Eating Vegan: Top Ten Kitchen Staples

One of the misconceptions about vegan eats is that you’re either living on salads or making some kind of elaborate, fake-meat based meal. That can’t be farther from the truth! Sure, I dig a good salad from time to time, but most of the meals we eat around here are much heartier and take less than 30 minutes to prepare. Here are the kitchen staples that I make sure to always have on hand, so I can throw quick, delicious meals together!

1. Potatoes

Whether they’re mashed, baked, roasted, or fried, we eat a ton of potatoes. Potato-based family favorites include shepherd’s pie and mashed potatoes topped with sauteed greens. Check out Heather’s recipe for Herbed Potatoes – simple, and delicious!

2. Leafy Greens

Really I could have said kale, and that probably would have been just as accurate, but as long as there’s some kind of leafy green in the kitchen it’s easy as pie to whip up a meal. If kale’s not your thing, try Swiss chard or collards!

I love tossing a few cups of dark, leafy greens into the crock pot with some veggie or mushroom broth, a can of white beans, and some minced garlic. Cook on high for a couple of hours, and dinner is served! The cooking time is a little bit longer, but it’s all passive time – prep takes less than 10 minutes.

3. Beans

Beans are perfect for an easy dinner. Toss them with cooked, whole grains and spices, and you’ve got a whole protein that’s tasty, cheap, and filling. Having beans on hand makes it easy to be ready for impromptu entertaining, too! Blend up beans, olive oil, garlic, tahini, and salt and pepper for a quickie dip or sandwich spread.

Sauteed Veggies with Tahini and Sriracha Drizzle

4. Nutritional Yeast

Really, I can’t say enough good things about nutritional yeast. It adds a mild, cheesy flavor to anything, and I use it almost daily. A couple of tablespoons transform steamed veggies or sauteed greens into a delicious treat.

5. Tahini

Tahini is critical in making hummus, but it’s good for so much more than that! You can use it to make sauces creamier or drizzle it on top of beans or veggies to add a protein boost.

6. Sriracha Sauce

No pantry is complete without a good hot sauce, and Sriracha is my fave. I put it on everything savory. Seriously, everything.

7. Garlic

On top of its health benefits, garlic is a key cooking staple. Whether you’re cooking greens, beans, soups, or a veggie roast, a couple of cloves of garlic add a depth of flavor that really takes things to the next level.

Lentil and Sweet Potato Soup Topped with Diced Avocado

8. Onions

Like garlic, onions are a key kitchen staple. Red or Vidalia are versatile enough to work in pretty much any dish that calls for onions. Green onions or baby Vidalias are fun in salads and dips.

9. Avocado

Another great thing to have handy for drop-in guests, avocado is super versatile! You can whip up some quick guacamole, slice it into salads or sandwiches, or eat it all on its own. You can even mash it up with cocoa powder and some agave nectar for a quick chocolate pudding. No, really. It’s delicious!

10. Olive Oil

Whether you eat it for its health benefits or its general deliciousness, no kitchen should be without a bottle of good olive oil. It’s a great substitution for butter when you’re looking to saute or in recipes like mashed potatoes.

I’d love to hear from some of the vegans out there! What foods are kitchen critical for you?

Written by Becky Striepe


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  1. Great post! I just happen to have all of these in my kitchen — with the exception of sriracha (I have a thing for chipotle hot sauces instead). My additionto your list: tempeh. Now that I've learned to steam or boil it a little first, it's versatility and ease of use has made it a great addition to my larder.

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