Everything You Need In Your Vegan Kitchen
No matter your reason for going vegan, whether it’s for health reasons or ethical reasons, it’s a major lifestyle change that impacts multiple areas of your life. That said, a vegan diet doesn’t mean giving up the ability to enjoy food. It’s actually the opposite!
Going vegan means creating and exploring new ways to eat and enjoy plant-based meals. To do that, you’ll want a well-stocked pantry. Having the right kitchen tools and pantry staples makes your kitchen more efficient and allow you to create the most delicious vegan meals in your own home.
If you’re wondering what you need for a well-stocked vegan kitchen, look no further, I’ve compiled a list of everything you’ll want to have on hand.
Everything You Need In Your Vegan Kitchen
Vegan Kitchen Essentials
A good knife is arguably the most important tool in any kitchen. You really only need one, so there’s no need to splurge on a knife set. Instead, invest in a single, high-quality chef’s knife. You want one that is about eight inches long so that you can easily cut large fruits and vegetables.
Did you know that a dull knife is actually more dangerous than a sharp one? That’s because a dull blade needs more pressure to cut, making it more likely that the knife will slip out of place.
For the purpose of kitchen safety, and to make your food preparation more efficient, keep a knife sharpener on hand and use it frequently.
Rather than relying on multiple cutting boards of various sizes, invest in a single, large or extra-large cutting board. A large cutting board provides plenty of room to prep several ingredients or chop bigger things.
A reliable can opener is a must-have, because, as a vegan, you’re probably going to need to open a lot of canned goods, like beans, tomatoes, sauces, and more.
There are plenty of reasons to have a good pair of scissors on hand. You can use them for any number of tasks, from opening packages of food, to quickly chopping fresh herbs.
It’s hard to imagine putting together a homemade sauce, marinade, or dressing without a good-quality whisk. I often use this super helpful kitchen tool to mix batter for baked goods as well.
Spatulas are surprisingly helpful for stirring ingredients because they can scrape every bit off the side of the mixing bowl. They are also super useful for many other tasks, such as tossing tofu in a marinade or mixing ingredients into a pasta salad.
Measuring cups and spoons are important for accurately measuring ingredients, especially when baking. Even just a slight change in the amount of an ingredient used can completely throw off a recipe, so you’ll want to have these on hand.
A good set of mixing bowls is also important for baking. This set is great because it comes in so many different sizes that you’re sure to have a size that will work when you need it.
Even with a top-quality blender, you’ll still want to have a separate food processor. A food processor is great for making homemade crusts, hummus, veggie burgers, vegan cheeses, dips, and so much more. I couldn’t live without my food processor.
A blender is good for so much more than just smoothies, which is why I recommend investing in a good one. Blenders are super helpful for making sauces, desserts, vegan cheeses, soups, dips, and more.
There’s just something fun and fascinating about a spiralizer. Watching your zucchini, squash, or sweet potatoes transform into noodles never gets old. To streamline the process and make it a lot easier, you’ll want to purchase a good quality one. Soon enough, you’ll be wondering how you ever lived without it.
A good set of pots and pans is another kitchen essential that is worth investing in. Stainless steel pans tend to last longer than other types of pans. This top-rated set of Cuisinart can also be used in the oven since the handles are also made of stainless steel.
The Instant Pot has become one of the most popular kitchen gadgets in the last few years. It’s no wonder, given that it combines seven different kitchen appliances, including a slow cooker, in one to not only save you time in the kitchen but make cooking delicious meals easier.
You can press a block of tofu the old-school way, by wrapping it in a tea towel then putting several heavy items on top. Or, you can get yourself a tofu press, which is what I recommend if you press tofu frequently enough.
A large stock pot is especially useful if you tend to make a lot of soups, stews, and broth. All of which, by the way, are great healing foods for autoimmune diseases. It’s larger than a traditional one and isn’t included in most pots and pans sets, so you’ll want to make sure to purchase one separately.
There are countless things you can do with a set of baking pans, including roasting vegetables, and baking muffins. This set is especially helpful because it has heatproof silicone handles on each side of the pan.
Whether you’re saving leftovers or storing ingredients until you’re ready to use them, you’re going to want to have plenty of containers on hand. Glass storage containers are the most eco-friendly option because they can be used over and over. Plus, they won’t stain as some plastic containers do.
It never ceases to amaze me how much of a difference the zest of a lemon or lime can make. A zester isn’t necessarily an absolute must-have, but it’s super handy when it comes to making the most delicious, flavorful vegan meals.
Despite being used most often for cleaning lettuce, a vegetable spinner is a versatile kitchen gadget that you’ll be glad you have in your kitchen. You can use it to wash just about any vegetable, which will then keep them fresher for longer.
There’s nothing quite like homemade guacamole made in a mortar and pestle. But a good mortar and pestle are great for so much more than just making dips. You can use it to crush and grind herbs as well as to make your own nut butter.
Vegan Kitchen Staples
Beans And Legumes
Beans and legumes are the main sources of protein in a vegan diet. They are inexpensive, especially when you purchase dry beans, and impressively versatile. Legumes are loaded with essential micronutrients and phytochemicals that your body craves.
You can create many high protein, low fat meals with legumes. Hummus is one of the easiest ways to incorporate legumes into your diet, but you can also use them in veggie burgers, wraps, soups, pasta dishes, and more.
Whole grains are good sources of fiber and protein. They are included in many delicious vegan recipes. I only eat gluten free grains, but there are plenty of great options that function as both fillers and main ingredients. Some of my favorite gluten-free grains include quinoa, wild rice, and gluten-free oats.
This Fall Harvest Salad with Quinoa and Butternut Squash is one of my favorite ways to eat quinoa. It’s a delicious and super healthy recipe that can be enjoyed for lunch or dinner.
One of the biggest misconceptions about the gluten-free diet is that it doesn’t include pasta. There are a surprising number of gluten-free, vegan pasta options, like rice noodles, quinoa pasta, brown rice pasta, and 100% soba noodles. Other vegan pastas that aren’t gluten-free include whole wheat pasta and spelt pasta.
Nuts And Seeds
Nuts and seeds make great vegan snacks and meal toppers. There are so many things you can make with them, including tahini, nut butters, and cashew ricotta cheese. It’s a good idea to keep an assortment of nuts and seeds on hand for whenever you might need them or are looking for a little something to munch on.
Herbs And Spices
Herbs and spices are what give your dish the most flavor. I like to keep a bunch on hand, even if I tend to use the same ones over and over. You can play around with different spices to see how it changes the flavor profile of old recipes. Some recipes are better with fresh herbs like parsley, basil, and cilantro. I buy fresh herbs when I can, but keep dried versions of them for when I can’t.
Like nuts and seeds, dried fruits also make good snacks and toppers. I like to keep a good amount of them on hand as well.
You can mix dried fruit with nuts and seeds to make a super healthy, vegan-friendly trail mix. Dried mango slices make the perfect snack.
I don’t usually use a lot of oil when I cook, but I keep a few in my pantry just in case a certain recipe calls for it. I like to use coconut oil when I bake. Sesame oil is great for Asian dishes and stir-fries. Olive oil is the best, in my opinion, for cooking vegetables, and extra-virgin olive oil is the one I use the most in dressings (together with apple cider vinegar, of course).
Flour is an essential kitchen item if you enjoy baking. We love waffles on the weekend in my house, and although I often use a baking mix to save time, I always have gluten-free flour on hand in case I’m inspired to make some from scratch.
Actually, even if you don’t do a lot of baking, it’s a good idea to keep some in your pantry in case you need it for thickening a gravy or sauce. If you do like to bake, you should consider keeping a few different types of flour on hand. All-purpose gluten-free flour and almond flour are great gluten-free flours that can be used in a ton of recipes. Whole wheat flour, spelt flour, and buckwheat flour aren’t gluten-free, but they are also used in many vegan recipes.
Whether you drink it straight from a glass, use it in a recipe, or pour it into a bowl with cereal, there are still plenty of uses for milk, even for vegans. The most common vegan milks are almond milk, cashew milk, and coconut milk. You may need to conduct your own taste test to decide which milk will work best for you, but rest assured they still provide the creaminess and nutritional value you’re looking for.
Miso is another vegan essential because of its ability to add a powerful punch of flavor to any dish you use it in. It’s a common ingredient in many vegan recipes, so be sure to keep some on hand (or in your fridge).
Tofu is a staple in many vegan diets because it’s high in protein and super delicious. It’s also incredibly versatile. You can use it in place of scrambled eggs, to make cheesecake, or even as a meat alternative in savory dishes.
Despite sounding like something you need to make homemade bread, nutritional yeast is actually one of the most popular vegan pantry staples in vegan cooking. Nutritional yeast has a cheesy, nutty flavor that works surprisingly well in a variety of dishes. Many brands are fortified with B vitamins, including vitamin B12, which is an essential nutrient that isn’t naturally found in a vegan diet.
Going vegan doesn’t mean having to give up delicious, sweet desserts. There are plenty of natural sweeteners that add another level of flavor and plenty of sweetness to shakes, smoothies, desserts, and more.
Pure maple syrup is a super versatile sweetener. Dates are great for adding sweetness to a smoothie. Monk fruit sweetener is a fantastic option if you’re watching your sugar consumption.
Condiments And Butters
A well-stocked vegan kitchen will have plenty of condiments and butters. They can be used in so many different ways, including as dressings, dips, spreads, and sauces.
It’s worth saying that when it comes to most of these butters and condiments, a little bit goes a long way. Nut butter, coconut butter, and vegan butter are good butters to keep on hand.
Popular vegan condiments include tahini, ketchup, mustard, sriracha, coconut aminos, tamari, and chili paste.
What kitchen items and vegan ingredients are must-haves for you?
Did you spot one of your favorites on this list? Do you have a favorite that I didn’t mention? I’d love to hear from you. Then, head on over to the blog to discover some of my favorite vegan recipes, and to read more about my vegan lifestyle.