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Vegan Kitchen Essentials

No vegan kitchen would be complete without these helpful items:

• Fresh fruits and vegetables: Don’t be afraid to try new ones.

• Soy, rice, or nut milk: Both are great for sauces and salad dressings.

• Coconut milk and coconut cream: The higher fat content is great for sorbets, ice creams, and baking.

• Soy sauce and tamari: These are great as a basic sauce ingredient.

• Vegetarian stock: There is a wide variety of faux-chicken stocks and vegetable stocks available.

• Nonhydrogenated margarine: Good brands to look for are Earth Balance and Soy Garden.

• High-quality oils: extra-virgin olive oil, safflower oil, canola oil, and coconut oil

• Nondairy sour cream: try Tofutti brand

• Maple syrup: an alternative to sugar for baking and for sauces

• Agave or brown rice syrup: can be used in place of honey in recipes

• Florida Crystals: unprocessed vegan sugar that can be used instead of refined sugar in any recipe

• Nutritional yeast: has a rich, nutty flavor and makes delicious cheesy sauces; can also be used in breading, dressings, and soups as well as on pasta

• Agar-agar: creates delicious vegan Jell-O, pudding, and jelly

• Arrowroot and/or cornstarch: great as a thickening agent in soups, stews, and sauces.

• Canned tomato sauce: always useful in preparing last-minute meal

• Staples: beans, rice, frozen veggies, and garlic

• Soy mayonnaise: Use in place of traditional mayonnaise in pasta and potato salads, sandwich spreads, and sauces; try Nayonaise or Vegenaise brands.

• A blender

• A food processor

• A chef’s knife: It has a rigid blade with a slight curve that facilitates the rocking motion most chefs use in chopping and is perfect for slicing, dicing, and chopping.

• Good cookbooks: Check out the fabulous selection of vegan cookbooks at

Don’t forget to check out our vegan shopping guide and delicious recipes.

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  • Jian says:

    The best solution when it comes to finding vegetarian/vegan recipes is to learn on your own.

    When you’re in a non-Euro-centric country and can’t find expensive brand names, look over stuff that you can buy locally! For example, I’m half Chinese. You’d be surprised how much there is that’s veg friendly if you just looked. Tofu can be bought for much cheaper in Chinatown than anything that is promoted by PETA.

    It’s much smarter to just learn what to look for and modify traditional recipes. I took my grandma’s spring roll recipe and barely had to change it to make it vegan and it still tastes great!

  • Al says:

    Hello to Argentina and Nigeria,

    Congratulations on your choices to go meat-free! Any type of vegetable, legume, pulse (i.e. beans/lentils/etc.) with a starch will get you started. I am assuming that you can’t find tofu, tempeh, etc. where you are, but you can make seitan from scratch with whole wheat flour. There are numerous recipes online. You can also make veggie versions of your favourite foods by substituting the meat with other items. For example, use lentils instead of ground beef in sauces, soups, or stews.

    I hope this helps.

  • Rb says:

    To ify in Nigeria: I would begin by itemizing all the vegetables, fruit and grains that are available in your area and research their nutritional value also taking note of their flavour characteristics. That way you can begin experimenting with foods and dishes that will provide you with the proteins, vitamins and minerals you need. You could also simply remove the meat from recipes that call for it, substituting vegetable broths and sauces where meat-derived additions were suggested as well as using vegetables to make up for the texture and volume of meats.

  • Laura says:

    Hi Ify,

    I don’t know what vegetables there are in Nigeria (although I imagine the potato is fairly universal) but just use what you can. Try and make dishes one quarter beans, one quarter grain and half vegetables. I think the key is in experimenting, and trying differnt things together (believe me, i’ve had some disasters, but i’ve also created some good stuff!).
    Good luck,


    Hi Alexia,
    Have a look at (i also live outside of US). I haven’t signed up yet, but it seems a great way to get American vegan stores to send things internationally.

  • Sandy says:

    although I am not a total vegan, just vegetarian, I find using eggs, vegetables that are in your area, cheeses, beans of any type (great for a thick hardy soup [use potato to thicken soup, rice,and whatever fruit is available is a good substitute for meat/chicken/fish/pork. I love salads and put everything in them: all types of lettuce or leafy vegetables, nuts, fruit slices, beans and grated cheese with whatever salad dressing you prefer. Tasty, serve with some bread if desired. At this time everything seems so jumbled, but I take a recipe that has meat in it, say one of your recipes and substitute for the meat …beans/vegetables and you really should not have a problem. Canned beans/veggies can be good too. So don’t be disheartened, start slow and then progress a little at a time.

  • ify says:

    Here in Nigeria, the concept of vegetarianism is practically unheard of. All meals come with meat content. All the vegetarian cookbooks I have seen do not have any of the vegetables and ingredients that we have around here. I have no clue where to start from. I need help urgently as I’m going to totally cut out meat on the first of October. Any responses would be welcomed.

  • Alexia says:

    Hi! My name is Alexia, and I’m from Argentina. Unfortunatly, here in my country there not many vegan products (almos nothing). So I would like to know if is there any kind of list of brands or shops that sells all around the world. It would be really helpfull to have products ready to use! Thank you very much!

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