are a source of healthy fats which are necessary for our bodies, and they taste great too. They also provide protein, though the amount will depend on the manufacturer and nut that you choose. They taste amazing paired with apples for a snack, or mixed into porridge to add flavour and creaminess. Whether you go for peanut butter, almond butter, or a nut-free option like sunflower seed butter, these are perfect to add variety to your meals.
Lentils are quick to cook and can add a real nutritional punch - containing protein, fibre and an assortment of vitamins and minerals. They make a great addition to soups and stews, and can also be added to rice for extra protein in any meal.
(Ground) Flax Seeds
Flax seeds will boost the nutrition of almost any meal; adding fibre, omega-3, vitamins and antioxidants. They work well in sweet and savory dishes, whether that’s mixing them into your porridge in the morning or sprinkling them on a soup for lunch. Not only are they a nutritional powerhouse, they work wonderfully as a binder in baking! Simply mix 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds with 2-3 tablespoons of water and allow to thicken for roughly 15 minutes, and use as a replacement for one egg (increase proportions as needed)! Just remember, flax seed only contain alpha lipoic acid, you can get your more complete Omega 3 hit by combining with Vegan Vitality Omega 3 Algae Oil, which contains DHA.
If you’ve watched any vegan ‘What I Eat’ videos, you’ve likely heard of nutritional yeast. It’s a ‘deactivated’ form of the yeast used in dough, meaning it will not ferment or cause rising. Nutritional yeast is valued by vegans for its taste, which many describe as cheesy and nutty, making it popular for adding to pasta dishes. Not only is it tasty, nutritional yeast is a source of the vital vitamin B12 - though check packaging to see which manufacturer provides the highest amount before you buy, as it can vary.
Miso is made mainly from fermented soy beans, which means that it contains a lot of gut-friendly probiotics and may digest easily. Many vegans love miso for its umami taste, adding depth of flavour to dishes. It makes a great base for soups and sauces, with Japanese miso soup being one of the most popular.
Long-Life Plant Based Milk
Dairy milk is off the table, but the whole world seems to be switching to plant based! Keeping an extra carton or two of long-life plant based milk in the cupboard can prevent culinary emergencies. There are so many varieties of plant-based milk; soy, almond and oat tend to be favourites, but hazelnut, rice and more are readily available as well. Best of all, plant based milks tend to be fortified with extra vitamins and minerals (including vitamins D and B12), which gives them a great nutritional boost. All plant milks have different flavours and work great with different foods, oat milk works will with pasta, almond milk is good in porridge, and add some soy milk to an aeroccino to create the most luxurious milky coffee ever!
Oats are a great breakfast option which should keep you full until lunch time because they are a complex carbohydrate. They also contain a decent amount of protein too. Simply pair with your favourite plant based milk, and add your favourite seasonal toppings. They can also be used in baking, and are easily ground to make oat flour (which is great for making cookies!).
Root vegetables can last for a surprisingly long time in the right conditions, keep different varieties separated and in a cool, dark place for the best results. Potatoes are delicious, filling and comforting, but they are also high in many vitamins and minerals. Onions and various squashes should also last in suitable conditions.
Canned tomatoes are so versatile, they’re the base of a lot of wonderful vegan meals. Add them to soups, stews, chillis, curries and more for an extra serving of vegetables and a delicious taste. This staple is shelf-stable for a long time, so it doesn’t hurt to stock up when they’re at a good price.
While it is possible to get all of the necessary vitamins and minerals from food on a vegan diet, decreasing bioavailability is making this harder and harder. That’s why we recommend taking supplements to make sure that you get everything you need. Our Vegan Multivitamins and Minerals are a great way to start, and cover all of your daily needs as a vegan - but check out our entire range to see what can best help you to meet your health goals.