Okay, here is a helpful list of staple items for beginners. You’ll find that over time, you need not be so dependent on processed analogue foods, but they help to make the transition easier when you’re new to vegan eating. 2.5 years in, I’m eating mostly raw at home, so I save veggie burgers and such for parties with friends.
Ginger – I keep it in a bag in the freezer. It never goes bad and you can just peel and use as needed.
Apples – for snacking and green smoothies
Carrots – Long fridge life and great for snacking or jazzing up soup or salad
Tempeh – but I usually keep it in the freezer until needed.
Yve’s vegan pepperoni – great as a snack or light dinner with sprouted grain bread, or tossed onto pizza.
Daiya shredded vegan cheese – I don’t use it often, so I keep it in the freezer.
Veganaise vegan mayo – If you’re into this condiment, this is the one to have.
Earth Balance – vegan butter. I don’t use it very often, but if you ever bake, you should have some sticks on hand. They make shortening in stick form as well.
Vegan Cream Cheese – If you need vegan cream cheese in your life, my recommendation is Follow Your Heart brand. It has the tang that the Tofutti one is lacking. Any herbed variety of any brand also works if it’s only bagel bound.
Greens – Spinach, Kale, and mixed bags of collards/mustard greens and such for green smoothies and adding to soups, couscous, pasta, etc.
Fruit – Mango, Pineapple, and I let bananas get ripe and freeze them in halves, for green smoothies
Veggie mixes – for stir frys or tofu scrambles, like bell peppers and whatever other combinations you enjoy.
Meat substitutes & Meals – Gardein Chick’n strips, Beefless tips and/or Vegetarian Plus pepper steaks are pretty good. Sometimes I’ll stock the freezer up with Amy’s meals or burritos, just in case. Also, vegan pizza.
Grains – short grain brown rice, quinoa, and sometimes millet, wild rice, etc.
Canned Legumes – I try to stay stocked on garbanzos, black, pinto, refried, baked beans, etc.
Dry Legumes – Lentils and Split peas are quick cooking, unlike their bean friends, so I skip the cans and make them myself.
Snacks – 365 baked woven wheats, organic tortilla chips, fig newmans
Dry Fruit – Raisins! I eat lots of raisins and use them in my smoothies for sweetness. Cranberries, figs, dates, prunes, apricots, etc.
Nutritional Yeast – I buy it from the bulk bin because it’s way cheaper. You can make non processed vegan cheese stuffs, sprinkle it on pizza, soups, and salads…
Vital Wheat Gluten – for making seitan, and things like TVP meat balls & loaves stick together, gives wheat breads more spring, and extra protein too.
Ground Flax Seed – I keep it in the fridge. This is your egg replacement for baking needs, and a source of those Omega fatty acids. Put some in your smoothie for extra fiber.
Whole Wheat Pastry Flour – Available in the bin section too. You can replace half of your regular flour with this, as opposed to regular whole wheat flour which makes things pretty dense. Experiment.
TVP! – Cooks up in the time it takes you to boil water, plus a couple minutes to soak in. This replaces commercial fake meat crumble, and it’s mad cheap. Buy organic to avoid frankenstein soybeans. It’s defatted soyflour, and what they use commercially to bulk up/cheapen ground beef.
Sprouted Grain Bread
Spices Okay, I do have A LOT of spices, but these are the ones I use most often
Salt – they now sell sea-salt in the familiar salt containers of your youth.
Pepper – fresh ground, regular and smoked
Grill Seasoning, great for fake beefy stuff
Cayenne & Crushed Red Pepper flakes, I like heat
Chili Powder – use as a base for your own taco seasoning
Garlic & Onion powder, for some things, better than fresh, or for when my crisper drawer is lookin’ empty
Thyme – great for making chicken-esque flavors
Turmeric – the thing that makes curry powder yellow. you can get buy with one or the other, if necessary.
Oregano, Basil, Parsley, Rosemary – I shake oregano onto my pizzas and into my red sauces
Liquid Smoke – you need this to make that TVP tasty
Vegan Worcestershire – no anchovies – adds beefyness to things
Bragg’s Liquid Aminos/ Shoyu/ Tamari (for gluten-free peeps) or good ole reduced-sodium soysauce
Hotsauce – sriracha & the regular kind
Ketchup & Mustard – Organic ketchup, tomatoes have thin lil skins. I like dijon mustard, but it never hurts to have options. Dijon is nice mixed with some agave for a “honey mustard” dipping sauce.
Agave syrup – Cheaper than maple syrup and delicious. I bought a ton of the raw kind on Amazon. I use it for green smoothies and it works great in mojitos!
Maple syrup – sugar alternative for baking. fairly good friends with french toast, if you do that ever. PS – if you do, you’ll have to buy some garbanzo/chickpea flour.