Cookbook

FYI: Transitioning to a Vegetarian/Vegan Diet

Many of the natural, "whole foods" upon which a vegan diet is based are easily found in local produce/farmer's markets (in season) and/or in well-stocked supermarkets. You shouldn't have a problem finding an abundance of fresh, colorful produce. In lieu of, or to supplement fresh, you can purchase frozen fruits and vegetables, if necessary. If you decide to "go organic," you might have to seek out a store that has a variety of organic produce, though more and more supermarkets are expanding their organic sections. Supermarkets will also have a variety of canned and dried legumes (dried beans and peas), and probably a small variety of whole grains. You may need to visit whole/natural/health food stores to find raw nuts and seeds (Usually raw is best; you can always roast them lightly in the oven, if you'd like) as well as a wider selection of legumes and whole grains. These stores are a fun place to seek out new taste experiences and prime your idea pump!

Below is a list of ingredients, besides produce, that are staples in many vegan recipes. Some of these may be found in traditional supermarkets; many will have to be purchased in whole/natural/health food stores; a few may need to be purchased online.

Dried (and/or canned) Legumes (Beans/Peas):
Edamame beans
Soy beans (dried)
Pinto beans
Black beans
Garbanzo beans
Lima/Butter beans
Kidney beans
Red beans
Black-eyed peas
Split peas (green and yellow)
Lentils
Red lentils

Whole Grains and Flours:
Whole wheat flour
Whole wheat pastry flour
Vital ("Instant") wheat gluten (used to make "seitan" (wheat meat); as a binder etc.)
Brown rice
Whole oat groats, steel-cut oats and old-fashioned rolled oats
Whole barley
Whole wheat
Bulgur
Quinoa
Whole wheat couscous
Whole grain pastas

Nuts & Seeds:
Flax seeds/chia seeds (sources of Omega3)
Raw walnuts, cashews, almonds and pecans, Brazil nuts, pistachios
Raw sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds

Soy Products (see also Dairy Replacers & Beans):
Tofu, silken (firm and extra firm)
Tofu, water-packed (firm and extra firm)
Tempeh (cultured soybeans)
Dehydrated TVP
(Commercially made "veggie meats" -- only as a transitional "bridge" or for an occasional treat - see previous post)

Dairy Replacers:
Soy, and/or Almond, Coconut, Rice Milk (soy has the most protein, but not tolerated by all)
Soy Creamer and/or Coconut Milk and Cream (BTW, the "Coconut Cream" listed here is not the sweetened variety used in drinks, but an unsweetened coconut milk with a higher fat content; it can actually be whipped like cream)
Soy Sour Cream (my favorite to date is Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream); alternatively, you can make your own from tofu
-- recipes are in vegan cookbooks and online
Soy (or other non-dairy) yogurt
Soy or Rice cream cheese (again, I like Tofutti Brand), and other cheeses; it may take some experimenting to find ones your family likes -- there ARE some recipes for homemade versions in some of the vegan cookbooks

Egg Replacers:
EnerG Egg Replacer (I also like/use a product called Instead of Eggs, but it's a little harder to find)
Ground flaxseed (or grind your own)

Alternate Sweeteners & Sweets etc:
Pure Maple Syrup
Agave Nectar/Syrup
Stevia
Sucanat (stands for Sugar CAne Natural; a less processed form of sugar
Vegan chocolate chips (optional; some national "store brands" are dairy free - check the labels); you may also want to experiment with Carob chips and carob powder
Vegan (soy-compatible) pudding mixes (optional; my favorite are the Mori-Nu Mates Pudding Mixes)
Vegan gelatin-type dessert mixes (optional)
Vegan Marshmallows/Marshmallow Creme (optional)

Alternative Thickening agents:
Clear Jel and Instant Clear Jel
Arrowroot powder
Agar (agar-agar)

Seasonings/Coloring agents:
McKay's Chicken-style and Beef-style Instant Broth and Seasoning (select the Vegan versions, if this is preferred)
Bragg Liquid Aminos (you may substitute low-sodium soy sauce)
Nutritional Yeast Flakes (look for Red Star Brand; this is not "brewer's yeast", nor "active" yeast -- it has no leavening power, but is used to impart a "cheesy" flavor)
Miso (a paste made from soybeans and sometimes grains, used to flavor soups, gravies etc.)
Mrs. Dash salt free seasoning blends
Sazon Goya (used as much for coloring as flavoring; you will want to AVOID if anyone in your family is sensitive to MSG)
Turmeric (used as much for coloring as flavoring)

Dressings, Dips, Oils and Vinegars:
Vegenaise (vegan mayonnaise, by Follow Your Heart; you can also make a very good homemade vegan mayonnaise)
Nayonaise (a vegan sandwich spread by Nasoya, in my opinion more like Miracle Whip, but some people use it as mayonnaise)
Tahini (sesame seed paste)
Flaxseed Oil
Olive Oil
Grapeseed Oil
Rice Vinegar
Balsamic Vinegar
Ume Plum Vinegar

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