Transitioning to a plant-based diet can be difficult especially when you don’t know what you will need to buy or where the items are located in the grocery store. When starting out, don’t try to be perfect. You will learn what is plant-based and what isn’t as you go.
Here are a few of the staples that we always have in our pantry. Because we eat so much fruit and vegetables, I buy the bulk of produce at Costco. The fruit usually only lasts a few days in my house. We also buy some other items from Costco in bulk. It saves a shopping trip and we use these items so often. For extra protein, Alex adds Textured Vegetable Protein to many of these recipes or has a vegan protein shake 2 a day. He soaks the Textured Vegetable Protein in hot water and adds it to his meal before eating.
Garlic (peeled in a bag)
Tahini (in Mediterranean Section)
Kinds of vinegar: Balsamic, Red Wine, Apple Cider, and White Wine Vinegar
Coconut Milk (bulk or found in a can in Asian Section- cream substitution)
Quinoa (near beans)
Black bean (bulk)
Lentils (near beans)
Bachan’s Japanese Barbecue Sauce (bulk)
Nutritional Yeast (Target and Trader Joe baking aisle)
Oat or Almond Milk
Parsley (fresh or dried)
Basil (fresh or dried)
Salt and Pepper
Start with these recipes for dinner:
Quinoa Stuffed Peppers– For a quicker meal, dice the pepper instead and sauté with the onion. Add vegan cheese to the mixture at the end and yes use vegan cheese you won’t notice a difference. Eat with Tortilla chips or by itself. To take this up another level, add Soy Chorizo from Trader Joe’s. Just cut the casing and add the chorizo. So good!!!!
Mushroom Spaghetti Aglio Olio– I use either green spinach pasta, chickpea pasta, or lentil pasta. Also for Alex, I use vegan parmesan cheese, but I also believe regular parmesan won’t kill you. Lastly, I buy mini portabella mushrooms weekly in bulk and use them for this recipe. Super easy and quick.
Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas with Herby Tahini– A new Favorite from Paige At Last Ingredient. Paige has a nice collection of Vegetarian/Vegan Recipes and a must-follow on Instagram.
One pan Chickpea Orzo Skillet– I found this recipe by following Carleigh at plantyou on Instagram. This is another quick recipe that my whole family loved!
Homemade Hummus– I love Ina Garten’s hummus recipe from the Food Network. This is a great starter recipe and you can add or take away what you don’t like. I think homemade hummus is better than store-bought hummus, but store-bought hummus is great when you don’t have time.
I make enough of each recipe so it could be lunch for the next day which means sometimes doubling the recipe. Also, we try to have a salad with at least one meal a day. Our kids love our homemade Vinaigrette dressing. I have tripled my original recipe so I have enough for a few days.
For the homemade dressing:
6 garlic cloves chopped or minced
1 to 1 ½ teaspoon of salt
1 to 1 ½ teaspoon of pepper
½ to 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard
¾ cup of red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar.
¾ cup of extra virgin olive oil
I sometimes add 1 ½ teaspoon agave nectar for sweetness. Also, you can change the type of vinegar. Champagne vinegar or white balsamic vinegar are great choices when you need a change. Also, you can add chopped shallot. Have fun adding different ingredients to your dressing. Add Quinoa to your salad for protein or chickpeas.
Don’t panic if you are missing an ingredient. Google what could be a good substitution or leave it out altogether. I usually prep on Sunday by cutting lettuce and other vegetables as well as making pasta, quinoa, or rice ahead of time. I will have to cut more vegetables later in the week, but this helps me early in the week. We don’t claim
to be experts or perfect, but by following a plant-based diet, Alex has lost almost 60 pounds and lowered his cholesterol tremendously. Continue to check our blog for more of our favorite recipes.