10 Essential Vegan Kitchen Staples

These 10 Vegan Kitchen Staples are some must-haves when going plant-based so you’ll be ready to take on almost any recipe!

10 Essential Vegan Kitchen Staples | Some of the must-haves when going vegan so you'll be ready to take on almost any recipe!

Do you ever find a recipe, think it looks fabulous, and then read one of the ingredients and stay to yourself “What the heck is that? Where do I get that?”

I sure have, especially when I first went vegan. To help you if you ever experienced the same thing, I put together a list of vegan kitchen staples that I use and that I’ve seen in other vegan recipes too. This way you’ll be covered with the basics!

 

10 Essential Vegan Kitchen Staples

 

1. Non-Dairy Milks – I’m sure you probably have some in your fridge or at least have tried some before (if not, you’re in luck, they’re tasty!). There are nut milks like almond, cashew, and hazelnut as well as other kinds like soy, rice, hemp, coconut and flax.

Use in: smoothies, smoothie bowls, soups, sauces, drinks, baking – basically, anywhere a dairy milk would be used

2. Nutritional Yeast (aka nooch) – You might be asking yourself what that is or think yeast sounds gross – well it’s not – it’s delicious! Nutritional yeast is a biggie when you want to add a cheezy flavor to food and also adds an umami or savoriness to dishes.

Use in: vegan mac & cheese recipes (like mine), sprinkled on vegan pizza & veggies, making vegan parmesan

3. Nuts & Seeds (and their butters) – Besides peanuts and peanut butter, which most households have on hand unless someone’s allergic, there are so many other nuts and nut butters to love. My favorites are almond butter for balls & smoothie bowls and raw cashews for sauces. Other nuts & seeds I like to keep on hand are almonds, walnuts, hemp and sesame seeds. I also usually have a stock of cashew butter and tahini paste (sesame seed butter) for dressings and sauces.

Use in: snacks, sauces, dressings, and everything I noted above

4. Tamari/Soy Sauce – Because I make a lot of Asian foods many recipes will call for it but I use it well beyond Asian recipes to add extra flavor.

Use in: almost anywhere!

5. Ground Flax Seeds – Did you know that you can make an egg substitute with flax seeds? It’s true! To make one “flax egg”, mix 1 TB of ground flax seeds with 3 TB of warm water and let sit for about 10 minutes.  When storing flax you have to keep it in the fridge because the seeds can get rancid in heat. Flax seeds contain Omega 3s so they’re good for you too!

Use in: baking muffins, cakes etc.

6. Fresh Lemons – There are always lemons in my fridge. I feel like lemon can be added to almost anything – sweet or savory. I have a glad of warm lemon water every morning when I wake up -it’s a nice and refreshing way to start the day.

Use in:  drinks, sauces, and dressings

7. Canned Beans – Canned beans are a must for vegans – they add lots of fiber and protein. Plus they’re easier and quicker than cooking dried beans. My favorites are chickpeas but I always have a can of white and black on hand as well.

Use in: bowls, dips, sauces, soups

8. Hot Sauce/Sriracha – I love hot and spicy dishes so I alway shave some kind of hot sauce on hand. Even if you’re not a hot/spicy person yourself, adding a bit will add a depth of flavor to food.

Use in: almost anywhere that needs a bit of spice!

9. Apple Cider Vinegar (or other types of vinegar) – As I said before, I like to make most of my own dressings, so vinegar is a must for those. I also use it in many of my sauces to add a bit of acidity when I’m not using lemon juice.

Use in: dressings, sauces

10. Vegan cream cheese, sour cream, and mayo – Although I like to make my own sauces as often as I can, sometimes I just need to whip up something quick and not have to worry about using a blender. That’s where pre-bought vegan cream cheese, sour cream, and mayo come in! To see my favorite brands check out this post.

Use in: recipes that call for creaminess (and for cream cheese and mayo substitutes)

 

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23 thoughts on “10 Essential Vegan Kitchen Staples

  1. Great list – I am hard put to add to it though I think I would have to add either smoked paprika or liquid smoke – it gives a meaty flavour and is a must for the tofu bacon that we make a lot. Do you buy your lemons or get them from your tree or friends. We went to a shop yesterday that said you could get $10 credit with a box of fresh lemons and my mum told me that they are hard to come by right now though she has lots on her tree – actually I need to water my tree as we have some lemons growing there and I can’t wait for them to ripen.

    1. That would be a great addition Johanna! I haven’t used much liquid smoke in my recipes yet but I’m going to purchase some after you suggested it. I bet it really is good on tofu bacon!

      I have to buy my lemons. 🙁 I wish I had a lemon tree around – no one I know has one actually. I live in right outside NYC though so I don’t think they’re too popular here. I’m so jealous that you can have them any time they’re ripe!

  2. Such a helpful post for all the new vegans around at the moment! All of these are my staples too, except number 10. I was never a fan of mayo, sour cream or cream cheese before I was vegan so don’t really look for them now. Tamari and nutritional yeast are my top 2 ingredients. Hot sauce is a close third!

    1. Thanks so much Mel! Yeah, I wasn’t much a fan of them either. I kind of only use them for quick sauces and stuff because they’re so easy. Nooch, tamari and hot sauce are total must haves!

  3. I’ve got them all! One of my favorites are hemp seeds—I use them almost every day! And garlic and onions—my husband and I joke that we don’t know how to start a meal without first sautéing the two of them together!

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