8 Ways to Vegan Power Your Fridge
I love housework almost as much as I love subzero temperatures. Which is to say, not so much.
This natural distaste for spending any time tidying (instead of romping in big earrings and rain slickers across an English countryside, you know) transfers over to Cheeky Kitchen. I always worry that I’ll bore you when I set about the work of chores.
We want recipes! We want food! Show us pictures with sprinkles!
You and me, baby.
However, the process of switching from a mainstream Western diet to that of a plant-based, family-friendly pantry and dinner menu does require a bit of maintenance. We can’t just have all fun and fluff, can we?
Of course we can. But that’s beside the point.
As I was preparing our kitchen to become a mostly vegan kitchen, one in which children would still gather and be fed addictable after-school snacks, I furiously scribbled down lists of new ingredients, items, and food that we’d need to hertofore and foreafter store in la casa.
To save you from having to jot a similar list down, I wanted to share a few of these items that made our transition to vegan eating significantly easier than it would have been with an understocked, underprepared pantry.
Following you will find 8 easy-to-obtain ingredients which I believer are the first step to transitioning your home to a less-animal and more-planty protein diet. The total cost for this entire list will ring you about $40, but keep in mind they will last you a while, too.
As the weeks move on, I’ll continue to offer up a few pantry list ideas. Changing the way you cook and the way you eat can seem daunting, but doing it a little at a time is actually quite doable. This weeks list will serve up substitutes for condiments you’re already using, and fill your fridge with a few fast snacks that will keep you on track when the hunger pangs hit. In my experience, there’s not a faster way to go back to your old habits than to stare blankly into a pantry full of stuff you don’t like. Who wouldn’t reach for a donut or box of crackers or handful of steak when such a situation arises?
So, the first step to packing your Frigidaire with some serious veganoploy is to start simple, get snacks, and keep it well stocked with the good stuff.
Here is the good stuff…
Michael Pollan, in his book “Food Rules,” sings praises to butter. I grew up with a grandma who always said “butter is better than margarine,” and in many cases, I believe it is. However, when you’re working on cutting animal-based fats from your diet, the quickest way to get a head start is to keep rounds of Earth Balance butter in your fridge. Available at most grocery and health food stores, Earth Balance Butter Spread with Olive Oil (my fave flavor) is made with expeller-pressed oils, is free of trans fats, and contains no artificial ingredients. It’s a great way to swap a little vegan into your diet without feeling like you’re giving up a thing.
Olive Oil spray isn’t just a great way to prep your pans for vegan baking, it’s also a great way to grill toast, coat veggies for roasting, and lightly sauce pasta without overdoing the fats.
Vegenaise is vegan mayonnaise for big ol’ wimps. No matter who in your family swears that they will never, ever, EVER eat vegan food has got another thing coming. This brand can be found in the refrigerated section of Whole Foods, and swaps right in for regular, egg-headed mayonnaise.
Silk soymilk–the kind in the carton, not the sort sitting on the shelf–is the first best way to wean your family off of cow’s milk. It tastes like candy, swaps in beautifully for regular milk on cereal, and pairs perfectly with a peanut butter sandwich or Homemade Vegan Blondies. One word of caution, I had a reader contact me a few weeks ago, mentioning some disconcerting news about the ingredients in Silk. And tonight, while reading Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Diet, she also mentioned a preference for other plant-based milk like rice or almond milk. Apparently, her research shows a fairly hefty amount of processing involved in commercial soy milk production that you won’t find with other nut or rice-based milks.
Still, I think Silk is the ideal first step away from cow’s milk, and into the direction of vegan-worthy glasses of the white stuff.
So, let’s talk snacks. You need them. They need you. If you don’t have them, it’s easy to grab a candy bar or bag of chips. Grabbing such junk food not only throws off your nutritional intake for the day, it can also cause a massive spike in cravings, bloating, and general crabbiness. No, I am not talking out of experience because I ate a full bag of Cadbury Easter Eggs this weekend.
Yes I am.
To stave off those hunger pains in a healthy, plant-based protein way, I like keeping raw almond butter on hand. If raw is too much for you, go with the roasted almond butter and don’t fight the feeling any longer. Almond butter is typically more expensive than peanut butter, but it’s also generally lower in sugar and higher in rich, filling flavor. We keep it on hand for speedy snacks–whether slathered onto a slice of bread with all-fruit jam, or served straight off a spoon, it’s a perfect ingredient to have on hand for vegan-happy noshing.
You can make homemade hummus, but life can get so overwhelming sometimes. Which is why I try to keep at least two flavors of hummus in my fridge at all times. It’s high-protein, creamylicious, grab-and-go goodness makes a splendid vegan lunch (when slathered on a pita, carrot sticks, or bell pepper slices) or midnight snack.
If you haven’t yet hopped on board the Ezekiel train, it’s high time you found this beautiful brand. The company started with a basic Ezekiel 4:9 bread, which was formed from the ingredients recorded in a verse of the Bible. Upon combining the ingredients, it was discovered that the final bread created a complete protein. I love the bread, but when I happened upon their gorgeous Ezekiel pita pockets, I was a sold woman. In Colorado, I find them in the refrigerated section at Whole Foods. They cost less than $2 and make a perfect canvas for almond butter and jelly, hummus, or dinner soup dipping. We always keep several bags on hand to make healthy snacking thatmucheasier.
Basic Vegan Shopping List #1
Starters and snacks. Here are a few first-time vegan foods to begin stocking in your pantry and fridge. Swapping them in for your regular condiments and snacks can make a huge difference in your diet, and prepare you family for a few new foods which support a plant-based diet.
-Earth Balance Butter with Olive Oil
-Organic Nonstick Olive Oil Spray
-Silk Soymilk, original
-Raw Almond Butter
-All-fruit, No-Sugar Jam
-Ezekiel 4:9 Pita Pockets