My Top 5 “Must-Have” Ingredients

onions

My favorites change as time goes on and I try new things, but these five are pretty much standard.

  1. Nutritional Yeast
  2. Onions
  3. Oatmeal
  4. Almond Milk
  5. Flax Seeds

Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional Yeast is an ingredient you’ll see a lot of around here. I use it in chickpea omelets, nut milk cheese, casseroles, soups, stews – it’s an essential not only for flavor, but it’s also an excellent vegan source of B12. A little goes a long way but it’s cheap too! Bob’s Red Mill Nutritional Yeast is about $0.79 per ounce, and if you buy it from the bulk bins it’s even cheaper.

Onions

Almost every savory dish that I cook begins with chopped onion. Onions are one of the most economical vegetables that you can buy. They are a bargain (I’ve found them as low as $.50 per pound) and not only are they a flavor powerhouse, they provide your body with potassium, fiber, vitamin C and vitamin B-6.

Oatmeal

I use a lot of oatmeal. I eat it as hot cereal with apples, walnuts and maple syrup, I use it instead of rice or breadcrumbs in veggie burgers and loaves, I make delicious cookies with it – I even use it in my homemade dog food! I buy the old-fashioned rolled oats. A big bag at Bi-Mart costs less than $3. Oatmeal provides fiber, protein, vitamin A, vitamin B-6, iron, calcium and magnesium. I also use steel cut oats as a substitute for bulgur in veggie burgers or loaves.

Almond Milk

This is a wonderful substitute for dairy milk. I use it for everything, with one exception – I use soy milk for cappuccino (it foams much better). While whole almonds are much more nutritious, almond milk does provide a bit of protein and fiber. Commercial almond milk is usually fortified with calcium, vitamin A and vitamin D, and sometimes vitamin C. I pay about $2.89 for 1/2 gallon at Fred Meyer. You can make your own almond milk with soaked almonds and water. I have not tried this yet, but intend to soon.

Flax Seeds

Flax seeds are the richest source of omega-3 fatty acids that you can buy. They are also an excellent source of fiber, protein, vitamin B1, Manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and selenium. I grind them into meal to use as egg substitutes in baking – 1 T. ground flax seed and 2 T. water = one egg. I also put them in my dog’s homemade food. A 24-oz bag of Bob’s Red Mill flax seeds is about $8-9. You can get them much cheaper at the bulk bins of your supermarket.

My next ingredient to try is miso paste – it’s on order and should be here by next week. I want to make this stretchy vegan cheeze from CookingWithPlants on Youtube:

Anja from CookingWithPlants is a wonderful cook. She also does a cauliflower “minced beef” that has become one of my staples. I’ll soon be doing a post on my favorite vegan food blogs and vlogs. Stay tuned!

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