Keeping a well-stocked cupboard, while emphasizing a well-planned variety of items is crucial for creating quick vegan meals. Below, I list my top five essentials for creating easy and delicious meals at home.
LAURA’S TOP FIVE PANTRY PICKS
I like to keep a wide variety of canned beans in my pantry like black, kidney, white, pinto, and garbanzo beans. Canned beans add convenience to your weekly menu plan and make a great base for creating hearty, nutrient-dense, protein rich, and fiber filled vegan meals. Beans are inexpensive and extremely versatile. I use canned beans for vegan burgers, burritos, soups, casseroles, salads, meatless loaves, plant-based “cheese,” vegan “cream” sauces, appetizers, dips, and so much more. I like to purchase organic beans packed in cans made with BPA-free lining. Make certain to refrigerate canned beans after opening.
Marinara Sauce and Canned Tomatoes
A good, jarred, organic vegan marinara is my go-to staple for creating easy, satisfying weeknight meals, making a time-saving base for pasta dishes, lasagna, chili, sauces, casseroles, stews, soups, and more. I keep several varieties stocked in my pantry for use when time is at a premium. Canned (BPA-free) tomatoes provide the same flexibility for creating easy meals. I keep organic diced, crushed, and fire-roasted canned tomato varieties on hand. Make certain to refrigerate marinara sauce and/or canned tomatoes after opening.
I store a wide variety of aseptic packed dairy-free milk in my pantry. Plus, I keep several refrigerated types on hand, too. Soy, almond, rice, oat, macadamia, cashew, coconut, hemp, and hazelnut dairy-free milks are now readily available in both non-refrigerated (aseptic) packaging and in the refrigerated section of well-stocked supermarkets. These plant-based milks make the perfect substitute for dairy milk in recipes for baked goods, breakfast cereals, smoothies, vegan ice “cream,” casseroles, mashed potatoes, and so much more. Make certain to refrigerate aseptic packed dairy free milk after opening.
I keep gluten-free, quick cooking and/or old-fashioned rolled oats in my pantry. Rolled oats are yummy in so many recipes, and they’re really versatile, too! I use rolled oats in cookies, muffins, pie crusts, cakes, crisps, pie fillings, quick breads, meatless loafs, gravies, and vegan burgers. For a hearty breakfast, I like oatmeal cooked with dairy free milk (in place of water), raisins, and unsweetened shredded dried coconut, served with maple syrup and more dairy-free milk on the side. Plus, in less than 5-minutes, you can turn rolled oats into fresh flour! To make quick, homemade oat flour, simply pour some rolled oats into a blender and process into coarse or fine flour. I recommend refrigerating rolled oats after opening.
White or tri-color quinoa is another staple I like to store in my pantry. With a welcoming nutty taste and packed with plenty of high quality, plant-based protein, quinoa is often touted as being a super food and makes an excellent alternative to brown rice. Quinoa is technically a seed (not a grain), but its texture, taste, and preparation method echoes that of many whole-grains, so it is often categorized as a grain. I use quinoa as a main dish (cooked with canned beans or peas), side dish, or as a base for quick plant-based burgers, casseroles, meatless loaves, and salads. I recommend refrigerating quinoa after opening.
Tahini is made by grinding hulled (or unhulled) sesame seeds into a creamy paste. Tahini is traditionally used in hummus, but I use it in cookies, pie crusts, salad dressings, smoothies, vegan burgers, meatless loaves and more. Tahini is available in jars or cans and is found in the nut butter or ethnic food section of well-stocked supermarkets. Make certain to refrigerate tahini after opening.
EASY VEGAN HOME COOKING by Laura Theodore © 2021.
Published by Hatherleigh Press, 2022. Reprinted by permission.
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