How to Create Great Vegan Meals: What They Don’t Tell You
Vegan Pantry Secrets To Create Nutritious Flavorful Meals
Hey, Everybody. This is Part 2 in my series on creating vegan meals. In my last article I shared with you the Hidden Animal Ingredients that manufacturers add to food. In this article we’ll talk about setting up your pantry correctly.
Setting up your pantry is an essential step to being able to easily create meals on a whim. For people who have been vegetarians all their lives, setting up the pantry will not be a struggle. However, if you’ve just recently converted to a vegan, you’ll probably need to start from scratch. You may have some ingredients on hand, but most of your pantry may not be
You may have some ingredients on hand, but most of your pantry may not be vegan-friendly.
Of course, this list will not include perishable items such as fruits and vegetables. However, even some perishable items, such as certain brands of hemp milk, coconut milk, rice milk, almond milk, etc can be stored on the shelves and not in the refrigerator because of the special packaging.
Step One: Take Inventory
The first step to building a vegan pantry is to take inventory of what you have. This step is mostly for those who have just become vegans. However, even if you have been vegan for a while, you will also benefit from this. The goal is to think about everything that you have and determine if it supports the vegan lifestyle.
You may also want to look at the ingredients lists of all your packaged foods to determine if any of the hidden ingredients listed in the previous chapter exist. Even if you have been vegan for a while, you may still find some foods in your pantry that are made with animal products.
Step Two: Stock the Essentials
It isn’t necessary to have a large pantry filled with tons of ingredients and packaged foods. All you need to do is sit and think about the things that are really important to you. If you don’t bake that often, for example, don’t bother buying baking supplies until you really need them.
If you are the type of person who loves cereal and has a few bowls a day, you may want to keep hemp milk, soy milk, rice milk, and extra cereal in your pantry. Maybe you’re a foodie who loves playing with spices and herbs. Fill your cabinets with foods that will make cooking and dining enjoyable.
Once you figure out what you need and your eating preferences you can start buying things to put in your pantry. Plan your meals in advance and write out a shopping list. If you do not take the extra time to think about what you need, you’ll end up purchasing things you won’t eat.
Even though pantries may differ from household to household, it will be helpful to view a sample pantry. You can use this as a starting point while trying to figure out how to stock yours, or you can take this list to the store and start shopping! It’s up to you.
It may help to think of your pantry in terms of categories such as breakfast items, snacks, etc. Here’s a rough list:
- Whole grain hot cereals such as oatmeal or cream of wheat
- Cold cereals to eat with hemp milk, coconut milk, soy milk, nut milks or rice milk
- Vegan-friendly pancake mixes
- Vegan baked goods such as muffins
- A variety of healthy snack items such as granola bars
- Vegan treats such as brownies, cupcakes, cookies and ice cream.
- Crackers and other baked items
- Seed and nut milks, soy milk, rice milk, and tofu in special packaging to help it store in the pantry and stay fresh longer.
- Canned soups, soup mixes, and other boxed meal products such as vegan macaroni and cheese.
- Nuts and seeds such as almonds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and pecans.
- Pasta – look for whole wheat, quinoa or artichoke varieties.
- Items like spaghetti sauce, capers, pickles, extra ketchup, salad dressings, etc.
These are just a few examples. Buy things that are in accordance with your preferences
- Whole wheat rice
- Buckwheat flour
- Wheat flour
- Quinoa flour
- Almond flour
- One oil to cook with (coconut or vegetable)
- At least one kind of flavorful oil such as cold pressed olive oil or roasted sesame oil
- Tamara and/ or soy sauce
- Hot Sauce
- Vinegar – you can keep several kinds on hand such as balsamic, rice wine, and red wine vinegar
Salt, pepper, and herbs and spices
- Leavening agents such as yeast, baking powder, and baking soda
- Vegan-friendly egg substitute such as ground flax seed
- Different kinds of flours, make sure it is not bleached flour
- Sugars and other sweetener products such as maple syrup and rice syrup
This list is just designed to be a jumping off point. It is almost impossible to come up with a blanket list because peoples’ food preferences vary greatly. The approach most people like to take is to purchase things one at a time as you need them.
Remember to look at the ingredients, especially when you are buying packaged food. As we’ve explored, there are often hidden ingredients that are not vegan-friendly where you would least expect.
It is fun and exciting building your pantry, palate, and passion for cooking your delicious vegan cuisine. Find your favorites and share with a vegan you love.
Next part 3, Creating a Balanced Meal
Have A NaturallySweet Day