10 (secret) ingredients you should have in your pantry
The first step is always the hardest – to make it at least a little easier for you if you want to switch to a vegan diet, we've written a few articles on the basics. They are about how to get the nutrients you need when being vegan, non-vegan ingredients to look out for, and vegan pantry essentials. Find all our articles here.
Today we want to take a look into our and your pantry. It's often said that eating vegan also means that you need the biggest pantry in the world - and of course that's not true.
But we also can't deny that it is true that we also use ingredients that are not available in every supermarket and are sometimes also a bit pricey. That still doesn't mean that you need to buy all crazy ingredients that excist. Today we're going to show you our top 10 ingredients that made vegan cooking and baking easier and better.
This is still not a list for stocking your first pantry. We're pretty sure you know that spices, grains, dried beans etc. are important, so this list is more about the „secret“ ingredients that can make the difference.
Kala Namak* is an Indian type of rock salt known for its sulfur compunds that make it smell like (some even say rotten) egg. It is THE secret ingredient when it comes to vegan egg-like recipes. You can get it at organic stores, online and even at some supermarkets. No, you don't necessary need this salt but YES, it makes the difference - for example in this recipe for vegan egg salat.
Get the recipe: Vegan egg salad
From chickpea to arrowroot flour
Flour is of course such a versatile ingredient but escpecially if you're interested in gluten-free cooking and baking or want to add some more flavor or even colour, there are tons of (sometimes very pricey) types of flour. Chickpea* and arrowroot flour or carob or guar gum are good binding agents. Soy flour can be used as an egg substitute.
If you've been looking for recipes on our blog before, you might have come across jackfruit* already. The giant tropical fruit is best and easily get canned and has a texture that resembles meat which is why we love to use it as a subsitute. So it's a good idea to always have a can of green (this is important, the yellow one is sweet) jackfruit at home.
Get the recipe: Jackfruit fricassee with rice
Nutritional yeast* is the seasoning you should add whenever you're looking for a savory umami flavor. You can already get them in most supermarkets where we often find them near the vegetable broth section. Even though it says yeast, it's actual inactivated yeast that you shouldn't use for baking, but stir into sauces, soups and more or just sprinkle it on top of a finished dish.
Maybe you know the joke: How do you recognize a vegan? He will tell you about it. Funny, funny, but the answer should rather be: because he has soaked cashew nuts* in the kitchen. But then it wouldn't be a joke anymore, alright. Cashew nuts have the right amount of fat and are still subtle in taste, so they are a good choice to cook creamy sauces and cheese-li dishes. You only need to soeak them until they are soft enough.
Get the recipe: Vegan Mac'n'Cheese
Flax seeds* might look inconspicuous but they do have superpowers and are actually a superfood. They help your immune system, memory, skin, hair, digestion and much more. Cool. BUT you can also mix ground flax seeds with water and use it as a vegan egg substitute.
Here are more ideas how to replace eggs.
Liquid Smoke* sounds like we're getting back to chemistry lessons at school, but it's nothing but liquid smoke flavor that adds a nice deeper smoky taste to your food. You'll only need a few drops for this, because otherwise your kitchen will smell smoky after days and your food will taste like nothing but smoke. But we love to use it as a special flavor.
Get the recipe: Vegan Bacon Donuts
You've probably already eaten miso soup, but this is not the only dish for miso* , a soybean paste full of umami flavor. You can get it in three varieties often in Asian supermarkets, the darker the saltier. There's white, mild miso, then red more bitter-salty miso and a mixture of both. You can always use it to add a deeper taste.
You should always have a can of chickpeas* at home because you can actually use it twice! Use the chickpeas to spice them up and roast them in the oven or in a frying pan, then add them to your salad. But never toss away the liquid because this (called Aqua Faba) is the best substitute for egg whites. Beat it with confectioner's sugar and some salt for approx. 10 minutes until it's so fluffy and stiff that you can turn the bowl upside-down. Vegan mousse might be your next favorite dessert afterwards.
Get the recipe: Vegan gingerbread mousse
There are 38483920483 alternatives to white sugar, but this is our most favorite when it comes to flavor. Coconut sugar* adds a slightly caramel flavor to your dishes and doesn't take like coconut at all. It dissolves more slowly than white sugar, so you'll need to stir a bit more, but then you can enjoy vegan caramel that Isa could bath it.
Get the recipe: Vegan Caramel