So, you’re considering going vegan. Buh bye butter, see you later – alligator [purses]. You may be asking yourself where to start. If you’re thinking food can’t be tasty without dairy and eggs, you ‘re wrong. We’ve found that with a few staple items in the pantry, you’ll be left with a dish so tasty, you’ll only Instagram the empty plate. You’re welcome.
NO. 1: NUTRITIONAL YEAST FLAKES
Not to be confused with brewer’s yeast, “nooch” offers a roasted, nutty, umami-like cheese flavor to your dish. Nutritional yeast is a great source of amino acids and B vitamins, and most brands are naturally gluten-free.
You can find nutritional yeast flakes in the bulk aisle in most natural food markets or online.
Here are some brands we live by:
- Bragg Premium Nutritional Yeast ($6.69)
- Kal Nutritional Yeast Flakes ($14.19)
NO 2: NON-DAIRY MILK
Non-dairy milks are a healthy and low-fat alternative for those looking to avoid dairy; they are often enriched with vitamins, and are cholesterol and lactose free.
There are a TON of non-dairy milk options on the market – from traditional soy, almond, or cashew milk, to coconut, hemp and grain milks [think oats, rice or even quinoa].
However, if using non-dairy milk is enough adventure for you, you can find many non-dairy milk options in both the refrigerated aisle or in aseptic containers (great for traveling!).
Here are a few of our favorite brands:
- If you’re on the West Coast check out our friends at Pop & Bottle ($5.99)
- O Milk: Cashew Milk (9.99)
NO 3: SEITAN
Seitan, pronounced SAY-tan (not SATAN), is a protein made from cooked gluten. Seitan’s meat-like texture absorbs the flavor of any sauce it’s cooked in.
Check out our favs:
- Monk’s Meats Standard Seitan (4.99)
NO 4: HERBS & SPICES
Fresh and dry herbs are a must in every vegan’s pantry. Our basic go-to herbs to cook with include basil, sage, pepper, mint, thyme and rosemary.
Usually, we end up with a combination of both dried herbs and fresh herbs. You can use this guide to determine when to use dried over fresh. General rule of thumb: “dried during cooking, cause the fresh is good looking”….Not catchy?
Note: The herbaceous conversion rate is one part dried to three parts fresh.
If you’re a newb, try one of these kits to get you started:
- Looking to splurge? Try Dean & Deluca Spice Rack ($175)
*Bonus Track — “Spice Up Your Life” (read about how the Spice Girls legacy has incluenced our rack)
NO. 5: HIGH-SPEED BLENDER OR IMMERSION BLENDER
Investing in a high-speed blender is definitely worth the hype! We use it on the reg to whip up pestos, pasta sauces, soups, and dressings.
See our top picks below:
- Vitamix (starting at $449), the Rolls Royce of blenders, is perfect for blending nuts to an ultra smooth cream and whipping up a smoothie in seconds! It is a high-speed, heavy-duty, powerful machine.
- Immersion Blenders are useful for those working in a limited kitchen space or on a budget. Check out this pink Smart Stick from Cusinart ($34.95)