Updated: Jan 14, 2019
What really makes a dish are the spices used. It's important to stock your pantry with all the vegan essentials. I'll show you what pantry items are necessary to cook delicious meals no matter the occasion.
Vegans tend to cook more for themselves. Most high quality vegan restaurants are very expensive so it's not economical to eat out all the time. There's also a lot of vegan restaurants that offer vegan comfort and fast food. Those options are great when you just want to enjoy a nice vegan burger and fries but not the healthiest to eat on a consistent basis.
If you're looking for a vegan restaurant you're in luck! There's great resources out there to find a vegan restaurant near you. I like to use a combination of Yelp and a wonderful app called Happy Cow. Both have different restaurants on them so using both you can maximize your search results.
I've noticed when I go to regular restaurants it's hard to find vegan options. Additionally, you have to ask a lot of questions and you can never assume that a vegetable dish is vegan. You can't always trust what's in the food once it arrives at your table. There have been too many occasions that I've ordered food without cheese and it arrived with cheese.
It makes life so much easier when you cook your own meals. That way you know exactly what's in it! I find cooking to be very rewarding. It feels amazing to sit down and enjoy the delicious meal you just made by putting love into it. You can also make any dish to your liking by adding all your favorite ingredients.
As you start to find more vegan recipes to make you'll notice a lot of them call for the same types of ingredients. It's important to have a fully loaded vegan pantry. I'm going to list some essential items you'll want to always keep on hand.
Oils (if you cook with oil):
I recommend cold-pressed oils if available. They're typically more expensive but better for you.
Grape seed oil
Apple cider vinegar
Soy Sauce or Tamari (gluten free soy sauce)
Hot sauce (I like Sriracha, Chalula and Red's)
Seasoning (spices & herbs):
It's nice to have some herb plants so when needed you can pick off a few leaves for some fresh flavor. I recommend having a basil, cilantro, parsley, mint and green onion (not a herb but great for adding fresh flavor to any dish).
Crushed red peppers
Garbanzo bean flour
Corn Masa flour (for making corn tortillas)
Brown/White rice flour
Whole grain flour or 1:1 gluten free flour (for those with a gluten sensitivity)
I typically keep a lot of raw cashews on hand because when they're soaked and blended they become a great creamy liquid. Great for cashew milk, cheese or even sour cream!
I like to keep a few varieties of grains on stock. I keep short grain rice on hand in case I want to make some sushi and regular white rice because I tend to eat a lot of my meals with rice. Quinoa is a healthier option than rice and brown rice is healthier than white rice. I've grown up eating white rice with almost every dinner meal so I always have some on stock.
Brown and/or white rice
Short grain rice (for sushi)
Once you have all the basic essentials you'll be cooking in no time! Hope this list of pantry items helps inspire you to cook some delicious home cooked vegan food : )