Sunday, 27 November 2011

Vegan store cupboard essentials!

After getting asked lots of questions at the Veggie fair about what I use, how did I transition from being vegetarian to vegan, and how to stay on a healthy and vitamin rich vegan diet,I thought I would show you some of the things I always have in my cupboard for making delicious and easy vegan meals!

Okay so first of I will start with the spices, I am a bit addicted to mustard seeds! They are of course great in curry but I pop them in cous cous and on potatoes, I also use paprika for its sweet heat in goulashes and stews, cumin in curries and my all time favourite in anything, turmeric for it's anti inflammatory properties!
Next are tins of pulses and beans! My cupboard is always full of these guys! They are great for hummus and try butterbeans as an alternative to mashed potato! They are great to add to stews and soups and add protein and fibre!
Sundried tomatoes are my favourite thing! I use their oil in my cashew nut cheese recipe which is on the blog here I also roast veggies in the oil and I use the tomatoes on pizza and to make sauces richer!
Olive oil is a must, try and buy a nice quality olive oil, it doesn't have to be an extra virgin Olive oil as most of this favour will be lost in the cooking, but a good quality one that can be used in hummus, dips and dressings is I think,a great investment.
Soya sauce or tamari is great for adding colour to gravies, marinating mushrooms, in stir frys and in noodle soups.
Nutritional yeast is my wonder ingredient! I call them magic flakes! They are cheesy and packed full of B vitamins which are often missing in a vegan diet! I pop these in the cashew cheese, make white sauce, sprinkle on wraps, make 'cheese' on toast , add to soups and stews and on jacket potatoes. I would advice to add them at the end of cooking so not to lose any of the nutritional value by over cooking.
Limes, garlic and chilli's are my staple, garlic in soup, dips, sauces. Lime in dressings, desserts, guacamole and to add zing to stir frys. Chili in curries, shepherds pies mix, stews and batters.
Good quality sea salt is so much better than chemically made table salt. Buy the best you can and you will need to use less as it will have a better salty flavour.
Marigold Bouillon is the best stock. It can be bought in gluten free and reduced salt too.
TVP mince, okay so I don't like using to much processed stuff but this is great for a quick chili. Add it to a bowl with hot water and add your flavourings to it first before adding it to the pan. It will soak up so much more favour that way.
Olives in a jar are great and are ready for salads, tomato sauces and wraps. I am addicted and can be found eating them from the jar with a folk.
Hazelnuts, great for cakes, but I love to whizz them up, make 'cheeses' and stuffing's for pies and vegetables.
Vegan pesto, okay so you can make your own but I think this stuff is rather great. It's not fresh like just    picked basil but has great flavour for pasta, potatoes or mixed into a tomato sauce. It's a great quick meal maker too!
And finally Tahini. This bitter nutty paste is what makes a good hummus, it's great on rice cakes with sultanas for a quick halva moment and is packed with iron and calcium!

I hope this has given you a few ideas of how to make basic, healthy and quick vegan food for yourself and your family! If you have any questions about vegan diet and recipes, as always just ask!

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