What’s worse than coming home hungry to an empty fridge? Realising your cupboard is equally as bare.
Rather than resorting to 5 packets of doritos for dinner or a desperate call to the local take-away, plan ahead and make sure you keep these healthy, versatile (and pretty tasty) ingredients to hand:
Add bulk to your dishes with a variety of grains that can be treated as a meal in themself. From rice and noodles to pasta and quinoa, grains make great fillers that will keep you feeling satisfied, particularly in their whole or ‘brown’ form. Oats make a particularly quick and wholesome breakfast option that can be jazzed up with fresh fruit and maple syrup.
Whether you prefer to store them tinned or dried, beans are arguably the best ingredient to keep on tap to add depth to dishes. Toss them in soups and salads, stir into stews or build into veggie burgers and pack in an extra punch of protein and fibre. Lentils, chickpeas and cannellini beans are a popular choice due to their versatility.
Nuts and Seeds
Aside from offering a healthy and satisfying snacking option, nuts and seeds make great additions to meals, sauces and desserts too. Whether you plan to turn your cashews into cheese, pine nuts into pesto or chia seeds into cookies, stocking up on a variety of nuts can transform a dish in an instant.
Spices and Dried Herbs
Bring your meals to life by keeping a range of spices and fresh dried herbs close by. Experiment with different flavours and you can totally upgrade your staple recipes. Add spice with cayenne and chilli powder, flavour with turmeric and cumin, and warmth with cinnamon and cardamom. Never underestimate the power of a good pinch of himalayan salt too!
Containing all nine essential amino acids and providing an impressive dose of energy-boosting B vitamins in a single serving, you can see why this ingredient is a must-have for vegans!
Delicious sprinkled over popcorn, pasta and potatoes, it’s subtle ‘cheesy’ flavour can transform sauces and give soups a unique umami taste.
If you don’t have the time to prepare stock from scratch, a good store-bought stock can help add depth and flavour to soups, stews and grains with minimal effort. A steaming mug of veggie broth with some packet noodles can often be a meal in itself.
For times when you can’t make it to the grocers, you can still bring the nutritional goodness of veggies to the table by adding diced tomatoes, sweetcorn or beetroot to your meal. Avoid tins that add salt or sugar to ensure you reap the full benefits of your veggies..
Satisfy your sweet tooth and jazz up your snacks and salads with an assortment of dried fruits in your cupboard. Dates, goji berries and coconut flakes are just some of our go to options, and you can even try drying out your own fruit!
Transform sauces and dressings with a spoonful of this rich and nutty sesame paste, which is a key ingredient in creating a deliciously creamy hummus too. ‘Unhulled’ tahini, made from the whole seed, is darker and more bitter than its ‘hulled’ alternative.
What’s not to love about this natural sweetener? Use in baking and creating dressings and glazes, or simply smother pancakes and waffles in its sticky and sweet glory!
From roasting vegetables, frying tofu or making delicious desserts, coconut oil is a versatile ingredient that’s high in healthy saturated fats. Not a fan of its coconut flavour? You can even shop for neutral tasting varieties, or simply swap to another oil such as avocado, canola or olive oil.
By keeping your cupboards well stocked with these long-lasting foods, you can rest easy knowing that you’ll never be caught short of a healthy and wholesome meal or snack.
Roisin is a regular contributor to Let’s Go Vegan Australia.