After you have decided to become vegan there are a few obstacles which you will face and will overcome for me one of the most difficult obstacles I faced was the shopping list. Suddenly faced with the prospect of new shops with different layouts, some shops with very expensive products and some that seemed too good to be true, It seemed like it would take a lifetime to master the weekly shop and actually have enough food to do me a week. In reality, the shopping was mastered within a year. As a member of a number of vegan groups online I realised that I am not the only one who finds this hurdle tricky to overcome. So as I set out to do my shopping this week I decided it would be an opportunity to put together a helpful guide for all my readers. First 10 helpful hints when designing your own vegan shopping list.
- Milk substitutes – You can choose from Soya, Rice, Oat, Hemp, and Cashew and plenty more it will take some experimentation to find the milk that suits you and it will be an interesting journey for your taste buds. I settled with soya.
- Butter substitutes – Try to limit these were possible as they are heavily processed but they make the most wonderful mashed potatoes (My boyfriend’s speciality)
- Cheese substitutes – Again these are heavily processed so should be limited. Also take care here as just because a cheese is dairy free does not mean it is vegan. Some manufacturers tend to use casein (From cows milk) to bind the cheese. I eventually began to make my own cashew cheese which is delicious and quick to prepare. https://pie-or-2.org/2017/11/13/meat-free-monday-2-vegan-cashew-cheese/ If you’re buying commercial vegan cheeses I’ve fallen for “Nature Moi’s Smokey vegan cheese” its delicious on toasties.
- Egg substitutes – Ill be honest I haven’t purchased many of the commercially available egg substitutes as I tend to only use eggs for baking and two tablespoons of ground flax seeds and six tablespoons of water blended make the equivalent of two egg whites easy and oh so much cheaper!
- Meat substitutes – I limit my intake of meat substitutes to a treat but when I do eat them its Linda McCartney foods all the way! The sausages are fabulous on a vegan breakfast roll, the hoisin duck goes excellent in a stir-fry, and the wellingtons are too good to share. These are excellent to have stored in the freezer for when your omnivore friends come round for dinner.
- Sweeteners – Fortunately, I live in Ireland where sugar and bone char never meet but if you are living in an area where this is the common practice I recommend stevia – It’s natural and its sweet. Make sure to check the ingredients for dextrose though.
- Vegan sauces – I’m chips and mayo kind of girl and did try a variety of vegan mayonnaise’s but I found them to be expensive and not so tasty. I prefer to whip some up at the beginning of the week and place in the fridge to do me. https://pie-or-2.org/2017/11/10/vegan-mayonaise/ The other sauce used in my house is ketchup most of these are vegan but beware of high fructose corn syrup.
- Nuts, seeds and dried fruits – Fantastic for adding much-needed fibre to every meal, these will quickly become a staple in your house. Used for toppings on many breakfasts and salads and as an ingredient in many meals. You can never go wrong with a packet of cashews in the house.
- Vegetables – It really should go without saying but there are going to be a lot more veggies in your house now. Kale is ideal for a snack, as is tender stem broccoli, corn on the cob, and carrot sticks. Get your vegetables as fresh as you can. Buy frozen if your budget is tight. Vegetables are frozen when they are at their peak ripeness so you are not sacrificing nutrients.
- Protein – The age-old question. Plants and grains not only have complete proteins but they are often cheaper and tastier than their meat counterparts. Lentils, Tofu, Quinoa, and Chickpeas (Don’t throw away that water), Chia seeds, Broccoli, Nutritional Yeast, and Brown Rice are going to star in your future dishes. Better stock up!
The following is my shopping list for this week:
- Tomatoes – I buy both fresh and canned – The canned variety is fantastic for many recipes especially chilli. I use the fresh for soups or salads.
- Corn on the cob
- Bell Peppers
- Brussel sprouts
- Eggplant /Aubergine
- Potatoes (Roosters)
Dairy Free Items
- Soya Milk
- Sesame Bagels – Excellent toasted and topped with cashew cheese.
- Brown Rice
Beans and legumes
- Kidney Beans
- Pine Nuts
- Nutritional Yeast
- Chia Seeds
Now it is key to remember that obviously there are some staples on this list that I didn’t buy this week so items to include if you’re beginning your vegan/plant-based journey are
Spices – You will accumulate these over time start buying as you find recipes that require them. If a recipe requests something fresh and it is unavailable or out of budget half the amount and use dried, this has always worked for me.
Oils – I use olive oil or coconut when I’m cooking but find it is always good to have some vegetable oil on hand if I’m making mayonnaise or some vegan cheeses.
So there you have it a vegan shopping list! Is there anything you think I’m missing out on? What substitutes do you prefer? What is a staple in your home? Let me know in the comments!