The Vegan Pantry
When you are new to being vegan, a whole wonderland of flavours and product ranges open up before you. It can be a little like being lost in a sea of new goodies, with so many choices, you don’t know which way to turn. So I’ve written this post of those of you taking part in Veganuary, The Leicester Vegan Challenge, Viva’s 30 Day Vegan Challenge, or anyone, at anytime going vegan for the first time.
With foods you’ve never heard of before, it can be easy to shy away. Or perhaps you don’t know how to cook tofu, so it looks like big white soggy blocks of scary-ness and you can’t quite bring yourself to throw it in the basket and see what happens.
I probably won’t recommend too many brands by name here, but I will say that personally, I always go for organic products, and those with limited e-numbers (it’s not only kids that end up like Tigger with these little nasties). Organic is not only a personal health choice, but a vegan choice too in my opinion. All of the chemicals, pesticides and fertilisers used when growing crops can also harm the wildlife and get into the ecosystem through the water table. I know that there are arguments about driving cars and killing flies, killing insects when ploughing fields, but there’s only so close we can get to being perfect in an imperfect world. I personally feel that eating organic wherever possible is something within my control.
It can seem very daunting when you first start to shop for vegan foods, as unless you’ve already got an allergy, you may never have paid too much attention to food labelling before. Trust me, those labels will open your eyes to more than just vegan/not vegan – you’re going to have many a “What the heck is that doing in there?” and “Why oh why is there milk in THAT”! Seriously, sometimes I think there’s a mad goblin in every food manufacturing plant that goes round sprinkling nonsense into foods for the hell of it!
TIP: ASK ASK ASK! Never be afraid to write to a company via their website or social media and ask about their ingredients. If you’re not sure it’s vegan, you can make sure and it takes the panic away!
You’ll find in my list that I’ve included certain fruits and vegetables. Please don’t send me hate mail if I’ve left your favourite one out. All fruits and veggies are of course, wonderful, but it would be far too obvious to list them all. I’ve therefore picked ones I use the most and that I find most versatile.
I’ve also included sweet stuff, goodies and some processed foods in my mix. I’m no angel and I’m not going to pretend I am for the sake of looking great. We all know that too much of certain things is a bad thing, and if you want to be amazing and perfect, just don’t tell me and I won’t have to feel bad!
If you fancy a raw or wholefoods diet, these “sins” will be out, and good on you! I find myself somewhere in the middle, with a healthy mix of wholefoods, raw and things that are a little naughty. Try to eat raw and/or home-made foods more often than processed ones.
Soya = Protein
Coconut = Best Natural Taste in Tea/Coffee (Koko)
Non Dairy Creams (Soya, Oat, Coconut)
I personally don’t choose almond milk, because many of the almonds are grown in the arid desserts of California, and the environmental impact of the quantity of water needed to produce almonds in this climate is huge. But if you can find a supplier who source their almonds in a sustainable manner, then go for it!
Nuts & Seeds
The veritable protein tea chest. I particularly recommend cashews for raw cooking (cashew cream, raw cheesecake etc…)
Ground & Whole Almonds
Tempeh & Tofu
Get it smoked, get it herby, get it naked. Anyway you want it, tofu is there and it’s really not scary! It can be scrambled, fried, baked or eaten out of the pack.
Soya Mince, Burgers & Sausages.
Flour – I use gluten free and coconut blends.
Raw Cacao Powder and Nibs
Greens (Kale & Spinach)
Spreads, Sprinkles & Flavourings
Herbs & Spices
Tahini (for houmous making)
Organic Gluten Free Soya Sauce
Fruit & Veg Favourites
Ignore the propaganda – Potatoes are your friends!
Berries of all types.
Beans, Lentils & Pulses
Other Meat Replacements
Dee’s Vegan Sausages – made from luscious pea protein.
Fry’s Rice Protein & Chia Nuggets (Gluten Free option)
Sweets & Snacks
Lentil & Houmous Chips
Houmous & Veggies
HINT: Keep an eye out for things that say ‘dairy free’ as they often still contain egg.
HINT: Gluten free breads often contain egg white.
I think that my list of favourite things to keep in the cupboards doesn’t even touch the surface – but it will be a great help if you really don’t know where to start.
Please send me any questions you may have in the comments.
As always, thanks for reading!