The 8 Foods Every New Vegan Should Have in the Kitchen
Eating vegan is easy once you get the hang of it, but figuring out your grocery list can be a challenge at first. Luckily, we have more delicious plant-based choices than ever. Many of these staples should already be familiar, and always having them on hand can save shopping and cooking time.
1. Fruit and Veggies
This one should be obvious. Fruit and veggies are essential to any healthy vegan diet, generally quite affordable, and highly versatile. Grab some fresh leafy greens, avocados, apples, carrots, potatoes, and anything else your heart desires. If you’re worried about not eating your produce in time, consider buying some of your fruit and veggies frozen.
2. Beans and Legumes
Beans, lentils, chickpeas, and more! These hearty items add substance to any dish and are packed with protein and other important nutrients. Keeping canned beans or legumes on hand is a must. Also consider trying some dry beans. They’re way cheaper and, some argue, tastier. Some beans require soaking, so if this isn’t an option, try some that don’t, like green or red lentils, yellow split peas, or adzuki beans. And remember the hummus!
Brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, bulgur, farro… The list goes on and on. These nutrient-packed grains are super filling and easy to prepare, so be sure to experiment to find your favorites! And don’t forget pasta, bread, tortillas, and cereal. You’re probably already used to buying these, but a lot of people don’t realize that these products are usually vegan. Just double-check the ingredients to be sure dairy and eggs aren’t used.
4. Nuts and Seeds
Loaded with healthy fats and protein, nuts and seeds are great on salads and by the handful. But there’s so much more you can do with them. Cashews make excellent creamy bases for sauces, and walnuts add extra nutrients to your favorite veggie burger recipe. And remember to grab some peanut butter (or another nut or seed butter). Peanut butter pie, anyone?
5. Dairy Alternatives
There are so many delicious dairy alternatives on the market, and no vegan pantry is complete without a few. We think the most important dairy replacements to keep around are dairy-free milk and butter. But be sure to try the wide variety of plant-based cheese, yogurt, and ice cream to find your favorites!
6. Plant-Based Meats
From veggie chicken nuggets and cold cuts to hamburgers and hot dogs, you really can have it all. Stores around the world now carry a variety of savory meat-free foods. And don’t forget some of the original meat replacements—tofu, tempeh, and seitan are all protein-rich foods people have enjoyed for hundreds of years!
7. Condiments, Spices, and Herbs
Often overlooked, these can make or break a meal. So be sure to stock up on your favorites. Barbecue sauce, Dijon mustard, Sriracha, nutritional yeast, and fresh herbs are all perfect for taking things to the next level. Another incredibly versatile (and yummy) condiment that vegans swear by is Vegenaise. Made by Follow Your Heart, this plant-based mayo is great as is or in your own sauces and dressings!
A little dessert never hurt anybody, and many of your favorite snacks (like Nutter Butters) are already vegan! And yes, there is vegan ice cream, candy, and chocolate. Many dark chocolate varieties are dairy-free, and a few brands even make vegan milk chocolate with dairy-free milk!
Not veg yet? Click here for delicious vegan recipes, simple meal ideas, and tips on making the switch easy.