How to Set up a Vegan Kitchen

Veganism is a form of vegetarianism that eliminates all animal products. It is a difficult, but rewarding, life choice. Taking some time to prepare your kitchen will help make it easier to experience the many benefits of a vegan diet.

EditIn a Hurry?

To set up a vegan kitchen, purchase vegan cookbooks and read vegan cooking blogs to learn about popular vegan recipes and cooking techniques. Invest in high quality knives and cutting boards, and consider buying appliances that many vegan cooks find helpful, such as a food processor. Organize your pantry by grouping together and labeling important vegan ingredients like grains and beans, canned goods, and nut and seed oils and butters. Scroll down for more information on how to stock your refrigerator with protein replacements and dairy alternatives!

EditSteps

EditAcquiring the Necessary Tools

  1. Browse for vegan cooking inspiration. As a beginner, it might be difficult to find replacements for eggs in your baked goods or to find substitutes for popular meat products. A good vegan cookbook can help to expand your knowledge of vegan cooking and provide you with suggestions for vegan meals tailored to your tastes. You can also browse the internet for popular vegan blogs and vegan cooking apps.
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  2. Invest in high-quality cookware and kitchen appliances. The type and quality of gadgets you have in your kitchen will encourage you to experiment with recipes at home and help speed up your cooking time. When preparing meals, a lot of your time will be devoted to chopping, prepping, and cooking, so having the right tools will support your efforts.
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    • Cookware should be stainless or cast iron. At minimum, make sure to have a soup pot, a stir-fry pan, and a saucepan.[1]
    • A food processor and/or high-powered blender are necessities for soups, purees, and smoothies. A Vitamix is a common blender found in many vegan kitchens. It is pricey, but extremely durable.[2]
    • A slow-cooker is a time-saver. For those that are busy, this tool allows you to put your ingredients, leave it unattended for several hours, and return home to an aromatic, warm meal.
  3. Have high-quality cooking knives. Your knives will undergo heavy usage, so make sure they are light and durable. Dull or poor quality knives can make it more difficult to cut vegetables properly. Have paring knives, chef knives, and medium slicers on hand.
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  4. Have a strong wooden cutting board (or two)These are just as essential as having good knives. You will need to wash these by hand. Avoid plastic cutting boards, as cutting on these leaves grooves which can become breeding grounds for bacteria.[3]
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EditOrganizing Your Food Pantry

  1. Set apart all your grains and beans. Legumes, pasta and rice, and whole grains are all essential for a healthy and balanced vegan diet. To keep them organized, store them in clear jars with labels. That way, you can easily see when you need to stock up.
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    • Beans, lentils, and peas are extremely nutritious and provide necessary nutrients like iron, fiber, and protein.[4] They are also extremely versatile. Use black beans to make vegetable burgers or make a warm lentil soup.[1]
    • Whole grains such as quinoa and oats are a great source of protein and can thicken stews and soups.
    • Pasta, rice, and noodles make for a quick and easy vegan meal. Vegan pasta dishes are rich and hearty, and they provide an alternative low-fiber option to whole grains or legumes.[5]
  2. Group your canned goods together. They have long shelf lives and are very convenient. Canned vegetables usually come already sliced– canned tomatoes, in particular, are loaded with healthy vitamins and antioxidants and will allow you to make quick sauces, soups and stews. Canned beans are also very handy, as you cut down on bean soaking time.
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  3. Have a separate section for your baking needs. Whole grain flour, vegan shortening, baking soda, and baking powder can be grouped together. High-quality flour can be milled by hand or purchased already milled and used to create vegan desserts and baked goods. [6]
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  4. Keep a stash of nut and seed butter and oils. Vegans consume less total and saturated fat than other diets. However, there is also an absence of healthy fatty acids. To achieve the recommended fat intake, consume oils, nuts, and seeds. [7]
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    • Sprinkling nut and seed oils on your salads, such as sesame seed oil or coconut oil, makes for a healthy and tasty dressing.
    • Having a variety of nut butter like peanut butter, almond butter, or cashew butter should easily supplement your fat intake.
    • Use olive and canola oil for traditional butter in baking recipes. [8]
  5. Set up a spice rack for interesting flavors. To quickly reach them when you’re cooking, have a separate section for your savory spices, like turmeric, curry, oregano, and cayenne. Keep a separate section for your sweeter spices, including rose water, cardamom, and cinnamon. [9]
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EditStocking Your Refrigerator

  1. Visit your farmer’s market for local produce. Stock up on the week’s fruits and vegetables at the market, which often features live music and artisanal products, like homemade jams. This way, you can support your local organic farmers, enjoy the environment, and eat seasonal produce. Label and organize your fruits and vegetable for easy access and to limit spoiling. [10]
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  2. Have a variety of alternative proteins on hand. Tofu is an essential for vegan kitchens, and it can be fun to experiment using it in different dishes. Use extra-firm tofu for baking and frying, silken tofu for dressings and puddings, and dried tofu for soups and dressings. Tempeh takes a little longer to learn to prepare but can last a few weeks in the fridge and several months in the freezer. [11]
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  3. Find dairy replacements. Almond milk makes a delicious addition to your morning breakfast, as does non-dairy yogurt. There’s also vegan cheese out there, so you’ll have a delicious topping in your hands in no time!
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EditTips

  • It is important to share your choice to become a vegan with friends and family members so that they can prepare for and accommodate your meals.
  • Keep a food diary in your initial stages, so you can monitor your nutrient intake and make modifications if necessary.

EditWarnings

  • A poorly-constructed vegan diet can lead to nutrient deficiencies, like iron and omega-3 fatty acids. Individuals who are attempting a vegan lifestyle should carefully monitor their iron, protein, and healthy fat intake.
  • Consider taking iron or B12 supplements, especially if you are prone to iron or B12 deficiency. [12]
  • Read labels carefully. Many seemingly vegan-friendly products may have animal byproducts in the ingredients.

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