Someone in my comments on Instagram asked a really good question! They said “whenever I go to the store I get bread, milk, and eggs. What is the equivalent that you keep stocked at all times?”
I do love bread, but I don’t think it would be helpful for me to just list bread, milk, and egg substitutes here. Instead I’m going to share what I always keep stocked because they’re common ingredients in vegan recipes.
Aside from these “Top 5” contenders, I’d recommend trying a few non-dairy milks to find your “go-to” and getting things like pasta and rice that often end up in a meal.
1 – TOFU!
Tofu can become almost anything you want it to, as long as you use the proper prep steps. It also takes a long time to expire, so I tend to pick up a couple of packages (or a package and a meat alternative) whenever I go grocery shopping.
I linked it in the Veganuary email I sent, but in case you missed it here’s a really helpful article from Good Housekeeping about how to prepare tofu if you haven’t done it before! Don’t write it off until you’ve had it made well, because it can be really gross if not cooked right.
2 – Flax Meal
I like to keep Flax Meal on hand (it may also be labeled as ground flaxseeds!). We get this one from Bob’s Red Mill:
Flaxseed meal is a healthy addition to smoothies or oatmeal, and because of the fiber it fills you up quickly. It also has omega 3, which you sometimes can’t get as much of with a plant-based diet.
Most importantly, mixing 1 TBSP of this with 2 TBSP of water and letting it rest for 10 minutes will create a gel-like substance that you can use to replace one egg in a recipe!
3 – Nutritional Yeast
Sometimes referred to as “nooch” in recipes or in meal descriptions, nutritional yeast is a cheesy-tasting shelf-stable ingredient that makes your meals taste better. It’s also higher in protein which is always a plus with vegan meals!
We are fortunate to be able to buy ours in bulk, so we can get it package free, too!
4 – Cashews
Cashews are the common theme across almost all vegan recipes. They’re in 5 recipes I made last week alone!
Commonly soaked or ground up to add texture or protein, cashews are a great thing to keep a few handfuls of on hand.
5 – Spices and Sauces
This kind of goes hand-in-hand with the tofu, but obviously plant-based meals are made of…well… plants! Plants are inherently less flavorful than meat and cheese if that’s what you’re used to, so start building a good supply of sauces and spices to make your meals taste the way you would like them to.