So, you’re gluten-free and you’ve decided to go vegan as well – or you’re vegan and have found out you need to cut out gluten from your diet too. Eek, you might be panicking about what on earth you’re going to eat but don’t worry! This printable gluten-free and vegan food list is going to make your life super easy whilst you adjust to your new diet. I’ve also included lots of useful information in this blogpost for what to eat and cook, how to check ingredients labels, quick fix pantry meals and generally how to survive!
(Check out my 12 Top Tips for New Vegans to help in those first few weeks as well!)
- What can and can’t you eat (and how do you check)?
- Where do vegans get their protein?
- What is a healthy vegan diet?
- Tips for your vegan and gluten-free diet
- Meal planning (and un-planned quick pantry meals!)
- ✨Grocery List✨
- 🛒 Fruit and Vegetables
- 🛒 Refrigerated Section
- 🛒 Frozen Section
- 🛒 Dry Goods Section
Your first gluten-free and vegan grocery shopping trip might seem a bit daunting as you try to get your head around what you can and can’t eat, finding new unfamiliar ingredients and avoiding others. Don’t worry, it might take a little longer than normal to do your first few shops but it’ll get quicker and easier as you go along and it becomes less about discovery and more about usual routine grocery shopping!
Use this handy list to help you get to grips with the essential ingredients you need to keep stocked in your pantry for whipping up delicious vegan and gluten-free meals at home any time.
What can and can’t you eat (and how do you check)?
What can vegans eat?
Vegans can eat lots of things! It's not just salads!
Fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, sauces, baked goods, basically anything that has come from a plant!
What can't vegans eat?
Vegans choose to exclude any animal-derived products from their diets (and lives generally!). There include the obvious things like meat, poultry, fish and seafood, (these are also not eaten by vegetarians) but also the less-obvious things like eggs, dairy and honey(this is where vegans and vegetarians differ).
Once you know what to substitute for those elements of your previous diet, it becomes very easy to “veganise” a dish that you used to eat before you went vegan. This list will help you with some of those essentials that you need in order to re-create your old favourites (like cashews for a creamy sauce, nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavour, and kimchi for a bit of pzazz!).
Buying whole food ingredients is easy because it is usually obvious whether it is vegan or not – fruits, vegetables, packets of dried beans, lentils, etc. If you are buying packaged foods, it can get a little more tricky as there are a few hidden animal products that you can find in the most unlikely places! So, you will need to get used to checking the ingredients labels on the packaged foods that you buy.
At first, it may seem very time consuming and a bit of a minefield but over time you will find your favourite products and know which ones to go for without having to check. Often, you just need to look for the vegan sign on the label which gives absolute certainly. But there are lots of products out there that are “accidentally vegan”, or vegan without being marked as such! So, it’s good to know what you are looking for on the labels so that you don’t inadvertently cut out something that you can actually continue eating! (yes, Lindt 70% chocolate is accidentally vegan - hooray!).
Some animal-derived ingredients have names that don’t make it obvious that they are from animals. E-numbers in Europe can be really tricky because a number doesn’t really let you know what is in that ingredient! Here is a handy list of the less obvious non-vegan ingredients to look out for but check this Vegan Society page if you want more detailed information!
Hidden animal-derived ingredients:
- Casein, lactose and whey (all from milk)
- Collagen, elastin, keratin, gelatin, aspic, edible bone phosphate (E542) and pepsin (all from animals)
- Lard or tallow (animal fat)
- Shellac (E904) (from insects)
- Propolis, beeswax (E901) and royal jelly (all from bees)
- Albumin (from eggs)
- Isinglass and Cod liver oil (both from fish) and vitamin D3 (often from fish liver)
- Cochineal (E120) (crushed up insects!)
Ingredients that could be plant-based or could be animal-derived – you need to check for the vegan label with these ingredients, or ask the manufacturer:
- Lecithin (E322) (sometimes from eggs, although fine if from soya)
- Glycerol (E422) (usually plant-based but sometimes from animal fat)
- Disodium Inosinate (E631) (sometimes plant-based, others are animal derived)
- Mono and di-glycerides of fatty acids (E471) (sometimes from animals)
What can’t you eat if you are gluten-free?
Gluten is a protein found in four different grains:
- Triticale (a cross between wheat and rye)
This means that you can’t eat anything that contains an ingredient derived from any of those four grains.
The common sources of gluten are from wheat and rye which are used for making breads, pasta, cakes, biscuits or cookies, cereals and packaged goods. Barley is also found in malt (e.g. malt vinegar, barley malt extract, malted syrup), beer, and brewer’s yeast (sorry, that means marmite is not gluten-free!). Luckily, any gluten-containing ingredients are usually highlighted in bold on the ingredients label, so again, you need to check the label carefully!
Also, make sure to check for the different types of wheat that may be listed just by their name and not under the general term “wheat”. These include durum, emmer, spelt, semolina, farina, farro, einkorn, among others. (Check this celiac disease foundation webpage for a full list.)
Where do vegans get their protein?
This seems to be the number one concern of anyone considering a plant-based diet. It is also the easiest to address! A few facts for you:
- All foods contain protein. However, the concern comes in the fact that the different amino acids are found in different amounts within each different food. Meat is often hailed as the best source of protein because it has all the essential amino acids in proportions that are considered best for the human body. However, you can replicate this by eating a variety of foods over the course of your day that together will give a good combination of amino acids in the right proportions for your body. Well known food matches are things like lentils and brown rice. So, if you eat a balanced diet with lots of variety, you will likely be getting the right proportion of all the amino acids in your diet.
- Despite the media hype about the need for protein, hardly anyone is actually deficient in protein! A 2013 Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics study of 71,000 participants showed that the average vegetarian and vegan was getting 70% more protein than they needed! (Forks over Knives). Nutrition scientists are still debating how much protein we really need but what does seem clear from the science is that we can get an adequate amount of protein from eating a healthy, balanced vegan diet (Note, the key is in the words healthy and balanced! So, no, a vegan junk food diet does not count!).
- Having said that, it is good to be mindful of protein to ensure that you are getting the best sources of plant-based proteins in your diet every day. See the box below for some high quality protein sources. You should try to include at least one of these sources of protein in each meal.
High Quality Gluten-Free & Vegan Protein Sources:
- Beans and Legumes – lentils, chickpeas, peas and peanuts (actually a legume not a nut!), and all types of beans, (including soyabean products like soya mince (TVP), tofu and tempeh) are fantastic plant-based sources of protein. They are cheap, easy to incorporate into your meals, and you should try to eat them as much as possible.
- Nuts and seeds – Hemp seeds and pumpkin seeds are particularly high in protein, with flax seeds, chia seeds and almonds closely following behind. But really any nuts and seeds that you like will provide a healthy amount of protein as well as essential fatty acids too.
- Unrefined wholegrains (and pseudo-grains) – e.g. brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, buckwheat, oats, sorghum, amaranth, oats (GF oats), millet.
- Vegetables – sweetcorn, leafy greens, broccoli, sweet potato.
- Plant-based meat replacements* – e.g. gardein mince, viveira, impossible meat or beyond meat.
* The plant-based meat replacements are not as healthy as the protein sources listed above them because they are highly refined foods. So, although they’re great for getting that meaty flavour or texture now and again, try to rely more on whole foods like beans and legumes, nuts and seeds and vegetables and wholegrains for your main protein sources.
What is a healthy vegan diet?
Ok, so you can get your protein needs from a healthy vegan diet but what does that healthy diet actually look like? If you get the balance right and choose your foods mindfully, there can be many health benefits to plant-based eating. Here are some pointers to keep in mind.
Balance and diversity
Aim for a balanced diet where you include a variety of different foods throughout the week. Try not to have the same food every day as this could mean that you might be missing out on some essential nutrients available in other plant-based foods. Will Bulsiewicz, MD MSCI, (a.k.a. Dr. B who wrote “Fiber Fueled”) recommends aiming to include at least 30 different plants into your diet each week. That isn’t as hard as it sounds as it doesn't just mean fruits and vegetables but any plant foods like whole grains, nuts and seeds, fresh produce, seaweed, sauces, etc. This way, you ensure you get a variety of nutrients into your diet and that balance of plant-based proteins to give equivalent protein quality as the animal protein that you've taken out of your diet.
Limit packaged foods
Although it may be tempting to skip all the label checking and just choose packaged foods that have a big vegan label on the front of them, it is far healthier (and cheaper!) to get in the habit of buying whole food ingredients and making your meals from scratch. Packaged foods often have a lot of hidden sugar, salt and/or trace fats or other unhealthy ingredients in them whereas cooking from scratch means that you are fully in control of how much of these you add to your food. Home cooked food with fresh ingredients also means that you are likely to retain more of the nutrients and fibre too. So, try to limit your intake of packaged foods or sweet treats and go for the whole foods instead!
Choose whole foods over refined foods wherever possible
What are whole foods? Whole foods are basically all the raw ingredients - things that don’t have an ingredients list of their own (or at least not a very long one)! So, fresh fruit and vegetables, grains (rice, oats, flours, quinoa, etc.), dried or tinned beans and legumes, plain unseasoned nuts and seeds, etc. The more refined the food is (i.e. the more processes it has been through to become that product), the less nutrients will be retained in that food. Whole grains are grains that still have the outer bran in tact, like brown rice, oatmeal, wholegrain sorghum, etc. The bran is important because it contains fibre which helps to slow down your digestion of those foods and provide slower releasing energy over a longer period.
What if you don’t have time to cook?
It helps to keep a list of your tried and tested recipes that you know you can rely on for busy days (check out my quick recipes) and then some new ones for experimenting with at the weekends or when you have more time to play in the kitchen (see all my recipes by category)! Keep your list on your phone or in pinterest or just written on a piece of paper stuck to the fridge!
Tips for your vegan and gluten-free diet
If you like to do your shopping online, it can really help to set up a vegan GF favourites list in your preferred online supermarket as it will make your online shopping much quicker. It’s also great for when you come home from a long holiday and have to set up your kitchen again and remember what you used to cook!
Frozen fruit and vegetables
These are so handy to keep in your freezer for when you’re caught short with no fresh foods in your fridge. They are also often more nutritious because they are packaged at source so suffer less nutrient deterioration whilst being transported to the shops.
Buy dried beans if you are organised!
Dried beans are usually cheaper and take up less space in your pantry than tinned beans. You do need to be organised though as they usually need to be soaked for quite a few hours before using them (not mung beans). If you have a pressure cooker (or Instant Pot), then it speeds up the cooking process. Or cook a big batch of dried beans when you have some time and freeze them in bags of smaller portions.
Meal planning (and un-planned quick pantry meals!)
I would say meal planning will be your real life-saver in the first few weeks while you work out what to eat and what to buy in the shops.
Spend a little time at the weekend looking at your diary and seeing where the pinch-points will be – for us, it is the days when I know I’ll have a lot of work on or when I’m out all afternoon delivering kids to clubs and not getting home till supper time. If you plan your meals so that you cook something quick on those nights (or leftovers of another night’s meal!) and then more experimental things on the other nights (if you want), it will be so helpful for you. Then you can do an online shop for all the ingredients you’ll need for that week and everything is ready for you.
Un-planned quick meals
Also plan for those days when your gf vegan meal plan goes out the window! It helps hugely if you have a list (or pinterest folder or internet bookmark list) of some great recipes that are quick and easy and only use pantry ingredients. That way, even if you are rushing in late and haven’t had time to shop for whatever is on your meal plan (or you don’t have the time or the inclination to make it – we’ve all had those days! 😜), you can quickly get something delicious on the table with whatever you already have in your kitchen.
Here are some recipes that I like to have as my fall-back recipes for nights when I really haven’t had time to think about food and need to get dinner on the table for the family asap! These meals can all be made with the essentials from the vegan and gluten-free grocery shopping list so if you keep your freezer and pantry stocked up, you’ll be able to make these any time even when the fridge looks empty!
- Creamy sun-dried tomato pasta (15 minutes) – this is one of our favourite meals and comes together super quickly!
- Crispy Tofu Buddha Bowl (15-20 minutes for an air fried meal) – quickly press some extra firm tofu for 5 minutes (or just squeeze it in your hands!), chop it into squares, mix it with some cornstarch and salt and pepper and a little oil then pop it in the air fryer for 8 minutes. You can add some veggies as well (even frozen veggies work well chucked into the air fryer!) and serve with a portion of quinoa (which takes 12 minutes to make). Add some vegan kimchi or sauerkraut for a tangy flavour and some good gut bacteria and drizzle the whole thing with some sriracha or tahini sauce (which takes 2 minutes to make!). This is such a quick and easy meal and is super healthy and tasty!
- Soup (less than ½ an hour) – all of my soup recipes are nutritious, comforting and easy to make. I’d say the creamy spinach and white bean soup is the one I make most often when I’m in a hurry because it involves a tin of beans, some frozen spinach and a few other ingredients I always have on hand. You just sauté the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes then add everything else into the pan and cook it for 10 minutes. That’s it and it’s so delicious!
- Quick Ginger & Sesame Soba Noodles (10 minutes) – This is full of flavour and really quick to make! You just boil the gluten-free soba noodles and add the broccoli once you’ve chopped it. Whisk together a delicious gingery dressing and chop up some silken tofu to stir into the noodles once they’re cooked.
- Tofu Scramble (5 minutes) – for a really really speedy supper, look no further than this tofu scramble recipe. It takes 5 minutes to make and tastes so scrummy on a piece of toast with perhaps some tabasco sprinkled on top!
Believe me, with a hectic home life and busy schedule, I often find myself in the position of having run out of time to cook what I’d planned and I rely on this list far more often than I intend to!
Now onto the list… You can download the printable pdf beginner's vegan and gluten-free food shopping list (1 page, 2 sides) and take a paper copy with you to the shops or I have also set out the food list in this blogpost with some extra details explaining some of the choices and some things to look out for.
Lots of items will be the same as before you were vegan – e.g. fruits, veg, spices, baking ingredients (if you are new to going gluten-free, then there will be a few new baking ingredients for you to find). Others might be new items that you have never used before (like tofu and tempeh, nutritional yeast and flax seeds, as well as dairy replacement products like oat milk, plant-based butter and meat alternatives like plant-based mince).
So, brace yourself as it might take you a little longer for your first few trips to the shops while you work out where these items are and spend some time studying the labels! Luckily, if you take my printout grocery shopping list with you, it should cut down your shopping time considerably as you can just follow the aisles and know what you are looking for.
🛒 Fruit and Vegetables
Buy a variety of different fresh fruits and vegetables (whichever ones you like). Don’t forget lots of dark leafy greens! I always have the following staples in my kitchen as well as any seasonal or interesting extras.
- Garlic, ginger and chillies (I keep the chillies and ginger in the freezer! Ginger can be grated with a microplane straight from frozen! And chillies, can be defrosted quickly by running under a tap).
- Potatoes and/or sweet potatoes
- Bell Peppers (capsicum)
- Courgette (zucchini)
- Leafy greens like spinach, kale, cavolo nero or pak choi
- Salad vegetables like lettuce and/or rocket (arugula), tomatoes, cucumber and spring onions (scallions)
- Aubergine (eggplant)
- Cabbage (white or red)
- Green beans (or mange tout and/or sugar snap peas when in season)
- Sweetcorn or baby corn
- Butternut squash or pumpkin
- Asparagus (when in season)
- Apples and/or pears
- Lemons and limes
- Oranges (or tangerines when in season)
- Seasonal Fruits – berries, peaches, plums, etc.
- Tropical Fruits – mango, watermelon, pineapple, passion fruit, etc.
- Fresh herbs:
It’s good to have a few herbs to garnish with or make a quick herby dressing or sauce with. They add a punch of flavour and extra nutrients. Growing them would be even better if you have space for a pot and some vaguely green fingers!
- Parsley and coriander (cilantro) are my staples that I always try to have on hand.
- Chives, thyme, rosemary, sage, tarragon, and mint are nice to have as extras for a recipe.
🛒 Refrigerated Section
You'll be able to walk straight past all the dairy products and meat sections! Find the vegetarian and vegan section of the refrigerated area to look out for:
- Tofu – keep a few different types of tofu in your fridge:
- Extra firm tofu for crispy air fryer tofu bites, stir-fries, and creamy tofu pie.
- Smoked tofu for hearty vegan stew and for adding to buddha bowls.
- Silken tofu for tofu scramble, sushi bowls and desserts!
- Tempeh - Keep a packet or two in the fridge for throwing into stir-fries, buddha bowls and sandwiches.
- Plant-based milk - Oat milk, rice milk, almond milk, cashew milk - try out a few and use the one that you like the flavour of best!
- Plant-based butter – for spreading on toast or steamed vegetables.
- Vegan cheese – I like to have vegan feta (Greek block) and grated vegan cheddar, as well as a vegan cream cheese spread.
- Hummus (or make your own hummus!)
- Vegan Greek Yoghurt (nice to have if you can find it)
- Sauerkraut and Vegan Kimchi – great for adding some good bacteria into your diet and a sharp contrasting flavour to your food – include in sandwiches, buddha bowls, or even on top of dahl and rice or chilli!
- Vegan pesto – handy to have in the fridge for adding to pasta and risottos or soups. Or make your own with a big bunch of herbs, olive oil, nutritional yeast and pine nuts (or experiment with other nuts and seeds)!
🛒 Frozen Section
- Frozen vegetables - I like to always make sure I have frozen spinach, peas and sweetcorn on hand. They are such a useful way to add veggies to a dish when you have nothing in the fridge. Since they are often flash frozen at source, they are usually very nutritious too!
- Frozen fruits - it's useful to have some frozen berries, mango, peaches, etc. for smoothies.
- Vegan ice cream and/or ice lollies - for treats of course 😉
- Frozen plant-based mince – useful to keep a bag of this in the freezer for quick meals. I like the Gardein brand best.
- Oven-bake frozen French fries – always good to have for when you want a junky meal!
- Vegan convenience foods – since I have young children, we usually have vegan sausages and vegan sausage rolls in our freezer as well as vegan nuggets (which my children like even more than chicken nuggets!).
🛒 Dry Goods Section
Beans and Legumes
Beans and legumes (either dried or canned) are really useful to keep in your pantry for throwing into soups, sauces, curries, and rice dishes to add protein. Buy a selection of:
- Cannellini beans (white beans), adzuki beans, black beans, black-eyed beans, butter beans
- Dried mung beans
- Split red lentils, puy lentils, channa dahl lentils.
- Gluten-Free Pasta – a selection (careful to check the label to make sure there’s no egg)
- Rice (brown or white basmati rice are essential; wild rice, risotto rice and sushi rice are also useful!).
- Porridge Oats (check the label to make sure they are marked as gluten-free oats, as sometimes oats are planted in a field where wheat was growing previously and they can be contaminated with gluten).
- Gluten-Free Bread – it is hard to find GF bread that is also vegan as it usually contains egg. Check the label carefully. You could instead make your own GF Vegan bread (or this bread machine recipe)
- Quinoa - actually a pseudo-grain rich in protein, this is such a useful ingredient to keep in your pantry to use for salads, or as an alternative to bulgur wheat or couscous in a recipe, or as a thickener in stews or chilis, or just as an alternative side dish instead of rice or potatoes. You could also try experimenting with wholegrain sorghum, millet or buckwheat.
- Egg-free and gluten-free noodles like rice noodles or soba noodles (check it is 100% buckwheat which is gluten-free). Vermicelli noodles made from mung beans or sweet potato (usually in the Asian section) are also usually vegan and gluten-free. They’re handy for soups and salads.
- GF wraps or tortillas, and taco shells – check that they are 100% corn and gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free.
- Olive oil (for cooking and salads) – you can get plain virgin olive oil for cooking but perhaps a more expensive extra virgin olive oil for salad dressings, soup drizzles and other uncooked uses. This is because extra virgin olive oil has a low smoke point so it is not so good to cook with. Better to go for the cheaper virgin option instead.
- Grapeseed oil (for cooking) – this has a higher smoke point than olive oil and less flavour so is another great option for cooking with.
- Toasted sesame oil (for stir-fries and salads)
- Coconut oil (for baking) – note that this is one of the few plant-based saturated fats so it is not very healthy but it is useful for baking so I do use it occasionally when I bake.
- Truffle oil (if you want to splash out!)
Tins, Jars & Packets
- Tinned Tomatoes (and/or Passata) – an essential no matter what your diet! Great for pasta sauces, Bolognese, and soups. Whole tomatoes tend to taste better than chopped if you can be bothered to chop them up before using (I often go for chopped because of my inherent laziness!).
- Tomato puree / paste – small and easy to keep in the fridge for adding concentrated tomato flavour.
- Coconut Milk (or cream) – I like to buy this in small cans as I usually only use it in small amounts. You can pour leftover coconut milk into ice cube trays and put them in the freezer to use at a later date.
- TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein) or soya chunks / curls – this is a great ingredient to keep in your cupboards. It’s cheap, takes up very little space, has a long shelf-life, and once rehydrated, has a texture very similar to minced meat. It has a bland flavour so use with a strong flavoured sauce like this Thai Basil Vegan Stir-Fry Recipe.
- Nuts and Seeds – go for a selection of your favourite unroasted, unsalted nuts and seeds. My most used nuts are cashews (to make cashew sauce), almonds and macadamias (for general yummy snacking), walnuts and chia seeds (for omega-3 fatty acids) and brazil nuts (for selenium).
- Dried fruits – I like having dried apricots and dates to hand for snacking and using as a sweetener in baked goods. You could also get raisins, sultanas or cranberries. This hot cross bun recipe is great for using up dried fruits!
- Tinned Jackfruit – choose the plain jackfruit NOT jackfruit in syrup. Although not essential, jackfruit can make an interesting meat substitute. It doesn’t have much protein but it shreds to a texture of shredded meat. Try this Indonesian jackfruit curry recipe.
- Dried mushrooms – these are great to keep in the cupboard as a standby to add umami flavour and “meatiness” to dishes. Try this delicious vegan nut roast recipe as a start.
- Jars of olives, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted peppers, marinated artichokes, cornichons – These are SO useful for quickly throwing together dips and pasta sauces or for adding saltiness or vibrancy to a dish.
Condiments and Sauces
- Vegan Stock Powder – This is essential for adding background flavour to your food. I like the Marigold brand but there are many options to choose from. You can even get vegan chicken or beef stock too!
- Nutritional Yeast – great for adding a slight cheesy flavour, some protein and if it often fortified with vitamin B12 too (check the label).
- Vinegars – I like to always have apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar and rice vinegar on hand for dressings and to add acidity to dishes.
- Tahini – this is a common ingredient in the middle east. It is made from ground sesame seeds, in fact that should be the only ingredient! It is extremely useful for quick sauces and dressings and adds a heavenly creaminess and a good dose of calcium too! (It’s also one of the main ingredients in hummus)
- Tamari or gluten-free soy sauce (or coconut aminos) – an essential ingredient for Asian cooking and for adding depth of flavour in stews.
- Vegan mayonnaise – if you don’t have time to make your own (I’d love to but I often don’t have time!), there are lots of vegan options. We have the Hellmann’s vegan mayonnaise and my non-vegan husband says he can’t tell the difference!
- Mustard – I like to have both Dijon and wholegrain mustard in stock at all times for salad dressings or adding to pies, creamy sauces, and of course for dipping vegan sausages into!
- Tomato Ketchup – I’m not a fan but one of my kids loves the stuff!
- Sweet White Miso – this is an incredibly useful ingredient in the vegan kitchen. It’s a Japanese paste made from fermented soybeans so it has all that lovely good bacteria for your gut and it tastes divine. It adds umami depth of flavour and saltiness to your food. Keep it in the fridge once opened. (I like the Clearspring brand white miso but I usually transfer it to a jar for easier access).
- Tabasco and/or Sriracha (or whatever other hot sauce you like!)
- Vegan Fish Sauce and Vegan Oyster Sauce – these can be very useful for Asian cooking if you can find them!
- Sweet chilli sauce – to be used sparingly as it is very high in sugar but it is great with spring rolls!
- Thai curry pastes – also very useful but often they contain fish so check the label carefully and look for the vegan sign.
- Pomegranate molasses and tamarind puree – these are both not essential but useful ingredients to keep on hand for tanginess.
- Flours - for gluten-free baking, you will need a range of gluten-free flours since no one flour does the same job as plain flour (unless you buy a blend like Dove’s Farm gluten-free plain flour). Since I like to make my own bread, I usually also keep: brown rice flour, sorghum flour, almond flour, cornstarch, arrowroot flour and tapioca starch. Non-essential but nice to have extra’s are: masa harina (corn) flour, teff flour, millet flour, oat flour, and potato starch.
- Sugar – buy unrefined or organic sugar (in the US, refined white sugar is often filtered through bone char - see this PETA article on why refined white sugar is not vegan but also why not to stress too much about sugar!).
- Maple Syrup - this is my go-to syrup that I use instead of honey which is not vegan. It is great for baking or drizzling onto vegan yoghurt.
- Baking Powder and Bicarbonate of Soda – make sure to check for gluten-free versions.
- Ground Flax Seeds (linseeds) – useful as egg replacers. Just place 1tsp of ground flax seeds with 2-3 teaspoon water to replace 1 egg. They are also very nutritious containing high amounts of essential fatty acids that may be lacking in a vegan diet so they’re good to throw into smoothies and salads wherever possible!
- Psyllium Husk (powder or flakes) – useful for bread making.
- Vanilla Extract & Cacao Powder – essential for any home bakers!
- Agar agar – not essential but certainly useful if you plan on making any “set” foods as this is a natural vegan alternative to gelatine, made from seaweed.
Herbs and Spices
- Spices – at a minimum, I would have ground turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger powder, garlic powder, cinnamon, Chinese 5 spice, curry powder, and smoked paprika. You will find these really help to make your vegan food burst with flavour!
- Dried Herbs – a selection including thyme, oregano, bay leaves, zaatar, Italian or Mediterranean Herb Seasoning.
- Salt – choose unrefined sea salt (like Maldon or Anglesey Halen Mon) or Himalayan Pink Salt for extra minerals with your salt.
- Pepper – I usually have both black and white peppercorns as well as Szechuan peppercorns, but you can stick to black peppercorns as the most versatile!
- Peanut butter (or make your own) (or any other nut butter)
- Jam (jelly)
- Yeast extract (sadly, marmite and vegemite are not gluten-free but there are lots of other gluten-free yeast extracts available)
- Chocolate spread - note, nutella is not vegan and also contains palm oil but there are lots of vegan and more sustainable options available!
- Corn cakes, rice cakes and/or oat cakes – really useful to keep in the cupboards for when you need a snack quickly. Instead of reaching for a chocolate bar, grab a corncake and spread some hummus on top, or slices of vegan feta cheese. Delicious!
- Nut bars – useful to throw in your handbag for on the go snacks with a hefty dose of protein too.
- Dried seaweed – an extremely tasty, low calorie snack and contains iodine too!
- Popcorn – making your own popcorn can be really easy and is a far healthier way to eat your popcorn than the ready made versions. Just add salt or maybe some nutritional yeast for a cheesy version!
- Crisps – I am a crisp addict but slowly trying to wean myself off them!
- Chocolate – look for vegan, dairy-free chocolate but some dark chocolates, like Lindt 70% are also accidentally vegan!
Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list as there are lots of other things you might buy at the supermarket. However, this is my guide of essentials and some nice to have’s that will give you a well-stocked kitchen and enable you to make a variety of healthy recipes for you and your family without too much effort.
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