This week I will be continuing my key vegan food staple series by highlighting my top vegan items to always have stored away in the fridge.
By: Allegra Pearl
Welcome to Part 2 of our Key Vegan Food Staples series! This week I'm highlighting some of the veggies, fruits, dairy alternatives and plant-based proteins you should think about keeping in your fridge. Your grocery shop will obviously vary from week to week based on what you've got planned, but after being vegan for a while you'll start to see patterns in what you buy. Follow along as we sift through the aisle of the grocery shop and see what I pick up!
When I enter the grocery store, I immediately start off by loading up my cart in the produce section. I make sure to grab my favourite vegetable: a large head of broccoli that is typically priced between $1.77-$2.99. Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that is a good source of fibre, protein, iron, calcium and vitamins. It's such a versatile vegetable that is a key ingredient in a variety of vegan dishes including: broccoli soup, broccoli pasta, stir fry, tacos, etc.
I also add some green peppers ($1.81), yellow onions ($2.75) and mushrooms ($2.99/227g). These vegetables are all affordable and make great additions and bases to a wide range of vegan recipes. I also typically grab some carrots as they work as a great snack (especially with hummus) and act as an important base for a lot of dishes while maintaining a low price tag. Carrots can keep up to a month in the refrigerator if they are submerged in water and sealed in a container.
Next I grab some highly nutritious purple cabbage ($4.38) that acts as a great source of dietary fibre and antioxidants. Red cabbage also keeps a long time in the fridge and can be used as an ingredient in delicious salads, rice wraps, coleslaws, etc. Before I move on to another other aisle, I grab spinach or another dark leafy green. These vegetables are not only great for your health, but taste buds as well! They double as amazing ingredients in both sweet (smoothie) or savoury (curries and salad) dishes.
Next on to the fruit aisle! I go through a ton of bananas, so those are first in the cart. They're perfect in oatmeal, smoothies, protein shakes, baking (you name it) and they're a great bang for your buck. I'll usually grab a bag of apples as well, which make such fantastic snacks. Depending on the season I'll usually grab something else - oranges in the winter, fresh berries in the summer. If you're into cooking, fresh lemons or limes can make a really big difference in helping to brighten up your meal! I usually keep a lemon for salad dressings, soups and sauces, and some limes since I love to make a lot of Mexican food.
As soon as I can tear myself away from the produce section, I set off to find my favourite dairy alternatives. I first grab a carton of oat milk as my plant-based milk of choice due to its high levels of fibre, vitamins and protein. As well, I not only love it’s taste, but the fact that it requires substantially less water in its production compared to dairy milk or almond milk. I also grab a plant-based coffee creamer to spice up my homemade coffee. I typically alternate between Silk Almond Dairy-Free vanilla creamer or hazelnut creamer for $2.29. These coffee creamers will have you in awe at the amazing flavour!
Once I have added all the fruits, vegetables and dairy alternatives my heart desires to my shopping cart, I head off to find my favourite plant-based proteins. I always grab a couple blocks of extra-firm tofu ($1.99-$3.49) that can act as a great protein source in a variety of vegan dishes.
I usually like to have a block of tempeh ($5.49) on hand as well. It's a great additional plant-based protein source that makes for a great lunch meat replacement in sandwiches. Lastly, depending on my weekly budget, I will choose to add or opt out on a mock meat or vegan cheese.
With these basic ingredients you can whip up a whole word of balanced, delicious and simple vegan dishes. Looking for some recipe inspo? Download the free PlantEd Project ebook today! Stay tuned for Part 3 of this series to find out what staples to start keeping in your pantry. Happy cooking!