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Posted on January 3, 2019
No matter where you’re at on your plant-based journey, rest assured, it’s a journey. Hardly anyone makes a complete change overnight. And even if you could, wouldn’t you still need time to stock your pantry with delicious and nutritious essentials for everyday meals, snacks and get-togethers?
Let’s assume you’re not starting from scratch and you already have the basics—salt, pepper, olive oil, favorite spices and go-to condiments. What’s next? We’ve got you covered with plant-based shreds and slices, and if you have Daiya pizza or burritos in the freezer, you’re ready for cheezy bliss even on busy weeknights. But let’s take a flavor-first approach to rounding out your plant-based pantry with an emphasis on two key points, versatility and nutrition.
Whether you’re keeping canned or dried black beans on hand, these legume all-stars will take you from Cuban Black Soup to easy stir-fries. And you’re getting 15 grams of protein and 15 grams of fiber per cooked cup. Enchiladas are just 30 minutes away.
Rivaling black beans for their versatility are chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans. Again, you can find them canned or dried. You can roast them in the oven, make hummus or toss in a salad with our Mozzarella Style Cutting Board Shreds. Yum!
Lentils are a world all to themselves, possibly because so many global cuisines use them as building blocks in classic meals. Red lentils are fast cooking and add a pleasing color to any meal, but small French green lentils are a great option, too.
We’re leaving this one open-ended since there are tens of thousands of varieties of cultivated rice. Your local grocer probably has two dozen kinds of rice available. Grilled Veggie Bowl anyone?
Trick question—is quinoa a grain? No Googling. This delicious grain stand-in is actually a fruit, and it’s loaded with nutrition. It’s a complete protein (8 grams per cup) with all nine essential amino acids, and it’s high in fiber, too (5 grams per cup).
The good news for pasta lovers today is the increase in the gluten-free selection nearly all grocers carry. There’s actually pasta made from everything on the list above, from black beans to quinoa. So, stock up and be ready for pasta perfection.
Other age-old soy products are tempeh and miso, and though some people avoid soy for food allergy reasons, tofu in its many different forms does allow nearly infinite flexibility for cooking. Different degrees of firmness provide different textures.
Similar to soy, nuts pose allergic risks for some people. Nutritionally, they’re a good source of protein, fiber and beneficial fats. Other similar pantry possibilities are nutlike seeds such as sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and pepitas.
One seed deserves special mention, and that’s flax. Small but mighty, flax is packed with fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, and ground flax can be combined with water for a convenient plant-based egg substitute (1 Tbsp ground flax + 3 Tbsp water = 1 egg).
We’ll end where we began, with flavor. A big reason so many people love plant-based living is the depth and variety of flavors available in everyday cooking. But maybe you don’t have time to simmer a veggie soup stock for Creamy Butternut Squash Soup. Voilà—bouillon cubes to the rescue. Dinner is served.
What will your next amazing plant-based culinary creation be? Take a gander in the pantry, and review the refrigerator. Between what you have on hand and an archive of delicious recipes at your fingertips, your next meal is going to take you even further on your plant-based journey.
December 20, 2016