Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Stocking the Vegan Pantry

Don't you love opening up the pantry to well-organized, well-stocked shelves of vegan goods? Or looking over a recipe and realizing you have everything needed to make exactly what you crave? Ah, life's true joys. When I first went vegan I spent a lot of time reading cookbooks and looking over their pantry lists asking myself if I had everything I needed to be a well-stocked vegan. Over time I have found answers to that question and in the process compiled my own pantry list.

Agar Powder- Used in place of gelatin. Not needed often, but virtually irreplaceable in certain recipes.
Apple Sauce- Makes a great egg replace for baked goods like muffins and sweet breads.
Baking Powder and Soda- Needed in almost every baking recipe
Bananas- So many uses: egg replacers, thickeners, and sweeteners to name a few
Brown Rice Syrup- A great, healthy sugar substitute with a caramel-like flavor.
Cocoa Powder- Morning, noon, and night there is always something in need of chocola-fying 
Coconut Milk- This fatty creamy milk is important in many savory dishes and necessary in many sweet ones.
Coconut, Shredded- Useful to have around for spontaneous baking inspirations.
Dried Beans- Buy in bulk because this should be the bulk of your protein.
Extracts-I always have vanilla, almond, orange, and peppermint in my pantry.
Flax seeds- These so-good-for-you seeds are great on salads, in baked goods, and even as a healthy egg replacer, like mentioned here.
Lentils- When stocked up on dried lentils and legumes, there is always a healthy, hearty dished to be made.
Maple Syrup- A great natural sweetener and if you eat pancakes as much as we do...
Margarine- Make sure you get non-hydrogenated. I use Earth Balance, probably one of the best options out there.
Nondairy Milk- There are so many now: soy, almond, rice, hazelnut, hemp, oat, coconut, each serving it's own purpose...more on that later.
Nut Butters- I love nut butters not only for my baking but when I'm feeling low on energy and I need a good protein kick. Sometime I eat it by the spoonful!
Nutritional Yeast- Sprinkle it on everything. It adds an earthy, cheesy, nutty flavor and gives you the much needed Vitamin B12.
Nuts-There was a time I didn't like nuts. Now they are in everything. Check out some of my favorite nut-rich recipes here and here.
Oats- I eat oats every day for breakfast (unless I'm having my Chocolate Peanut Butter Milkshake) but also use them regularly in my desserts.
Oils - Coconut oil, canola oil, olive oil, and peanut oil are all important for their different uses.
Onions- A long shelf life and a high demand among savory recipes = a bag of onions in my basement pantry.
Quinoa- A very good source of protein, all vegans should be chowing down on this stuff.

Rice- Likewise rice, in all it's varieties, is important to keep in stock. And don't forget rice and beans make a complete protein. 
Sea Salt- A good salt will improve almost every single recipe you come across.Seeds- Stock up on this good source of fat and protein and add to salads and stir fries 
Spices- Be well stocked on all kinds of spices. Buy in bulk, it's cheaper and fresher.
Tempeh- A great soy protein used in many different ways and a great alternative to tofu.
Tofu- This wonder food should always be stocked in your fridge and pantry. There is always a good reason for tofu.
TVP- Another great soy protein good to have handy. Here is my favorite thing to do with it.
Vegetable Broth- I always like to have a back up on hand because it seems whenever I'm out, I need it the most.
Vital Wheat Gluten- With this around you can make seitan (wheat meat) as often as you please.
Yogurt - I love coconut based yogurts but there is also soy and almond.  Great as a egg replacer or for breakfast.

I'm sure I've forgotten some things, but here's the basics of my vegan pantry.
What top foods are in yours?

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