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Of all the preconceived notions about vegetarian and vegan diets, the biggest is that the meals are flavorless AF. But if you don’t have the right plant-based ingredients to add to your dishes, that stereotype might just ring true.
To prove the omnivores wrong — and keep your taste buds excited — stock your pantry with these 10 vegan essentials, including ones that offer bold flavor, whole-grain goodness, and meat-free protein. With each of these items on-hand (whether these specific products or your own favorite version of each one), you’ll just minutes away from great vegan meals.
Vegan Essential to Try: Dark Horse Umami Bouillon. Made from foods like mushrooms, seaweed, leeks, and tomatoes, this organic instant bouillon gives deep, satisfying umami flavor to plant-based soups, stews, sauces, and marinades.
Vegan Essential to Try: Monograno Felicetti Farro Pasta. This artisanal pasta is made in the Italian Alps and uses single varieties of wheat. The whole-grain farro has a taste and texture slightly reminiscent of delicious crispy bread. It’s high in protein too, adding more nutrients to your plant-based dishes.
Vegan Essential to Try: Stony Brook Roasted Pumpkin Seed Oil. When a dish requires a little extra oomph, add a drizzle of this oil as a finisher. Its transformative flavor has hints of toasted sesame, roasted mushrooms, and pumpkin, and perfectly complements salads, grilled vegetables, and fish. You’ll never want to use olive oil again.
Vegan Essential to Try: Rancho Gordo Beans. Whether you choose black, pinto, or cranberry, the heirloom variety of beans from Rancho Gordo will give you a new appreciation of this protein-rich plant food. Use in salads, pastas, dips — or almost anything.
Vegan Essential to Try: Sauer Frau Squeezable Kraut. A plant-based diet needs fermented foods for a dose of gut-friendly probiotics. Enter this innovative product that transforms sauerkraut into a condiment to spread on sandwiches, top grain bowls, and stir into roasted vegetables. It’s even available in three addictive flavors, including classic and Bavarian.
Vegan Essential to Try: Sandhill Organic Wild Rice. This gluten-free grain has a rich, nutty flavor, and it’s high in fiber, protein, magnesium, zinc, and B and E vitamins. Cook it as a tasty side, use it to make rice burgers, or swap it for steel-cut oats at breakfast.
Vegan Essential to Try: Rao’s Homemade Marinara. Savory and robust, this sauce tastes like you made it, with chunks of Italian plum tomatoes mixed with basil, oregano, and garlic. Toss it with your favorite noodles, use it as a pizza topping, or make it the base for a tomatoey braise to serve over vegetables.