Going vegan? You need these staples in your kitchen.
So you’ve recently decided to go vegan and are wondering where to start. Firstly, well done! I know what a minefield trying to be vegan can be, so here are my 21 favourite vegan staples.
My kitchen is never without these foods: everything else in my kitchen can come and go. As long as you make sure you have all of these (as well as your own favourites) you’ll always have something quick, easy and nutritious to eat.
The 21 vegan staples no kitchen should be without
This list doesn’t include fresh fruits and veggies, because I think they’re kinda obvious. As a general rule, add some fresh or frozen fruits and veggies to every meal. The more, the better!
- Dried pasta is almost always vegan – check the label if you’re not sure.
- Brown rice is more filling and has more protein than the white counterpart and isn’t any harder to cook.
- Basic noodles are cheap, often vegan (check the curry flavour) and great for emergencies or evenings when you’re in a rush.
- Frozen chips are usually vegan – again, check the label!
- Wholemeal bread has more protein and fibre than the white counterpart, making it a great addition to your vegan kitchen.
Vegan cooking ingredients
- Yeast extract and enriched nutritional yeast are both great sources of Vitamin B12, which is probably the hardest vitamin for vegans to get. If you don’t like yeast extract on its own, fear not – you can add it to your cooking to give your food a richer flavour.
- Red Bisto is one of my favourite secret ingredients – it thickens and adds a meaty flavour to whatever you add it to. It’s great for my vegan cottage pie!
- Dark soya sauce adds a rich, savoury flavour to whatever you add it to. Get it in the world food aisle for the best deal.
- Nut butters or nuts are an essential part of my diet.
- Herbs and spices – which depends on which foods you like best and how often you cook!
- Tinned pulses and veggies – baked beans, green lentils, black beans, chickpeas etc.
- Seasoning – your salts, peppers etc. Iodised salt is a good source of iodine and kala namak (black salt) has an unmistakeably eggy flavour thanks to its high sulfur content: which makes it a key ingredient in my vegan egg mayo.
Vegan meat and dairy alternatives
- Soya and oat milk are the only two milks I use on a regular basis. All other milks are if they’re on offer, or if we’re in a pinch.
- Vegan yoghurts are always in my fridge. They taste just like the non-vegan thing, so there’s no need to be using dairy.
- Quorn vegan fishless fingers taste like the real thing and are plastic free!
- Tofu isn’t strictly a meat or dairy replacement, but it doesn’t fit neatly anywhere else. I use it for egg replacements, blending into sauces or baking into crispy little squares.
- Soya/oat cream: you can get pouring cream, creme fraiche and even squirty cream.
- By far the best readily available vegan sausage I’ve found is the Quorn vegan Cumberland style sausage. Pair it with some vegetarian black pudding and a tofu fried egg and you’ve got the makings of a good vegan fry up!
- If you want vegan burgers, it’s Linda McCartney. The vegetarian quarter pounders and the spinach and mushroom burgers are both delicious meat alternatives that everyone in my house loves.
Vegan sweet treats
- Biscuits are a rare treat in my house as I have no self control when faced with a pack of McVities Fruit Shortcakes, but many are vegan including Oreos, Fox’s Party Rings, Lotus biscoff and so many more!
- Popcorn is one of our favourite snacks for the lunchbox. Sweet and salted is always vegan, but check the label for more special flavours.
- Dark chocolate is my go-to comfort snack: it’s rich enough to nibble slowly and savour, and it never fails to pick me up. Make sure you check the label for dairy products as not all dark chocolate is vegan, but by the time you get up to 70% cocoa or more you should be good to go.
- Vegan ice cream. Do I even need to say more than that?
Read next: The Best Vegan Milk For Coffee
What vegan foods can’t you live without? Let me know in the comments!