I'm often asked what are my go-to items for creating recipes in a vegan kitchen, so I thought a great way to begin the year would be to share my essential ingredients for Veganuary - and beyond!
The recipes I share on my blog, The Whole Ingredient, are whole-food leaning, so this list reflects ingredients that support a healthy, well-balanced diet. But that means there are lots of items you'll probably already have! Add to this a few things that, if you're new to a vegan diet, you might not be familiar with, and you're all set to start making some delicious meals.
This is intended as a starting point: something from which to pick and choose, and a reference point that you can come back to again and again along your cooking journey.
Grains and Pulses (dried or tinned)
- Lentils for salads and hearty dishes: Green (Puy, Vert), Brown and Beluga Lentils keep their shape and have a lovely nutty flavour
- Lentils for dals and soups: Red Lentils and Yellow Split Peas
- Beans: Kidney, Cannellini, Black, Butter, Black Eyed, Pinto, Chickpeas
- Rice: Brown, Wild
- Buckwheat (gluten-free)
- Rolled Oats
- Flours made from any of the above, and Wholemeal/Whole Wheat flour
- Himalayan Pink Salt for its intense flavour and high mineral content; or a good Rock Salt
- A good Soy Sauce, Tamari (usually gluten-free), or Liquid Aminos for a soy-free alternative; try to buy organic if possible to ensure it's GMO-free
- Marmite or other yeast extract
- Nutritional Yeast (a must for cheesy flavours!)
- Apple Cider Vinegar, Red Wine Vinegar, White Wine Vinegar. All great for dressings, marinades and baking
- Dried herbs and spices
- Raw Coconut Oil: for frying, baking and raw desserts
- Olive Oil or Rapeseed Oil: for roasting, baking, dressings and condiments
Nuts, Seeds and Butters
- Brazil Nuts, Pecans, Hazelnuts, Walnuts, Almonds and Cashews are great ingredients for sweet and savoury recipes, as well as for making flours, sauces, butters or just enjoyed as a healthy snack
- Pumpkin, Sunflower, Sesame, Poppy and Flax Seeds
- Chia Seeds: great as an alternative to eggs in baking, to create easy puddings or as an all-round nutritional booster in any recipe
- Nut and Seed Butters: where possible, choose a brand with no added oil, that's sugar and palm oil-free
- Dates and Apricots are great alternatives to refined sugar. Process with water to make your own liquid sweetener or caramel
- Maple Syrup or Agave (Maple Syrup is less refined and lower in fructose)
- Raw Coconut Sugar
- Raw Cacao or Cocoa Powder (Raw Cacao is less refined)
- Good-quality (raw or refined sugar-free where possible) Dark Chocolate
For one egg*:
- Flax: Mix 1 tbsp of ground Flax with 3 tbsp water. Leave for a few minutes to form a gel
- Chia Seeds: Mix 1 tbsp of Chia Seeds with 3 tbsp water. Leave for a few minutes to form a gel
- Banana: 1/2, mashed
- Peanut Butter, Nut Butter, Tahini: 2-3 tbsp
- Apple purée (or other high-pectin fruit purée), pumpkin purée or mashed potato: 60g
*Approximate. Consider the most appropriate alternative for each recipe, and experiment with different methods and recipes to find your favourite!
- Organic, unsweetened Soy (great for tea)
- Nut, Seed, Oat, Rice or Coconut Milk
Tofu and Tempeh
All images © 2015-2016 Laura Hemmington.