Vegan Cooking Essentials

The New Vegan Meal Toolbox

Certain cooking tools, specific ingredients, recipe staples, vitamins — are all essentials required for vegan meal prep or cooking. This page highlights various “Vegan Essentials.” Think of this as a “#NewVegan” meal tool box.

Cooking Tools

Sides and Recipe Essentials

The sides listed here can accompany most main courses.

  • Rice
  • Polenta
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Home Fries
  • Quinoa
  • Fresh Vegetable Broth (this is not a side, but a common ingredient for a lot of dishes)
  • Baked potato
  • Pasta
  • Legumes
  • Gooey cheese


These are absolute staples and offer a lot of flexibility with regards to how they can be served. For variety and easy meal prep, focus on preparing one type of legume a week and prepare different meals throughout the week with the leftovers. For example, one cup of dried black beans can yield a side for 2 weeknight meals for a family of four. And you might even still have leftovers if you prepare them risotto style one night. Legumes are a nice way of stretching your meal and dollar, while giving you the essential goodness you need as a vegan.

  • Black beans – can be cooked alone or with rice risotto style (congri)
  • Garbanzo beans (chick peas) – can be cooked alone, used in a curry, hummus, falafel
  • Red beans – can be cooked alone, with rice, and the main ingredient in a vegan chili
  • Split peas – can be cooked along or used in a soup
  • Lentils – can be cooked alone or in a curry

The Pantry – Essential Common Ingredients and Spices for Most Dishes

Recommend keeping these in stock at all times

  • Olive oil – used in, well, everything
  • Garlic – a MUST
  • Onions
  • Tomato – for tomato sauce, salads, and used in cooking legumes
  • White wine – as a base for a variety of dishes
  • Red wine – used as a base for a variety of dishes
  • Oregano
  • Cumin – a critical spice for all legumes
  • Cloves – a critical spice, specifically for black beans
  • Potatoes
  • Package of dried shiitake mushrooms – used for vegetable broth
  • Course corn meal (polenta)
  • 1 bag of each kind of legume (dried)
  • Whole wheat flour – for pizza
  • Soy sauce – used in many dishes, but critical in the vegetable broth

Essential Vitamins

  • Vegan Multi-vitamin pack