Stocking a Vegan Kitchen
Crushed canned tomatoes can make a soup or dish too sweet and thick; diced or whole tomatoes makes a lighter, thinner broth taste more like fresh tomatoes. Fire-roasted tomatoes can provide added depth to many soups and chilies.
Tomato paste that comes in a tube must be the best invention ever. Find it in the pasta section of the grocery store and keep it in your refrigerator for use a little at a time.
A great pasta sauce for everyday meals is 365 No-Fat Brand® from Whole Foods®. It’s a simple marinara sauce made without any oil. Add capers, more garlic, olives or red pepper flakes to change the flavor for what you need. Muir Glen® also makes a no-oil mushroom marinara that is tasty, too.
RO*TEL® is a tomato and pepper blend when a little zip is needed in a dish. It comes in mild and spicy.
Canned beans work well for soups and other dishes. I usually buy Eden Organic brand, which is salt free and helps control the amount of salt in my dishes.
Excellent for hummus, soups, sauces and dips, it is a good idea to always have dried and canned chickpeas on hand.
Also known as “turtle beans,” black beans are known for their distinctive flavor and my personal favorite.
WHITE BEANS (NAVY)
A small, white, light-flavored bean perfect for baked beans. When cooked, they have a nice thick sauce that is really tasty.
SMALL RED BEANS
Often called Mexican red beans, these are also one of my favorites, as they tend to be milder than kidney beans.
A brown, mild bean that can be used in endless ways.
Dried Beans & Peas
Always stay well stocked when it comes to dried beans and peas because they can be used for meals on a weekly basis. Some favorites include: Black Beans, Navy or white beans, Pinto beans, Lentils, Split peas, Garbanzo beans, Large Lima beans and Red beans. Be on the lookout for new varieties.
LONG GRAIN BROWN RICE
This is a favorite and can be found in recipes throughout this book. White rice may suit some recipes better, so both are always available in my pantry.
The most fragrant rice. Good for curries and pilafs.
A brown rice that is grown in Texas and Arkansas.
From Thailand, jasmine rice is a floral rice with a silky texture.
A short grain rice that is starchy and can absorb lots of liquid. Good for risottos.
Surprisingly, a wild grass not a grain. For faster cooking, it’s better soaked overnight to soften and then cooked like regular rice the next day.
A small grain that is high in protein but free of gluten. Can easily be used as a substitute for rice or any grain. Very good but don’t overcook.
Mild and chewy. It is a good change from rice. Since the outer husk has been removed it is a little less nutritious than regular barley but much faster cooking.
A small grain and the taste is similar to cornmeal. It can be used as a substitute to couscous.
BULGUR WHEAT or CRACKED WHEAT
Popular in tabbouleh. Can be used in chili to add a heavier texture. Soak in water until swollen and fluffy or just simmer until fluffy unless it is precooked.
Really a tiny pasta made from semolina, not a grain. It has a moist, nutty flavor and is easy and fast to cook.
A popular brand like Veganaise® can be used in many things like biscuits to make them light and fluffy. Another brand, Wildwood Garlic Aioli®, can add zest to a plain sandwich.
Many varieties are available to suit various tastes; I tend to prefer French Nicoise® and Greek Kalamata®.
Dijon and yellow mustards have different textures and flavors and each has its uses. Make certain that sugar is not listed as an ingredient or that the label states that the mustard is vegan.
A tangy addition to many dishes, from pasta sauces to roasted potatoes. I love the salty, briny flavor.
I try to replace white sugar as much as possible with organic cane sugars, such as beet or cane sugar, raw sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, agave nectar, molasses, barley malt and brown rice syrup. A concern for vegans in using refined white sugar is the way some products are processed with animal bones.
A natural sweetener that comes from the agave cactus. It is low in sucrose and has a low glycemic index. It has slightly more calories than sugar by volume but is 25% sweeter, so you use less. It can be used in many desserts and in oatmeal. I use the brand Madhava.
A low sucrose sweetener that comes from whole barley.
BROWN RICE SYRUP
As the name implies, this is a natural sweetener made from fermented brown rice.
Really just refined sugar with a little bit of molasses added back. Once again, check your brands to address concerns in processing.
Great for baking and for pancakes.
A thick robust-tasting syrup produced during the refining of sugarcane or sorhum, varying from light
CANE and EVAPORATED CANE SUGAR
Best for baking. Vegan refined cane sugar is available at natural food stores. Although a little less sweet, evaporated sugar is similar to white sugar with less processing.
CONFECTIONERS’ SUGAR or POWDERED SUGAR
A combination of ground sugar and cornstarch useful for making icing. Be certain your brand is vegan.
Powdered extract from the stevia plant, stevia is a zero-calorie sugar substitute. It is much sweeter than sugar, but can be safely used in cooking. Some brands can have an aftertaste but many do not. One-half of a cup of sugar equals 3½ tablespoons of stevia.
A coarse, unrefined sugar sprinkled on cookies or cupcakes for a sweet crunch.