13 Vegan Essentials That Will Help You Transition
Here is a list of some of my favorite vegan pantry essentials. These are all items that you will want to have on hand at all times to make your life just that much easier! They will all be a component to also help you with your transition to full on plant based eating. Take a look at the list below and let me what some of your pantry favorites are!
1. Wheat Gluten or Tofu
When I first made my transition to the vegan lifestyle I consumed many meals that consisted of wheat gluten. I was not aware of the health affects that were associated with gluten at them time because I was so new to the lifestyle, but even now that I am more aware, I still think it’s a great meat replacement those that are transitioning.
If you don’t suffer from gluten allergies you’ll definitely want to give it a try! I’ve visited restaurants that have found so many creative ways to transform this spongy loaf into a wide array of tasty foods. I’ve had Vegan BBQ Ribs, Burgers, Fried “Chicken”, Salisbury “Steak”, and much more that were all made from wheat gluten.
And the best part is that you can make this at home! It’s great to add to stews and soups as well, or anything that you desire to add a meat-y type texture to. Buy your own vital wheat gluten flour here
If you’re not a fan of the wheat gluten, tofu is a great option as well. I also have a video showing how to make soy-free tofu!
I used lentils for so many of our meals! Burgers, lentil loafs, meatballs, and even just to serve over rice with the right seasonings and veggies. They’re so easy to prepare so because of the fact they don’t need to be soaked and only take about 20 minutes to cook. Keep your pantry stocked with these as the come in handy for last minute meal preparation!
3. Nutritional Yeast
Nutritional Yeast is the best cheese replacement. I’ve used it to make cheese sauces and queso dips. It’s also great to sprinkle over spaghetti, avocados, and to even thicken up your soups. It has a very similar taste to cheese (even though you could never fool anyone with it) and will immediately perk up any dish that could use a little sprinkle of this (not so) cheesy topping. My cheese sauce recipe
4. Brown Rice Pasta
If you’re looking to cut back on the wheat, brown rice pasta is the prefect alternative. I’ve tried and used many brands but none of them live up to the Tinkyada brand. Other kinds I have tried are too mushy or just don’t cook properly. I also have perfectly cooked pasta when I use this brand and it tastes great!
5. Almond Milk (how to make your own)
I love almond milk (rice milk as well but almond is the healthier alternative when you make your own). You can easily buy the store bought kind in a carton or jug but just be sure to check the ingredients (they can get a little crazy sometimes.) But if you’re down, and have to the time, you can make your own almond milk at home. Here’s how!
1 Soak 1 cup of raw almonds overnight
2. The next morning, drain and rinse the almonds. Add them to your blender with 2 cups of water, a little vanilla and dates (to sweeten it up), and blend.
Note: You can certainly omit the vanilla and dates if you’re using the almond to prepare a savory dish of some sort
3. Use nut milk strainer bag (I’ve used a sprouting bag before that worked perfectly) and pour your blended mixture inside to strain the pulp.
4. Voila! You have your almond milk. Be sure to use the milk as soon as possible as it does not keep for very long in the fridge (about 3 days)
Flaxseeds serve as a great egg replacer is baked goods such as muffins, breads, cookies, etc. I’ve also them in pancakes (Sweet Potato Pancakes) as well which worked great! To replace eggs in a recipe use: 1 tbsp of ground flaxseeds with 3 tbsp of cold water. Mix them together and allow to sit for about 10 minutes. This ratio is equivalent to one egg.
7. Vegetable Broth
If you aren’t fully vegan yet, one simple change you can make is to replace your chicken or meat broth with veggie broth! This can easily become an instant vegan essential for your pantry. I love to cook my quinoa with veggie broth and add in some simple vegetables and beans for a quick and easy meal!
8. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil can replace many of the highly processed oils suchs as canola or safflower (very mucus forming). It can also be used to replace butter in recipes as well. I have a video all about coconut oil here: 11 Ways To Use Coconut Oil.
9. Earth Balance
This is another simple vegan swap you can make today if you’re not fully on the vegan path yet! it tastes exactly like butter and will make you want to use it in every single thing. Anything you use butter for, you can use Earth Balance instead.
This can be purchased at just about any grocery store.
10. Ener- G Egg Replacer
Excellent egg replacer that can be purchased here. I’ve used this is baked goods which worked perfectly!
11. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds little tiny seeds that pack a powerful punch. They are known for their high levels of protein and antioxidants. I like to add some into my smoothies for a little added nutrients or my oatmeal in the mornings. They can be used to thicken puddings and also for a great egg replacer as well! These are super to have on hand.
My beloved chickpeas! I love chickpeas because they can be used in just about anything! They’ll instantly add protein into any dish you fancy. I have several recipes using chickpeas. Chickpea Tuna and Chickpea Tacos
If you get tired of rice, quinoa is the perfect switch up. Quinoa is not actually a grain but a seed so it’s great for people looking limit their consumption of grains. It’s very nutrient dense and easy to cook!
So those are a list of my top 13 vegan essentials that will really help you make your transition into vegan eating! Let me know in the comments below what some of your vegan pantry essentials are!