Let’s face it: if you’re just starting out as a vegan, or perhaps you're feeling a bit bored and uninspired with what you're eating, it can be tough to come up with new recipes. Well, I've got your back. Check out my list down below of versatile, affordable vegan ingredients that you can let inspire you to tantalize your taste buds as you please.
No vegan list would be complete without the almighty avo. Internet popularity and a culture obsessed with super-foods have made the green giant pretty accessible in nearly every grocery store, which is a huge win for vegans! This little fruit is packed with health benefits, and super easy to use. Blend it up with olive oil to make a green goddess pasta sauce; mash it with lime, tomatoes, onion and cilantro for guacamole; or even slice it nicely on some bread with your favorite citrus juice for toast that has taken instagram by storm (for a good reason). Buy them at your local Aldi and save a bunch of money!
You can't go wrong with your favorite pasta; inexpensive, filling, and satisfying all at once. I challenge you to try new shapes and flavors- you don't have to stick to Angel hair or elbow macaroni! Whole Foods keeps a butternut squash and sage ravioli as a staple in their freezers, and Aldi has tomato basil flavored pasta amongst others. Top it off with an interesting sauce, like Trader Joe’s marinara, and you're good to go!
3. Chickpeas/Garbanzo beans.
Whatever you call them, these little beans are every vegan’s dream! Cans of chickpeas will run you for little more than a dollar and leave you with servings of delicious lean protein with tons of uses. Grab a handful and sprinkle on top of a spinach salad. Throw them in the food processor with some lemon and olive oil for a simple, fresh hummus. Or, my personal favorite: dry them with a paper towel as best as possible, and dust generously with paprika and black pepper to bake in a piping hot oven. (They taste like tiny, crunchy spiced potatoes—you're welcome in advance!)
4. Grapefruit (or your favorite citrus).
You'll be surprised how many purposes a citrus fruit can serve. If you chose grapefruit, sprinkle some raw sugar on top, grab a spoon, and dive into a fresh, light snack. Use the juice in water to make you more excited to hydrate. Squeeze into some tea for added freshness or into your morning OJ for an added kick. Invest in a zester and make everything from salad to cereal a little more exciting. Don't throw away the flesh, either! Rub across your face for instant brightness and rejuvenate any hyperpigmentation or scars. (Seriously. Way better than the synthetic Vitamin C you'll find in fancy creams and lotions).
5. Potatoes (or your favorite seasonal root veggie).
These are awesome to keep on hand because they won't break the bank and can turn out to be a filling appetizer or meal that impresses guests with virtually no effort from you. Seriously. Scrub them, slice them, and add some olive oil, coarse salt, and rosemary before baking and the flavor you get will make anyone think you've been secretly hiding that you're a world-class chef. Slice into thin circles and fry up with some tofu scramble for a better-than-your-local-diner breakfast at any time of the day. Potatoes are kind of the chocolate of the savory foods: add them to anything and it instantly becomes better.
May this list be your best friend next time you find yourself cold and alone in the frozen aisle. Here's to the trials and tribulations of a plant-based diet!