Stocking the vegan pantry + fridge

Hello friends. Yes, today I will be talking about what sorts of staples need to be on hand for vegans [and vegetarians!], so that you’ll never run into the problem of having “nothing to eat.” This seems pretty elementary perhaps, but I’ve found that I myself have been going through this sort of trial and error of things that should be stocked at mi casa. It’s like, if I have some vegan sprouted bread, they’re ain’t no jelly…I got some baked tofu, but I ain’t got no spices or rice…I got some ham, but no burger…

You get the picture. What a freakin’ nightmare!! I was kidding about the ham part in case you didn’t get my horrible joke. Anyway. I’m the worst when it comes to this kind of thing. I never make lists of the things I need when I go to the market, or even if I do, 9 times out of 10, I lose the damn thing. Yeah, yeah, I know. At least it’s only myself I need to worry about though…imagine if I had to cook vegan for 2! We’d starve.

Anyway, luckily and thankfully, my dear friend Monica also sent me another vegan cookbook!! Wooo! It’s called “Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook.”

VEGANOMICON :: It AIN'T hard out here for a vegan...ya herrrd!

This one is actually co-authored by the same amazing woman as the other vegan cookbook I received; Isa Chandra Moskowitz. This particular vegan cookbook is actually a lot less intimidating for nouveau/non-cooks/bakers like myself. It’s a lot more gentle and practical, and its premise is to let people know that it ain’t hard out here for a vegan. And thus, at the beginning of this lovely cookbook, they provide a thorough section of absolute must-haves in a vegan household—specifically, what canned goods and what fridge staples one should arm themselves with.

So bless their hearts, THANK YOU vegan cookbook masters, Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, where ever you guys are. THANKS for saving people like moi from ourselves!!! Nuff respect!!

Here goessss:

Stocking the Veganomicon Pantry

Canned Goods

  • Beans: A whole dinner can start with just one can of beans. Keep a can or two of the following on hand, but don’t limit yourself to: chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, navy beans, cannellinis, black-eyed peas, and pintos.
  • Coconut milk: Nothing beats the creaminess coconut gives to bisques and curries. Nothing.
  • Pureed Pumpkin: We use it in a few entree type dishes, but it’s also great to have around for baked goods on the off chance that you’re not in the mood for chocolate. Be sure that the only ingredient is pumpkin and that the label doesn’t say “Pumpkin Pie Mix.”
  • Tomatoes: Most often our recipes call for crushed tomatoes, but we also keep canned whole tomatoes and plain tomato sauce on hand. For tomato paste, we prefer the kind that comes in a tube. We usually just go for the cheapest brand we can find, unless we’re cooking for company—then we buy those fire-roasted ones and deplete our hedge funds. [At least I'm not the only one w/ jokes!]

Fridge Staples

What is a fridge but a climate-controlled cold pantry? The following are things that any vegan fridge can’t be without. Some start out in the pantry but need to be refridgerated once opened.

  • Applesauce: Sure it’s a nice treat to just eat out of the jar with a spoon, but it’s also a great ingredient for baked goods, especially for low fat baking.
  • Capers: The briny taste of caper berries is the secret ingredient in quite a few of our recipes. They’re usually relegated to a garnish in Mediterranean cuisine, but we branch out and use them blended up in dips and salads as well.
  • Dijon Mustard: Sometimes the tangy bite of mustard is just what sauces, casseroles, and salad dressings need to make them complete. Sometimes it isn’t. But for those times when it is, keep your fridge stocked with whole grain Dijon mustard.
  • Jams and jellies: We use these to add yumminess to baked goods, either in the batter or as a spread or as a filling, as in the Jelly Donut Cupcakes. And you don’t need us to tell you to eat PB&J’s! What flavors do we consider staples? We have at least raspberry, strawberry, and apricot in our pantry at all times. [Okay, not me, BLUEBERRY ALL THE WAY BABY!!]
  • Margarine, Earth Balance vegan, non-hydrogenated: Forget what you know about margarine; this brand is heaven on a butter knife. We try not to use too much of it in the Veganomicon, but sometimes nothing else will do. Its buttery flavor is essential in some baked goods, soups and casseroles.
  • Miso: Everybody’s favorite fermented Japanese paste. The standard kind you’ll find in most American supermarkets is made from soybeans and rice, but there are dozens of other varieties out there—-brown rice, chickpean, barley—all with their own unique properties and flavors ranging from sweet or winey, to earthy or fruity. We often use miso the same way vegetable broth is used—to give soups, stews and gravies an intriguing backdrop.
  • Non-dairy milk: Use whatever kind floats your boat, be it soy, rice, almond—even hazelnut. As long as it’s not an overly sweetened or flavored milk, you can use any of these milks interchangeably in all recipes. [ more chocolate almond milk for me's BOMB by the way..]
  • Tempeh: A fermented soybean patty. That doesn’t sound all that appealing now does it? But trust us, when treated right—tempeh is a succulent and welcome addition to your diet. Isa’s mom swears by it.
  • Tofu: [This one is a no-brainer yo.]
  • Vegenaise: This brand is the absolute best vegan mayonnaise; don’t bother with anything else. We use it for some salads and dressings, and of course, for sandwiches.

WHEW! Okay, now I’m ready to hit Trader Joe’s now. A lot of these ingredients you feel like you already knew you should have, but this list just makes it that much clearer for you. Oh yes, it’s the definitive vegan shopping list! Well, not a whole vegan shopping list. But it’s a start. Maybe next time I’m not feeling lazy, I’ll type up the rest of the staples that ya’ll will need, such as: herbs and spices, baking basics, sugars, etc.