I love to cook and bake, and one of my biggest concerns when I was considering going pant-based was that those things wouldn’t be as fun anymore. I was thrilled to discover that cooking and baking while plant-based is fun, colorful, and creatively stimulating. I’m still learning about all the things I can do and use. I wanted to include a list of what I think are 20 of the must have items you should have in the kitchen if you are considering a plant-based lifestyle, or if you just want to try some alternatives. I provided a little information under each item that explains why these items add value to your diet. Hope you enjoy!
Spinach is low in fat and even lower in cholesterol, spinach is high in niacin and zinc, as well as protein, fiber, vitamins A, C, E and K, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese
Fun Fact: Eating 100 calories of Spinach has the exact same protein content as eating 100 calories worth of beef.
Quinoa is high in protein, and is one of the only foods that we can eat that contains all 9 amino acids. It is also high in fiber, magnesium, B-vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E and various beneficial antioxidants.
Examples: Split peas, Canalini beans, Kidney beans, Baked beans (navy beans), Soybeans, Chickpeas, Four bean mix, Lupin, and Red, green or brown lentils.
Legumes are high in fiber, protein, Vitamin B, folate, antioxidants, and legumes are low in saturated fat.
I honestly put this here because I love them, but upon researching their benefits, I found that they are quite astonishing! To sum up my findings, they contain 20 vitamins and minerals, good for the heart as they lower cholesterol, improve vision, support bone health through Vitamin-K, contain high amounts of folate, lower the risk of depression, high in fiber, contain detoxifying agents, and have antimicrobial action (meaning they actually contain substances that fight off bacteria.)
5. Veggies (Zucchini, sweet potato, butternut squash, broccoli, eggplant, pepper, onion, carrot, cauliflower, etc.)
Each type of vegetable contains it’s own benefits so look into them and find the ones that appeal to you. You really can’t go wrong.
There are so many different types of fruits, and they each have their own nutrient properties. Fruits are generally low in sodium, fat, and calories. Not to mention, most have high fiber and potassium. My usual must haves are bananas, berries, apple, mango, and pineapple.
7. Chia seed
They are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, rich in antioxidants, and they provide fiber, iron, and calcium. Also, chia seeds can be a great replacement for eggs when baking.
8. Hemp seed
Hemp Seeds contain easily digestible proteins, which means our bodies digest the protein as protein only. Thus, they have a higher protein content than any meat, dairy product, or eggs. They hold essential fats (Omega 3 and 6), antioxidants, amino acids, fiber, iron, zinc, and tons of vitamins and minerals.
The chemical compound, Curcumin, is the main chemical in Turmeric, and is what mostly contributes to turmeric’s health benefits. Curcumin boosts cognitive function, fights off inflammation, supports cardiovascular function, improves the appearance of skin, supports joint and muscle health, boosts detoxification, improves mood, and supports weight loss.
10. Nutritional yeast
Nutritional Yeast has numerous benefits, but the main one would have to be its vitamin content, specifically, Vitamin B12. One teaspoon of Nutritional yeast contains 50-100 percent of your daily requirement of Vitamin B12.
11. Coconut aminos
Coconut aminos have 73 percent less sodium than soy sauce. In addition, it’s dairy and gluten free. I like to use this as a replacement for soy sauce.
Cashews are packed with vitamins, mineralsand antioxidants. These include vitaminsE, K, and B6, along with minerals like copper, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, iron, and selenium, all of which are important for maintaining good bodily function. The reason these make the list is because they can do so much in the kitchen. Cashews can be boiled, blended, and then made into dips, cheese substitutes, and creamy sauces.
13. Flour base (Almond, garbanzo, cassava)
I mostly added this as a suggestion. I am a baker and when I switched over to being plant-based it took some time to find the flours that worked best for my baking and my gut.
Dates are a good source of energy, sugar, and fiber. They contain Essential mineralssuch as calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium, and zinccan be found in them. They also contain vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin A, and vitamin K.
15. Seasonings (Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Paprika, Sesame Seeds, Herb)
Seasonings are an easy way to add flavor to your dishes, and many of them contain great health benefits. I included some of my favorites, but there are many many more to choose from.
16. Protein Powder (Pea, Soy, Hemp)
I have some fitness goals that I am trying to achieve, and it’s helpful to include protein powder in my smoothies, oatmeal, or baked goods for the extra help. I have a sensitive stomach, and I have found that pea protein works best.
17. Pasta (Brown rice, edamame, chickpea, lentil, etc.)
There are so many pasta alternatives now, and some of them are a lot better for your glycemic index than others, such as, edamame and chickpea.
18. Dulse Granules
This one is fairly new to me. Dulseis packed with many of the minerals that humans need to consume every day. A single serving of dulse provides us a rich supply of Iron, Potassium, Calcium, Chromium and Magnesium.
19. Almond Butter/Peanut Butter
A must for me. I put this stuff on everything! Almonds offer good amounts of magnesium and potassium, and contain antioxidants.
20. Milk Alternative (Oat, Almond, Cashew, Soy, Rice, Hemp)
My favorite milk alternative is oat milk. It’s so creamy and sweet! The nutrition information is great, and just one cup of oat milk contains 36% of your daily calcium needs.
21. Kimchi (added bonus)
Kimchi is my favorite discovery that I have made since becoming plant-based. Regardless of your diet, try kimchi it will change your life. It’s rich in vitamins E and A, and it’s fermentation process makes it incredibly good for the gut.
All the best,