Essential Ingredients

We compiled a list of ingredients that you’ll find in our recipes that may not be in the typical pantry. We get most of these ingredients at the grocery rather than on Amazon, but the links below (all photos and food titles) will take you to Amazon if you’re interested in having them delivered to your doorstep. If you’re picking them up at the store, you’ll find some in the ethnic section, some with baking supplies and some in the health food area. If there’s an ethnic grocery nearby, you may find the best prices there. We can’t drive by a HomeGoods or TJMax store without stopping because they are often the cheapest option for many of these not-so-typical foods.

To be clear, you can eat a plant-based diet and enjoy all of the health benefits that come with it WITHOUT using most of the ingredients below. These are not absolutely necessary. If you’re someone who enjoys simple and cheap, stop reading here and check out our Save your Money, Save your Health Post. However, these foods do help when you’re looking to be creative in the kitchen and are great when you need something new.


*Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links therefore we will earn commission if you go through them to make a purchase. We use the products and ingredients listed below and recommend them because we believe they are the best choice for you. 


Nutritional Yeast: An absolute must in every plant-based kitchen. We use this daily to add both flavor and nutrients. Sprinkle on pizza, popcorn, tacos, potatoes, veggies and even salads. Once you try the Better than Cheese Spread & Queso you’ll be buying it in bulk! Visit the Nutritional Yeast post to learn more.

Bragg Organic Yeast Seasoning, 4.5 oz


Arrowroot Powder: This is a white, flavorless powder used to thicken sauces, soups and gravies. It has more thickening power than wheat flour and is gluten-free. Unlike cornstarch, it can be used with acidic foods such as fruit and it doesn’t breakdown with freezing/thawing. Be sure to mix it with room temperature water before adding to hot dishes and remove the dish from heat as soon as it thickens (don’t over-heat).

Arrowroot Powder – 1 Pound (16oz)


Baker’s Chocolate: When melting chocolate for sweets such as the Best-Ever Buckeyes and Samoa Cookies we use 100% cacao unsweetened baking chocolate. If you prefer something a little sweeter, there are sweetened options.

Baker’s, Unsweetened Chocolate, 4 oz


Balsamic Vinegar: This is an Italian vinegar made from grapes. We love using it to make salad dressings and add tons of flavor to roasted veggies. You’ll notice that balsamic vinegar comes in a very wide range of prices. You can certainly use the more expensive options, however, we – like many people – find that less expensive balsamic vinegar suits our needs just fine.

Trader Joe’s Balsamic Vinegar of Modena


Bragg’s Liquid Aminos: Made from soybeans, we use this condiment in a variety of our recipes. It has a ton of flavor and a little bit goes a long way.

Liquid Aminos 16 oz.


Cacao: Cacao and cocoa are two different ingredients. We recommend raw cacao which is less processed and made by cold-pressing unroasted cocoa beans. It has tons of great-for-you antioxidants. Cocoa powder has been roasted at a high temperature ridding it of many healthy components.

Cacao Powder Raw Organic, 1lb


Cacao Nibs: These are your go-to replacement for chocolate chips. The antioxidants in cacao nibs is lower than what you’ll find in raw cacao but still significantly higher than in cocoa powder or chocolate chips. These also don’t have added sugar like your typical semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Raw Organic Cacao Nibs, 1 Pound


Chia Seeds: I always keep a jar of chia seeds on the counter to remind me to add them to smoothies and oatmeal. They also can be mixed with water to make an egg substitute. Visit the Chia Seeds post to learn more.

Organic Chia Seed, Black, 32 Ounce


Chili Garlic Sauce: We use this in Asian-inspired dishes such as the Bok Choy Mango Salad. Full of flavor, it’s sold in at most grocery stores and easy to find at Asian markets.

Chili Garlic Sauce 18 Oz


Goji Berries: Eye-health, sleep-health, antioxidant heavy.. don’t let the size of these little guys fool you. They’re incredibly good for you. You’ll only find them dried and they are more expensive than your typical dried fruit, but very much worth the investment. I see them from $18-23 per pound at the grocery but I’m always able to find them quite a bit cheaper online.

Goji Berries Raw Organic, 1lb


Ground Flax Seeds: Next to the jar of chia seeds is a jar of ground flax. I keep a small amount out and ready to use while storing the rest in the freezer as they can go rancid quickly. Read about the many health benefits on the Flaxseed Post.

Ground Flaxseed, 24 Ounce


Hulled Barley: This is the whole grain form of barley. Pearled barley is more processed and therefore lacks some of the nutrients that are in hulled barley. Hulled (sometimes called hull-less) barley is a hearty grain and can be used in soups or as a base for roasted veggies.

 Bob’s Red Mill Hull-Less Whole Barley, 26-ounce


Miso Paste: When you remove meat from your diet you may find yourself missing that umami flavor. Miso paste to the rescue! Add a small amount to soups, bean patties, stir-frys and dressings and you’ll be amazed at how it will amp up the flavor. Its made by fermenting soybeans with salt and sometimes rice or barley. I go for white miso because it has a more mild flavor.

Miso, Light Sweet, 5.2 Ounce


Pepitas: These are simply pumpkin seeds without the shell. Make sure to buy them raw rather than roasted with oil and salt. We aim to get a handful of seeds daily. Even if you have small hands, a handful gives you an impressive amount of nutrients. Add these to baked goods, salads or a nut mix.

Terrasoul Superfoods Organic Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin Seeds- Pepitas, Raw, No Shell, 2LB Bag


Pitted Dates: Rather than using processed sugar, dates are our sweetener of choice. They are a sweet fruit, usually sold dried, and are filled with vitamins, minerals and fiber. We HIGHLY recommend making sure that any dates you buy are PITTED. If not, you’ll have to remove the pit prior to making Date Paste or Syrup and this is a tedious and annoying task!

Pitted Dates, 40-Ounce


Quinoa: This will become a staple in your house once you try it because it has endless uses: Quinoa Flatbread, Salad, a base for Roasted Veggies, One Pan Mexican Quinoa, Quinoa Chili, Sweet Potato Black Bean Quinoa Burgers and even Quinoa Bark.

Organic Quinoa, 4 lbs


Steel Cut Oats: A hearty, rich and nutty start to your day, these are the least processed form of oats. A breakfast of Steel Cut Oats will leave you feeling satisfying much longer than those sugar packed and processed quick oats packets.

Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Steel Cut Oats


Tamari: This is a gluten-free (usually – always check the label) alternative to soy sauce. It has less salt and a richer flavor.

San-J Tamari, 10 oz


Turmeric: A delicious spice shown to prevent DNA damage? Sign up me! We are always looking for new ways to use this Indian spice. Check out our turmeric post to learn more.

Turmeric Root Powder (Curcumin) Organic, 1lb









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