When our family first went vegan, we really had no idea what we were doing. For the first month I thought bread wasn’t vegan (yes, seriously.) 

To see the rapid rise in veganism has been mind blowingly up lifting. And even since 2014, the added products in grocery stores and rates of people taking charge of their health, the state of the planet and the welfare of animals has been GLORIOUS!

We’ve made a ton of mistakes in 5 years of being vegan, and I wish we’d had this list of what every vegan needs in their kitchen at the beginning of our journey. Learn from our mistakes and hit the ground running if you’re a new vegan!

PANTRY

NUTRITIONAL YEAST

(not to be confused with brewers yeast)

It sounds kinda’ gross right? When I first heard this term I was like ‘ew’ and not that keen on trying it. Well, I can assure you that it’s worth the fuss.

Because of its cheesy flavor and most types being fortified with b12, it’s a must have when you are vegan. We add it to any sort of dish that we’d like to have a cheesy flavor, dips, sauces and you can even sprinkle it on popcorn!

So far Anthony’s seems to have the best price and it’s non-GMO. You can find it here.

BLACK SALT (KALA NAMAK)

This was a huge deal to discover this (no less than 3 years in..I almost cried) because you can make food taste like eggs. It has a sulfurous smell that is undeniably ‘eggy.’

We make:

We’ve been consistently using this brand from Amazon.

SOY CURLS

GAME. CHANGER.

For real.

They are super healthy, all you have to do is rehydrate. We’ve made vegan jerky, ginger no-beef and bbq strips added to different dishes!

Butler Soy Curls are by far our favorite.

TVP CHUNKS (Soy Chunks)

Did you eat dry ribs? No joke, every time we went out to eat, my husband would order dry ribs and fries. It’s the one thing he really couldn’t get over after we went vegan.

TVP changed that for him!

We rehydrate, toss in lemon, oil, pepper. Squeeze lemon on and BAM!

VEGAN DRY RIBS.

You can find these on Amazon here, but these are probably better purchased in bulk from a local store.

HEMP HEARTS

Hemp hearts are packed full of protein plus they contain Omega-3’s AND Omega-6’s. They’re nutty in flavor and are easy to sprinkle over certain dishes, salads or vegan yoghurt. They are the main ingredient in our Vegan Ranch Dressing!

Our favorite brand is Manitoba Harvest.

BRAGG’S SOY SAUCE

If this stuff didn’t taste BETTER than regular soy sauce, I wouldn’t have it on the list. Most soy sauces contain caramel coloring, sodium benzoate and about 30-50% of your daily recommended sodium intake.

Bragg’s contains soy protein from soybeans and purified water, that’s IT. And it only has 13% of your daily recommended sodium intake. We love this stuff, we swear by it. You can find it here.

GROUND FLAX

This is on here for 2 reasons-

  1. You can make flax eggs to replace eggs in baking. All you need to do is add 1 tbsp ground flax to 3 tbsp water, stir and you have a flax egg.
  2. It’s ridiculously healthy for you and contains Omega-3’s. I didn’t even know you could GET omega-3’s without consuming friggin’ fish oil. Luckily, flax has got you covered! We make sure our kids get some of this every day if we can.

You can get golden or regular flax, they’re almost exactly the same. We use golden flax simply because we grow it on our family farm!

If you’re wanting to order it, Anthony’s has some that is organic here. Otherwise, check out Costco, they usually have a big bag!

CASHEWS

They are really about to become your new best friend.

You can make a super versatile sauce that can be sweet or savory depending on what you need.

We’ve made nacho cheese, sour cream (oh yeah, soooo good!), light and sweet fruit dip and mozzarella cheese.

We always buy the bag of cashew pieces instead of whole nuts. Basically, it’s all the broken cashews that don’t look as nice. They’re significantly cheaper than whole cashews. Check them out here.

WHEAT GLUTEN

For those with a gluten allergy, I apologize but this isn’t for you. Skip this part and read on. For the rest of you, you’re welcome.

With wheat gluten you can make seitan (all hail seitan!) and with seitan you can make-

Anthony’s has the best price I’ve found by far, click here to check it out.

AGAR AGAR POWDER

Okay, so agar agar is basically vegan gelatin. Was anyone else horrified to learn that seemingly innocent childhood favorites like gummy bears and Jell-O were made of freaking boiled body parts?! What the shit! And we’re feeding that crap to our kids? NO.

Anyway- agar is super cool because you can make vegan cheese, Jell-O, jams and jellies or to thicken things.

And it comes from Red Sea Algae, not dead body parts- whoo hoo! Look through the different brands here.

VEGAN MARGARINE

This is a staple in our kitchen, not only for toast but lot’s of baking! Some margarines are accidentally vegan but most have whey powder, buttermilk powder or some other sort of bullshit milk ingredient. So check the ingredients but when in doubt, just buy one that is fully vegan.

  • Becel Vegan Margarine
  • Earth Island
  • Earth Balance
  • Smart Balance
  • Wildbrine
  • Miyoko’s Kitchen

TAPIOCA STARCH

This shit is magical. You can use it to thicken soups and sauces and make gooey, melty mozzarella cheese. This recipe from Nora Cooks is seriously the best we’ve had, check out her Vegan Mozzarella Cheese!

TOOLS

INSTANT POT

Yep, everyone and their dog is talking about Instant Pots. But- there’s a super good reason! They. are.  the. bomb. diggity.

You can cook beans that are rock hard and dry to fresh, soft perfection in less than hour with a touch of a button! I do huge batches of beans (1-2lbs dry) and freeze them in 15oz bags so I can add them in place of canned beans. This is significantly cheaper than buying canned beans!

You can make a full blown soup in 20 minutes by setting and forgetting it.

I have cooked whole pumpkins and squash, rice, noodles, steamed veggies- you name it!

Rice pudding, hot chocolate, apple cider, oh my!

So yes, an Instant Pot for us is a MUST HAVE kitchen tool, especially for vegans! These also make insanely awesome gifts.

Check out the different prices for Instant Pots here!

ACTIFRY

When we first got our Actifry, it sat in the box for almost a year because we weren’t sold on it and didn’t know what to use it for. Finally, we dragged it out to try making some crispy tofu for a stir-fry and almost cried that we had left it in the box that long.

It is now one of our top kitchen essentials because we use it for:

  • Crispy tofu
  • Homemade french fries
  • Anything frozen like tater tots, bought fries, spring rolls, etc.
  • Avocado fries

All you do it place whatever it is you want air fried in the basket, add a smidgeon of oil and turn it on!

Click here for the best deals on an Actifry.

AIRFRYER+PRESSURE COOKER

This has got to be mentioned. Ninja upped their hybrid game. Big time. They have combined an Airfryer+Pressure Cooker+ Tender Crisper.

What does this mean?

‘You can pressure cook to lock in juices, then finish with a crisp.’

Bake, fry, roast and broil- all in one.

I’m skeptical. I mean, it’s kind of too good to be true. But they have almost 700 4.6 star reviews!

One reviewer mentioned that this one appliance replaced three other ones- an air fryer, crock pot multi cooker and small instant pot!

You can find them here.

BLENDER

We have a Vitamix. I love it! It can blend anything in a matter of seconds makes the smoothest sauces, slices through nuts like butter and can literally make a hot soup!

However-

It is a hassle to clean up. It’s big, bulky and we honestly miss our personal blender that came with our Ninja when we bought it.

So, we got the Ninja Auto IQ to have on our counter for everyday use and keep the Vitamix for those big things, like blending a batch of soup, banana nice cream or nut based sauces.

The Vitamix is an investment. We still recommend one IF:

  • You are going to be blending nuts for sauces or nut milks.
  • You need to make giant smoothies for your whole family, not just one person.
  • You want something that can juice fruits and veggies properly.
  • You want to make hot, blended soups.
  • You’re okay with a large item to clean after each use.

The awesome thing about getting a Vitamix is that you get 10 year warranty with your blender. You can check out the different kinds of Vitamix’s here.

We recommend a Ninja Mega Kitchen System if:

  • You want to have a food processor, blender, dough maker and personal blender all in one.
  • You won’t be blending things like nuts or making hot soups.
  • You’re not picky about how fine you can blend fruits/veggies for juices.

You can find the Ninja Mega Kitchen System on sale here!

We recommend a Ninja Auto IQ or small personal blender if:

  • You are only blending small amounts of things at one time.
  • You aren’t doing serious blending (ie; nuts, juicing, hot soup)
  • You love the ease of cleaning one cup instead of a huge blender.

Check out the Ninja Auto IQ system here. Or click here for the other types of small personal blenders at a lower price point.

NUT MILK BAG

Maybe I’m immature but I hate calling them that. If you are going to be making plant based milks, juicing with a blender or making vegan cheese, I highly recommend grabbing a mesh straining (nut milk) bag!

SLOW COOKER

If you don’t have a slow cooker, it’s time to invest in one. We make soups, stews, hot chocolate and ciders. It is seriously heavenly to slow cook something all day and fill your home with lovely smells!

Not to mention being able to freezer prep slow cooker meals so you can open a bag, dump it in, set it and forget it for 6 hours!

Check out the best priced Slow Cookers here.

ELECTRIC MANDOLIN

My mom got one of these babies a few weeks ago and whoooo-EEE! It’s a game changer. If you’ve ever used a mandolin I’m sure you’re aware of the nervous sweat that creeps down your back as your carrot stub gets shorter and your knuckles get dangerously close to those sharp ass blades sticking out.

Yeah, it sucks.

With an electric mandolin, there is no risk of slicing up your knuckles and it will power through veggies like you wouldn’t believe.

Here, take a look:

We recommend this Electric Mandolin, but feel free to click here to check out hand operated ones for a lower price.

SPIRALIZER

These are awesome if you are wanting to eat healthier and up your veggie game. I was so shocked that my kids were down for some raw meals from time to time- all you need is zucchini or cucumber for noodles and awesome sauce!

This one has over 4000 5 star reviews!

Grab a spiralizer here.

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Looking for delicious vegan recipes to go with all your kitchen staples?

Did you find this list of vegan staples for beginners helpful? What did we miss? Let us know in the comments if there’s anything you’d add to these vegan essentials!