I’ve talked before about how to plan ahead for grocery shopping and why it’s important. Figuring out my meals ahead of time has become even more imperative since becoming vegan. This is because vegan cooking is a little new to me and I don’t want to get home from work, tired and hungry and not have a clue what to eat. I love browsing cooking blogs looking for interesting recipes and getting ideas for recipes that I want to create. Each week, I gather 5 or 6 meal ideas and put a list together of ingredients I will need. Over the past month, I’ve found myself purchasing a few new plant-based products during each trip to the store.
After my last trip I was so excited about all of the delicious foods that I had purchased and decided to take a picture of my vegan grocery haul. Some items have always made frequent appearances in my shopping bags and others I am trying for the first time. Here are some of the highlights from my most recent vegan grocery shopping adventure. And don’t forget to check out my other posts for more vegan grocery essentials.
Plant-based milks such as almond milk are pretty much a staple in most vegan diets. There are many other kinds of nut milks as well – such as macadamia, cashew and hazelnut. For some people, milks made with nuts are not an option due to allergies. Luckily, other kinds of plant-based milks are available such as coconut, rice, hemp and oat. I’ve grown very comfortable with almond milk over the past few years and decided to try a couple of the other options so I picked up a box of rice milk and a box of oat milk. I tried the oat milk yesterday in my new favorite breakfast, blueberry pancakes and they turned out great. I took a sip of it while I was preparing the batter to familiarize myself with the flavor. It was sweeter than the unsweetened almond milk I usually buy for my green smoothies and it seemed like to have a slightly grainy texture which was not my favorite. I also noticed it has more than twice as many calories and almost three times as many grams of carbohydrates. That being said, there is probably a time and a place for oat milk but I will probably consider it more as a treat than a normal part of my diet.
Where do you get your protein? A question heard countless times by any vegetarian or vegan. While my response usually includes something about how broccoli has more protein per calorie than steak, it doesn’t hurt to point out that tofu is very high in this necessary nutrient. Of course no vegan essentials list would be complete without tofu, the famous bean curd made from soybeans. Once I became vegetarian, I began using tofu as a great substitute for the meat I was used to eating. In addition to its protein content, Tofu is an essential vegan item due to its versatility. Many traditional dishes from a variety of cuisines such as stir fry or tacos can be made vegetarian or vegan by substituting the meat with tofu. Tofu is also commonly used to make a vegan version of scrambled eggs like my Tofu Scramble and is used in many vegan desserts.
Though beans are commonly eaten by most people, regardless of their diet choices, they are a vegan essential food because of their incredible nutrient content. Packed with fiber and protein, beans are frequently referred to as a super food. And with such a large variety of types, these tasty little packages of goodness can be added into almost any dish. Garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas, can be the star of a dish such as chana masala or be pureed to create a healthful snack such as hummus dip. Pinto beans can be added to soups like minestrone or vegetarian chili. I like to keep an assortment of beans on hand and add them to dishes on the fly. Get creative and make sure to get some this magical fruit every day!