By Vegan Action Staff and Paige Baxter

Whether you’re a vegan veteran or easing yourself into a plant-based lifestyle, it’s helpful to have certain food items on hand. When I first became vegan, it wasn’t entirely obvious which ingredients would level up my cooking, but with the help of friends, I figured it out. The Vegan Action team has compiled a list of some of ingredients we cannot live without to help you on you make your plant-based journey more delicious and flavorful.

  • Almond milk – For sweet or savory meals, April says she loves to add a splash or more of almond milk. She also likes to drink a glass for heartburn or stomach issues.
  • Bouillon – It can be used as the base for soups and stews or to make rice and quinoa more flavorful. Julie says she loves Edward & Sons cubes and Better Than Bouillon’s paste.
  • Brown rice – It’s always helpful to have a healthy whole grain in your pantry. Plus, brown rice is high in fiber and antioxidants. Katelyn says she usually likes to make a big batch for the week to add to lunch or dinner dishes.
  • Canned chickpeas – They’re a healthy source of protein and are a great alternative in most dishes. Kaicee loves to use them in tossed salads, tacos, sandwiches, curries, and stir fries. “Truly always have these,” she says.
  • Canned diced tomatoes – Alanna says this is an essential ingredient for soups and curries or homemade sauces.
  • Chocolate chips – Whether you need a snack or are making a baked good, chocolate chips are perfect for either. Rebecca uses the brands Enjoy Life or Pascha Chocolate.
  • Earth Balance Vegan Butter – While butter may not be essential, it can certainly be used in a lot of recipes. Andy says he also puts it on vegetables and toast.
  • Garlic powder – This versatile seasoning “deserves to be in every dish,” says Krissi. Try it in your net meal!
  • Nutritional yeast – This cheeze substitute plays a vital role in most vegan cooking. With a good dose of Vitamin B12, Summer says this alternative goes great in any dish. “It’s nutritious and delicious,” she adds.
  • Onion powder – Flavor is so important. Paige says she uses this seasoning in almost every single savory meal she cooks. Combine it with garlic powder and it’s a match made in heaven. Add it to homemade sauces and dressings, curries, stir fries, and more. You won’t regret it!
  • Soy sauce – Use it when making savory dressings or gravy. Krissi says it also pairs well with sautéed mushrooms and is crucial in all Asian dishes.