A vegan pantry

What do vegans eat? Kale? It’s just raw kale, isn’t it? Or like… Smoothies.. made of kale?

I see why you would think that, Friend. But actually, we eat a lot of things. Tasty things. Filling things. Colorful things! Also sometimes kale. For example, here are some things that are in my pantry right now:

Spices. Question: What do lentils taste like? Answer: Whatever spices you cook them with!! Cook them with cumin and chili powder, and they taste like taco filling. Cook them with fennel, oregano, garlic, and marjoram, and they taste like meatballs. You get the idea. I have all the usual American spice rack spices in my pantry, plus some less common ones: Chinese five spice blend, Ethiopian berbere spice blend, tomato powder (used to make broth taste tomato-y), smoked sea salt, liquid smoke, and tamarind powder (adds a sour flavor to Asian sauces). I also have a small jar of safron for special occasions. My spice collection took me a while to build up. I bought and tried new ones here and there. But once you build up your collection of spices, you can make anything taste like anything! It allows me to use the same few ingredients in many dishes throughout the week.

Dried beans and legumes. These are cheaper to buy and less bulky to store than canned beans. Living in a tiny apartment, space is important. I keep several kinds of beans and lentils on hand at any given time. Usually black beans, pinto beans, white beans, red beans, brown lentils, red lentils, and green and yellow split peas. This gives me a lot of flexibility with meal planning. When they start to run low, I refill the canisters. This gives me a lot of bang for my grocery buck! P.S., if you cook them and then rinse them, their “musical” properties are largely neutralized.

Rice, grains, and pasta. I keep long grain white and brown rice and white or brown basmati rice. I don’t really enjoy quinoa personally, but I usually have some. Rolled oats are also helpful. I also usually have one kind of long pasta (like spaghetti) and one kind of short pasta (bowties or rotini) on hand. Also, wheat flour, Bisquick (which is vegan), and cornmeal mix for cornbread.

Specialty (vegan) ingredients. Nutritional yeast is a byproduct of beer brewing which tastes like cheese, looks like fish food, works like flour, and is packed with B vitamins. I use it in lots of recipes. Vital wheat gluten flour is exactly what it sounds like: flour with extremely high gluten content. It is used in making lots of meat substitutes.

With these ingredients on hand all the time, all I really have to buy week to week is vegetables and fruits. It is easy to make healthy, filling, and interesting meals with what I have in the pantry.