Friday, December 10, 2010

The Vegan Pantry

My last post got me thinking a little bit about the vegan pantry. I frequently reference in my dishes, that these are meals you can throw together from things you always have on hand, but I realized this isn’t necessarily true for everyone. A friend of mine recently told me that she’d love to make something from my blog, but doesn’t have all the strange ingredients. I like to think that my food is not strange; that it is the highest example of real and whole food. But, if you are coming to this blog from a meat, starch, and one vegetable kind of place, my plate might look a little foreign to you. To that end, I thought it might be helpful to inventory the essentials of a vegan kitchen. If you can make even a few small changes, the menus I present will be that much more accessible to you.

In the Refrigerator:
Earth Balance; Stop buying butter! You absolutely cannot tell the difference.
Unsweetened Almond Milk
Vanilla Almond Milk
Orange Juice; One 8 oz. glass is equal to Two servings of fruit.
Spinach; Microwave a huge pile of spinach and add a little salt for a quick serving of greens.
Greens (Collards, Kale, Dandelion Greens, Bok Choy, etc.)

In the Freezer:
Frozen Blueberries; I put them in my oatmeal every morning.
Trader Joe’s Thai Vegetable Gyoza; My favorite quick lunch with a huge pile of spinach and arugula on the side

In the Cupboard:
Canned Beans (Kidney, Black, Pinto, White, Cannelini, Garbanzo)
Canned Diced Tomatoes
Canned Vegetable Stock
Brown Rice; I actually have about 12 different grains in my cupboard, but brown rice goes well with everything.
Thick Cut Rolled Oats
Whole Wheat Spaghetti
Soy Sauce
Rice Vinegar
Sesame Oil
Olive Oil
Canola Oil

On the Counter:

Obviously I have a LOT more than these items in my fridge, freezer, and cabinets, but when I say that you can whip up a meal without leaving your house, I anticipate people having these things at home. You can make a satisfying and healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner with just these ingredients. With the addition of a very few things, like bell peppers, ground cumin, whole wheat pastry flour, and tofu, you could double the amount of possible dishes. My point is that eating well does take some planning, and a little organization, but it does not mean opening a four star restaurant out of your kitchen. With a very little effort on your part you can make an enormous difference to the planet, the animals, and above all yourself.

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