I’ve been full on vegetarian for about seven years now, and before that mostly vegetarian for 8 years. I’ve never been a big fan of meat, and luckily my other half isn’t either – he’s vegetarian too. In our years of vegetarianism we’ve really honed down our vegetarian kitchen staples, and know the most versatile and useful items to have to make any meal. Even when we’re down to not very much food, we can pretty much always whip up a stew or chili with what we’ve got left.
After the jump you’ll find my list of vegetarian kitchen staples:
Vegetarian Kitchen Staples – Dried Foods
Bicarbonate of Soda
Vegetable Stock/Bullion (I prefer the low salt versions)
Lentils (dried or tinned)
Variety of Tinned Beans – canellini, butter beans, kidney beans, borlotti beans, black eyed beans, etc. You can never have too many.
You can buy dried pulses, but I prefer tinned. With dried pulses you often have to soak them overnight before you can cook with them, and to be honest I’m just not that organised!
Tomatoes – again, you can never have too many tins of tomatoes. They’re probably the most versatile and important thing to have in your cupboard.
Sweet Chili Sauce
We don’t tend to use much in the way of other oils, so we always keep a big bottle of olive oil to hand.
Herbs and Spices
I could list them all, but I have so many – we have a drawer full of herbs and spices (as you can see in the photo above) and a dish full of them too! Our most used spices are Chinese Five Spice, Garam Masala, Basil, Rosemary, Thyme, Coriander, chili, cumin and Paprika. Herbs and spices are your best friend as a vegetarian – they can give so much flavour and taste to anything.
Our vegetables vary from season to season – these are just the ones we seem to buy most often.
I find halloumi and feta in particular very versatile vegetarian kitchen staples, and can really make a meal. Cheddar is good for grating on pastas, potatoes, chillis, beans, and for classic toasted cheese, when you just want some good old fashioned comfort food. Mozzarella is good for home-made pizzas and pasta bakes, and in Mediterranean salads.
Plain Yoghurt – brilliant in curries as well as being a dessert.
Of course, most of our vegetables and cheese and things live in here too. I just thought it would easier to break them down into separate categories, just in case you thought we don’t refrigerate anything. We may live in Scotland but it’s not that cold (some of the time at least!)!
Frozen Vegetables – a variety
Frozen Fruits – berries keep especially well
Quorn Sausages – we’ve tried a few different brands of sausages. Quorn is our favourite – we find the Linda McCartney ones in particular a bit salty for our tastes.
Quorn Hotdogs – we love the hotdogs. It’s a bit of a weekend treat for us.
As we have a few different breads we tend to keep them in the freezer and defrost as and when we need them. We’d like to move more towards baking our own bread.
That’s pretty much it as far as our vegetarian kitchen staples go. We have a few other things, and some things change from season to season, but by far and away these are the most useful and well used things in our kitchen. What do you think – have I missed any vegetarian kitchen staples that you love and use all of the time? Let me know in the comments below!