If I’m cooking plant-based, what are the most important pantry staples to keep on hand?
These are my go-to items:
Legumes. From black beans and chickpeas to red, green and black lentils, legumes can become the basis for many plant-based meals. Home-cooked beans will taste best, but canned are great for convenience. Lentils cook quickly and can be added to soups, salads and curries.
Grains. Black and red rice, quinoa, and millet are full of fiber and protein and can be paired with veggies and dressings for an easy, satisfying meal.
Nuts/seeds/dried fruit. Nuts can be turned into plant-based cheeses; chia seeds can be used in place of eggs as a binding agent; raisins and cranberries give a subtle sweetness when needed.
Nutritional yeast. Savory and cheesy, it provides an added layer of umami richness to soups and stews and is especially good for homemade kale chips and popcorn.
Tahini. A necessity when making hummus. Plus, it’s a great base for dressings and sauces.
Spices. Cumin, curry powder, chili powder, garlic and onion powders, and dried oregano make meals come to life.
Maple syrup. A natural sweetener that is great for baking, as well as sauces and dressings.
Chef Meredith Haaz at The Ranch 4.0 at Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village in California is co-author of Food Food Food, a plant-based cookbook hitting shelves this spring.
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