By Lisa Blackburn-Prout
Here’s a great and handy list of pantry staples/ingredients to cook with and have to hand for snacks or baking.
Plant based dairy alternatives:
There’s a great range of plant based dairy alternatives available in major supermarkets (Coles, Woolworths, Aldi and IGA). If you like a creamy milk opt for soy or oat.
- Plant milks in the fridge or long-life (soy, oat, almond, rice, coconut, macadamia and cashew).
- Vegan butter
- Vegan cheese (slices, hard cheese block, grated and spread/cream cheeses)
- Yoghurt (coconut, nut or soy)
- Vegan ice cream and gelato
- Vegan mayo and aoli
- Grains – rice, quinoa. spelt, bulgur, millet and freekeh.
- Tofu (firm and silken). Flavoured tofu is also great.
- Tempeh (made from fermented soy)
- Vegetable stock (cubes and liquid)
- Coconut milk/cream
- Tinned tomatoes
- Tinned beans and lentils – including black beans and chickpeas (full of nutrients and great for meals).
- Tinned baked beans
- Dried lentils – red, green and black
- Rice (brown, black, red, white, basmati)
- Vegemite (yes it’s vegan)
- Dried pasta (egg free)
- Noodles (egg free)
- Onions (red and white)
- Sweet potatoes
- Chickpea flour. – so versatile and great for making vegan omelettes/frittata.
- Rolled oats – great for breakfast and smoothies
- Bisto gravy granules – great for a quick gravy fix.
- Vegan kimchi or sauerkraut (great for a healthy gut)
- Seasoning herbs such as dried oregano, basil, parsley, coriander.
- Spices. – cumin, turmeric, garam masala, curry powder, smoked paprika.
- Liquid smoke. – awesome for adding a smoky flavour to food,
- Nut butters
- Beans and legumes
- Seeds: hemp, chia, flax, pumpkin
- Vegan meat products such as Plantein, Tofurky, Linda McCartney (only products marked vegan) Quorn (only products marked as vegan) Made with Plants, Unreal Co, Plant Asia (all Woolworths), Herb & Sons, The Alternative Meat Co, Beyond meat, Nature’s Kitchen, Next (all Coles), also Fry’s, Naturli, Gardein and Veggie Delights (available at both and IGA, Sam Coco’s and other stores).
- Seitan (made with vital wheat gluten, or tofu/beans/lentils).
- TVP (textured vegetable protein) easily available at Coles/Woolworths or health stores – so versatile and can be used in recipes calling for mince. There’s also slices and chunks available – great for stir-fries or casseroles,
- Protein powder (check that the brand is vegan and doesn’t contain whey).
Cooking and baking:
Use these simple replacements to help you switch out the animal products in your cupboard:
- Agar agar: vegan substitute for gelatine, available from many supermarkets and wholefood shops
- Nutritional yeast: a lovely cheesy flavour and great for vitamin B12. (Available at both Coles and Woolworths in the health food section)
- Vegetable stock: (cubes or powder). Low sodium options are available (Massels brand)
- Liquid vegetable stock – Coles have a vegan chicken stock or there’s Massels brand.
- Miso: a fermented paste that is great for adding umami flavour (there are different colours of miso – white and red – great for flavour and colouring).
- Oils: olive oil, rapeseed, sunflower, coconut, peanut,
- Egg replacements: flax seeds or chia seeds (1 tablespoon of seeds to 2 tablespoons of water for each egg required). Available in supermarkets and wholefood shops. There’s also Ogran egg replacer which is awesome.
- Chickpea flour – so versatile.
- Vital wheat gluten – if you’re making seitan (vegan meat).
- Honey replacements: agave nectar, maple syrup, date syrup, rice malt syrup.
- Blackstrap molasses: fantastic source of iron.
Fruits and veggies:
Remember to fill your diet with nutritious fruits and veg – eat the rainbow! Here’s some favourites:
- Kale: a vegan superfood! An excellent source of calcium and other vitamins and minerals. Great also served as chips for a snack.
- Capsicums: great raw dipped in hummus or in a stir fry
- Sweet potato: a fantastic source of vitamin A
- Mushrooms: get your B vitamins here!
- Spinach – a great source of iron.
- Dates – nature’s caramel and a great snack food.
- Pumpkin – a great source of fibre.
- Broccoli – an awesome veg to eat in soups, stews, stir-fries or even salads.
- Brussel sprouts – packed with nutrients.
- Tomatoes. -so versatile and good for you.
- Berries: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries – full of antioxidants.
- Avocados: a great source of healthy fats.
Regular intake of fruits and veggies are a great way to eat healthy and get a great supply of vitamins, antioxidants, and fibre.
For those people who are time poor or don’t enjoy cooking, good news, there are some great ready meals available at Coles and Woollies.
Look for the Made with Plants/Plantitude brand or Nature’s kitchen and Super Nature (check though as not all meals are vegan). There’s also a range of ready made pasta and gnocchi from Ipastai (also check though not all their products are vegan). There are even frozen pizzas made by Fry’s and also Four’n’ twenty frozen vegan pies, if you’re chasing something quick and hearty.
7-11 and Pie Face also now have vegan pies, sausage rolls and sandwiches, if you’re on the go and need something quick!
- Cliff bars
- Trail mix
- Vegan jerky
- Kale or veggie chips
- Potato chips
- Seaweed snacks
- Chopped veg and hummus
- Hummus on rice crackers
- Flavoured tofu
- Bliss/protein balls
- Veggie crackers
- Roasted chickpeas
- Vegan chocolate bars
- Dried fruit such as apricots and sultanas
- Vegan yoghurt and fruit.
Remember, grocery shopping may seem a little daunting at first, but there are great resources and apps to help. Fussy vegan (app) is great and has a scanner and search option if you’re not sure if the product is vegan, there’s also the veg safe (app) where you can check additives and E numbers. You can also search “accidentally vegan” and there are lots of groups on Facebook where you can learn about new vegan products and specials.
The main thing to remember is, you’re not alone, you have support. Ask questions and allow a little more time at first if you need to read labels, so you can buy without feeling stressed.