I remember the day we decided to go vegan as a couple, my first thought was “This can only be made easy if the way my kitchen runs is changed”. Ok thats a lie. That was my SECOND thought. My first thought was “What on earth am i making for dinner tonight then?” Whoever knows me knows that i spend most of my free time in the kitchen, so to be honest, this was an enjoyable feat for me; yey to another excuse to spend more time here! There still ARE days when im like “Holy crap what on earth am i making for dinner”, however they are just as rare as they were before going plant-based; if not more. So this post is about how to make that question, or that panic, appear less and less. This post is about how to easily make your kitchen fit your new cruelty-free healthy-lead life. Alot of people have posts about “HOW TO EASILY TRANSITION TO A VEGAN DIET” or “HOW TO GO VEGAN”. I personally think that the first point of mastery is what you should include in your kitchen first, in order for the rest to follow smoothly
Dont think that from one day to the next you have to throw all the products that are/contain animal and replace them with superfoods and vegan foods in one shop. If you do that it will appear really expensive to you, and might turn you off. It took me a good 2 months to get my kitchen up and running smoothly and easily as plant-based. While i have a thing about living cruelty-free, i also have a thing about WASTE. If you’re still able to consume the animal products left in your kitchen, then consume them OR give them away to people that will. I remember we had 2 eggs, a pint of milk and 4 yoghurts in our fridge, so we consumed the yoghurts and gave the rest nextdoor (yes i live NEXT to my parents)
2. ITS NOT GOING TO BE THAT EXPENSIVE EVERY TIME
Your first “Vegan shop” might appear expensive, but i promise you, that is not the case all the time. Thats just because its the first shop and you need new things which you might have never heard of before, which you’re only ever gonna “top up” bi-monthly if not more, as a alot of these things last ages (e.g. nutritional yeast). In all honesty you will end up saving money! (like i mention in my consequences of going vegan post which you can find HERE)
A. Save your glass sauce jars, sterilize them (or buy new ones) and put your basic seeds, nuts and pulses in these and attach labels to them. So that when one of them runs out its obvious to you, and it will act as a reminder you to re-stock! See a picture of my storage above
B. Below you will find a LIST of the basic staples . Laminate white paper, and write the list attached below with a whiteboard marker and stick it on your fridge! As soon as one of them runs out, put a line through it so you know what you’re missing. Once you re-stock that ingredient, re-write it cleanly. If you look at the picture i’ve included to the left, it will make more sense! Ive made it easier for you and written you a printable List for you, just click on –> Basic Staples List
Invest in a good FOOD PROCESSOR ! I cant tell you how much this saves my life. It can save you so much TIME: chopping, grating or shredding, but also you can make burgers/sauces/smoothies/energy balls/butters.. the list goes on! It might seem expensive but its one of those things that last years and you really do get your money’s worth! I have one which is in combination with a blender which is great for smoothies and soups
5. CRUCIAL STAPLES *
Whats going to prevent you from stressing out when making a meal, is making sure you have the right staples ALWAYS stocked up in your kitchen. Not only that, but in your kitchen you should ALWAYS have ingredients which will supply you with those vitamins and minerals that non-vegans always attack you about (Yeah you know ’em: Omegas, B12, Calcium blabla). Below i’ve writeen a list of ingredients that you should have stocked in your kitchen cupboard at all times, guaranteeing that almost always you’ll be able to whip up a quick/easy meal. Additionally, there are certain things that you must try to eat DAILY and so having these stocked up at all times, covers some of those nutritional needs. Let it be noted that I havent included ingredients that go in your fridge (apart from milk and cheese). It therefore does NOT include fresh produce (veggies/fruit) which i (and you should!) have ALOT of! The list below includes examples of what they offer nutritionally but also what to do with the ingredients, however i’ve also written a CONDENSED pdf list for you with just the CRUCIAL STAPLES which you can copy and stick on your fridge –> (Press Basic Staples List)
Pumpkin, Chia, Flax, Hemp (hulled) Seeds
<– This is where you’ll get alot of your Omegas/Protein from. Whip up a chia seed pudding for breakfast; sprinkle pumpkin seeds on salads, smoothies, soups; Sprinkle Flax & Hemp on porridge/breakfast cereal/ dairy-free yoghurt
–> I make sure i have either a tbsp of flax/chia seed and hemp every day
Black-eyed, kidney, lentils, chickpeas, soy mince
<– Where you’ll get alot of your Protein and Fibre from
–> I have both dried and canned in my kitchen for the days that i havent planned ahead and therefore havent managed to soak overnight. Soy mince is not a pulse, but it guarantees you can whip up a quick bolognese almost any day!
Oats, Quinoa, Brown Rice, Bulgur Wheat, Whole grain pasta (any) & Whole-grain flour
<– Where you’ll get alot of your Iron, Protein and Fibre from
–> Having these always in your kitchen means at any point you can make dinners such as Pasta with Veggies, a Vegetable Biryani, a “paella”, greek pourgouri or a Quinoa salad. Having oats guarantees porridge or overnight oats for breakfasts, and Whole-grain flour means you can bake things on a whim such as pizza base and breakfasts breads/muffins
Walnuts, Almonds, Brazil, Raw cashews
<– Where you’ll get alot of your protein, Omegas, Selenium, Calcium and necessary fats from
–> Having raw cashews around means you can make creamy sauces without cream (by soaking them). Walnuts & almonds are just a great addition to add into burgers, on their own, or to top salads with
Bananas, Berries, Edamame, Whole-grain pittas, Peas
<– Where you’ll get alot of antioxidants from, even out of season
–> You need to ALWAYS have frozen bananas in your freezer, so that it can act as the base for a smoothie at any time. Add any other seasonal fresh fruit to it and other delicious things and you’ve always got yourself a thick filling smoothie. Additionally you can whip up NICE CREAM anytime omg! Edamame beans need a two minute microwave blast and you’ve got yourself a protein-filled movie night snack. Pittas, well you can just whack just about anything in there and in a short time you have yourself a meal. Add Peas to anything to bulk up the veg content
Vegan cheese (Try and find the tastiest to you, i love any smoked type), Vegan Milk, Vegan butter (i use coconut butter), Canned Tomatoes and Nutritional Yeast.
—> This section is the only one which includes fridge ingredients. Its purely to make your cooking easier and sometimes tastier. The milk & butter guarantee a mashed potato or a white sauce, and the cheese.. Well what doesn’t get upgraded when you add melted vegan cheese to it?! Nutritional Yeast is a MUST if you’re vegan to give you B12 and also to make your own cheese (like in this ricotta recipe HERE! ). Chopped tomatoes mean you can make a herby tomato sauce, add to pasta with mushrooms and wham, you got a dinner!
I must re-iterate that these are by no means the only things i have in my plant-based kitchen. I am sharing with you the ingredients that i believe a plantbased kitchen must always have in order to guarantee a quick meal almost always and help you fulfill your nutritional needs! What else do you like to always have in your kitchen cupboard?! Let me know in the comments below and lets share the plantbased love guys!