One of my 2013 resolutions is to stick to a strictly vegan diet. I've known for a while about the health benefits, and now I am finally ready to make a full commitment to this. One of the comments I tend to get is about how vegans don't get enough protein in their diets, so I wanted to present a list of my vegan kitchen essentials.
1. Quinoa - high in protein, and a source of complete protein, quinoa is a staple of almost every dinner. I love mixing in beans, spices, and vegetables to keep a constantly switching variety.
2. Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk - I use this to make smoothies with frozen fruit, with chia seeds to make pudding, in my tea, pretty much anything that calls for a milk substitute. Couldn't live without it.
3. Agave Nectar - a sweetener made from the Agave plant. I use this for any recipe that calls for a sweetener, and I put a little in my tea to sweeten it up!
4. Red Beans - I used to LOVE Zatarains Red Beans and rice from the box, so these days I love adding red beans to my quinoa mixes.
5. Veggie Stock - I use this to make my quinoa instead of just boiling water. Adds a great kick of healthy flavor.
6. Earth Balance - Great plant based butter substitute. I don't use this often, but I will throw a little spoonful into my quinoa when I'm cooking it up to give a slight buttery taste.
7. Dates rolled in coconut - These are bite sizes desserts. If you've never had them, they are sweeter than you think, and I rarely want to eat more than one. I great light dessert or treat!
8. Chia seeds - Chia seeds are so, so good for you! I love making Chia seed pudding, a delicious way to work these into a vegan diet!
9. Cocoa powder - cocoa powder must always be on hand. It can be added to Chia seed pudding, or blended in with a frozen banana to make 'chocolate banana soft serve.'
10. Tofu - I usually add tofu in to my quinoa mixes, and I also make 'egg-less salad.'
11. Veganaise - I don't use this very often, but when I make 'egg-less salad' I throw a scoop in.
12. Seltzer - I was raised on Diet Coke - SO SO SO BAD FOR YOU. But I love fizzy drinks. It took a bit of getting used to, but now I love seltzer and drink it all of the time!
13. Hummus - I love dipping cut fresh veggies into a great tub of hummus. A great snack when you're craving something salty.
14. Cucumber - a key ingredient in green juice, and one of my go-to veggies for hummus dipping!
15. Celery - a key ingredient in green juice, and one of my go-to veggies for hummus dipping!
16. Green bell peppers - I love green bell peppers, but hate any other color bell peppers, weird right? I like to dip them in hummus, or chop them up and add them to my quinoa mixes.
17. Dried figs - I love popping these as a quick snack or adding to a salad.
18. Pears - I prefer pears to apples, so I keep these on hand to snack on when I'm craving sweets.
19. Avocado - best. fruit. EVER. If I could LIVE off of avocados alone, I would.
20. Bananas - I don't eat bananas often, but I always keep some chopped up and frozen in my freezer in case I'm craving ice cream and need to make a little soft serve.
21. Chickpeas - great for salads and mixed into quinoa dishes.
22. Black Beans - great for salads and mixed into quinoa dishes.
23. Salsa - always one of my favorites. Sometimes I like to use salsa on my salad instead of dressing.
24. Lara bars - I always have a Lara bar in my bag in case I get really hungry and need a snack. My favorite flavor is Cookie Dough.
25. Kombucha - I just recently started drinking this in the past year. I used to be SO scared of it, but now that I've tried it, I love it.
Have you made a resolution to eat better? I'd love some great vegan recommendations, what are YOU eating?