Your Plant-Based Kitchen Heroes
As the eye-roll inducing cliché goes; fail to prepare, prepare to fail. When it comes to transitioning to a sustainable vegan diet, a well-stocked kitchen is key. Not only will it make sure you’re eating varied & nutritious meals, but it will also mean you can whip up something tasty at just a moment’s notice – with no emergency takeaway needed. Here’s some of our vegan kitchen heroes that we always like have at hand…
Whether you prefer them roasted to give crunch to salads, stirred into stews and curries, or blitzed into a creamy hummus, chickpeas are a vegan powerhouse. They last in your cupboards for ages, meaning you’ll always be prepared to pull together a healthy meal in a rush. You can even use a hand-blender to whip up the water left in the can, also known as aquafaba, to make meringue-like desserts! The possibilities are endless…
“But how do vegans get enough protein?”; it’s an annoying question, but it’s something a vegan does have to think about (although it’s a lot easier than people might think)! For ease and convenience, we love having our Vegan Hemp & Pea sachets on hand for a post-workout shake, easy breakfast smoothie or even to enhance a baking recipe. It’s cleverly designed blend makes it a complete source of protein, so you can rest easy knowing your body is getting all of the essential amino acids it needs.
Despite its unappetising name and aesthetic similar to fish food, nutritional yeast is certainly a vegan kitchen hero. It has a nutty, cheesy flavour which is great for flavour to savoury snacks and meals. Get a version fortified with B-12; an essential supplement for vegans.
Alt mylks have taken the western world by storm, and there’s now a mind-boggling array of vegan options to choose from when ordering your morning flat white. Oat, coconut, hemp, almond, rice, soy, cashew, hazelnut, tiger nut… the list goes on! For us, nothing will beat an Oatly flat white, with Rude Health’s range of milks being king for smoothies and shakes.
Cashews, pecans, almonds, brazil – they’re all awesome for a quick snack on-the-go or for jazzing up a dull-looking meal. We love adding a handful of toasted peanuts or cashews to give a stir fry a good crunch! They’re energy dense, so they're perfect for super active people who need to consume a lot of food but don’t want to feel too full and sluggish. Plus, they’re a great source of healthy fats and protein too.
Also a great source of healthy fats, avocados are our favourite ingredient for topping veggie bowls, making creamy chocolate puddings or even just for mashing on toast (it's basic but brilliant).
This pseudo grain originally from Bolivia and Peru, has become highly popular thanks to containing all nine essential amino acids and a high overall protein content. A little like couscous, it’s often used to bulk up salads or to accompany stews and stir-fries. Cook up a batch at the weekend and keep in the fridge ready for packed lunches or quick meals.
Coconut is a great replacement for most of your beloved dairy products thanks to it containing a good dose of healthy fats. It’s one of the most versatile ingredients around and can be used in replacement for yoghurt, ice cream, milk and even cooking oil! Keep a supply of canned coconut milk in your cupboard, ready to add rich creaminess to quick curries and pasta sauces.
Tofu & Tempeh
Made from soybeans, tofu & tempeh are both awesome sources of protein, iron and calcium. Bake or fry and add them to curries and salads. You can even try whipping up a tofu scramble when a craving for eggs needs satisfying!
We’re often told the importance of eating our fill of oily fish for those omega-3 fatty acids, helping to keep our brains sharp and hearts healthy. Well, flaxseeds are a great fish-free alternative, and are easy to incorporate into your diet. Stir them into oats or smoothies, or even combine them with a couple tbsp. of water, to work as a egg replacer in vegan baking.
There are certain ingredients that always make us feel more relaxed when we’ve got them in our cupboards, and oats are definitely one of those. Nothing quite beats a hearty bowl of oatmeal for a fibre-rich and satiating start to the day, but the possibilities of oats aren’t limited to bowls of oatmeal! Add them to your post-workout smoothies or blitz them into a flour for savoury meals and baking recipes.
Miso paste is another vegan alternative made from fermented soybeans. Known for its umami flavour, it adds depth and tang to vegan sauces. Plus, it comes packed full of healthy bacteria, vitamins and minerals, so is great for your gut!
An array of spices is essential for a successful kitchen, whether you’re vegan or not. The key to meat-free cooking is to pack it with flavour – so you can laugh whenever anyone comments that plant based food is always bland and boring! Different flavours and spices mean you can whip up a whole variety of flavoursome dishes without much trouble. Some of our favourites? Smoked paprika, cumin, cinnamon, curry powder, turmeric, oregano and thyme. And don’t forget a good quality salt and pepper; the seasoning of a dish can make all the difference!