THE PANTRY DIARIES: ONE

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CHAPTER 1

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:

  1. Bob’s Red Mill: Large Flake Nutritional Yeast ($8.79)
  1. Bragg Premium Nutritional Yeast ($6.69)
  1. 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].

We’re suckers for our Not-Your-Average Almond Mylk using a trusty nut milk bags (insert nut bag joke).

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:

  1. If you’re on the West Coast check out our friends at Pop & Bottle ($5.99)
  1. Califia Farms: Creamy Original Pure Almond Milk ($25.60)
  1. 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:

  1. Upton’s Naturals: Traditional Seitan (3.99)
  1. 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:

  1. Mobile Foodie Organic Survival Kit ($26)
  1. 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:

  1. 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.
  1. 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)