For those used to the typical American meat- and dairy-based diet, it can be hard to imagine what a vegan diet looks like. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked, “What do you eat?” So, I thought it might be helpful to post a list of vegan staple foods that we keep in the house, in addition to plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
I eat oatmeal practically every morning. It’s fast, easy, and satisfying. I don’t bother with the instant variety, it’s too processed and the texture is too much like paste. I prefer rolled oats, which I buy in the bulk foods section of my grocery store. A month’s supply costs me less than $2, and it cooks up great in the microwave.
2. Canned beans
Our favorites are pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans, and garbanzos. We use them in soups, chili, salads, or on their own. A simple plate of beans and rice topped with salsa and avocado is a quick and satisfying meal.
3. Brown rice
Brown rice is healthier than white, but takes a long time to cook. On the weekend I use a rice cooker to make 4-6 cups of brown rice that we can use in meals during the week.
Hummus is a delicious spread made from chickpeas. Sometimes I make my own, but store bought works, too. We like the Sabra and Trader Joe’s brands. For a delicious wrap sandwich, spread a generous amount of hummus on a whole wheat tortilla, top with lettuce and veggies, roll up and eat.
5. Whole wheat tortillas
As mentioned in #4, tortillas are good to have on hand to make wrap sandwiches, including classic peanut butter and jelly.
Lentils are packed with protein and fiber. They can be used in soups and stews, as a side dish, or to make Dal—a lentil porridge common in India.
7. Nuts and nut butters
Almonds, walnuts, and peanuts make great snacks on their own. Nuts are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin E, protein, and fiber. Try them on salads, in oatmeal, and in stir-frys. Nut butters are wonderful on sandwiches, or as a dip with fruit such as apples.
Edamame are young soybeans. You can find pre-cooked edamame in your grocery store’s freezer section. To eat, simply scrape the beans out of the pod with your teeth. Another high-protein snack, edamame are delicious plain with a little salt, or with other seasonings. This recipe for Edamame with Some Latin Flair is a regular for movie nights at our house.
9. Soy milk
Soy milk has more protein and fiber than dairy milk. We use it on cereal, as a replacement for cow’s milk in recipes, and in fruit smoothies.
Salsa is hands-down my favorite condiment. I use it on practically everything, even in place of salad dressing.
I hope this offers a clearer picture of our vegan diet. Vegan convenience foods are also becoming more available. I’ll post on that topic soon.