Trying a vegetarian or vegan diet is difficult! I would know: I’m on day 150 (or there about.) I am learning the hard way that there are essential ingredients you always need in your kitchen.
As the weeks seem to go by slow and fast at the same time, and responsibilities pile up, you need items to go to in order to make breakfast, lunch and dinner! I don’t work a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job, so cooking dinner is quite difficult. You may have kids, a husband or wife (or significant other), animals to take for walks … the list goes on!
I find myself scrambling to the grocery store in my hour dinner break, and usually only boiling noodles, throwing on some nutritional yeast and vegan cheese, and calling that supper! Recently, I learned that carbs alone won’t get me far for long, and I began to crash. I need veggies, I NEED new types of protein. I need minerals and vitamins.
Whereas my diet is funky (I have irritable bowel syndrome), some things you may be able to eat as I am not (or experience the wrath of my intestines.)
Here is my list of necessary items you must have in your kitchen at all times. (This is not in order of importance.) Now, go out and stock up!
1. Extra virgin olive oil
2. Apple cider vinegar
3. Vegan protein (tempeh/tofu/seitan) Buy boxed, refrigerated tofu (in the pasta aisle in the specialty section) and stock up on refridgerated and frozen pre-made “meats” for last-minute meals
4. Whole wheat bread or other, unique breads Try them in your bakery area (as them the ingredients if not listed) or in the frozen specialty section.
5. Black pepper
6. A vegan sweetener (Maple or Agave Syrup, beet sugar)
7. Soy, hemp, nut or rice milk Again, try the non-refrigerated so you aren’t running to the store constantly, and try all
8. An array of spices, especially your favorite. This may take some time to accumulate; try to buy small containers for ones you don’t use often, and larger if you use often like garlic, cinnamon, etc.
9. Vegenaise spread
10. Sweet potatoes & other baking potato
11. Frozen green pods (shelled edamame or peas)
12. Leafy greens (arugula/spinach/watercress/kale/swiss chard)
14. Herbs (parsley, cilantro, basil)
15. Fresh seasonal produce (local preferred)
16. Raw nuts (Brazil/Cashew/Almonds)
17. Peanut or almond butter
18. Coconut water Be careful with this, as far as your digestive system. It is an awesome hydrator, though.
20. Tea (green, black, white, red, herbal)
21. Condiments (mustard, non-HFCS ketchup, salsa, soy sauce)
22. Vegan buttery spread My favorite is Earth Balance.
23. Flour, both white a whole wheat
24. Vegan cheese There are so many varieties, so give them a chance.
25. Cocoa powder Whether you are making a whole cake or just a quick mug one in the microwave, you need this baking staple.
26. Nutritional yeast This adds a lot of yummy minerals and vitamins to anything you add it to, and it has a nutty, cheesy flavor to it.
27. Carbs! Rice, pasta, couscous