During my ExtraVeganza! pilot project in January this year I purchased some foods I hadn’t used before — and can’t live without now!

Today I’ll share my top-5 for VeganMoFo.

Five Vegan Essential Ingredients (#1)

In no particular order:

  • agave syrup
  • nutritional yeast
  • apple vinegar
  • soy milk (Provamel)
  • vanilla extract

And yes, all of these favs are organic. ;)

Agave syrup
Agave nectar is a sweetener with a taste renimiscent of honey, often used in vegan baking. It’s pretty expensive but you only use a little at a time as it is sweeter than regular sugar. It’s easy to imagine in which situations I pick up this bottle.

Apple vinegar
Our kitchen cupboards have always been filled with several kinds of vinegar, but never apple cider vinegar. And now it’s a must-have! The acetic acids in vinegar help activate baking powder and baking soda, which enhance the leavening or rising of baked foods; making a better crumb and also improving the flavour. But apple cider vinegar is also nice in a salad dressing. ;)

Nutritional yeast
I had never heard of nutritional yeast before and thought it similar to active yeast used in bread baking… But it’s not. Nutritional yeast is a fungus and a source of (complete) protein and B-vitamins. It can be used as a condiment and has a hearty, umami, flavour: great for ‘rawmezan’ (mixed with finely chopped pine nuts and pecans or walnuts a nice topping for pasta & salads), a cheese-like taste in bechamel sauce, a savoury mushroom gravy or tofu scramble. I’m sure there are plenty of uses I haven’t discovered yet!

Soy milk
Soy milk is (as far as I know) the fattest of plant-based milks and therefor great for a frothy vegan cappuccino. ;) Wouldn’t want to miss it in the world! I’ve tried several brands of soy milk and not all of them taste that good… Personally I like Provamel best and I buy the supplemented type (extra calcium, B12 etc.) — just to be on the safe side. You can also find soy- or nut milk among the ingredients in vegan baking recipes.

With soy ilk, apple vinegar and agave syrup are essential in making my marvellous mayonnaise. Next to that you only need sunflower oil, salt and mustard to whip up a fantastic vegenaise in only 5 minutes. I always have a jar of it on standby in my fridge. Not just as a condiment but also for dips and sauces, or as a creme fraiche substitute in cold dishes.

Vanilla Extract
Vanilla extract is another ingredient mostly used in baking; you must think I’m quite a patissier by now — and I wish I was! ;) But vanilla extract also gives just that bit of extra to my hot chocolate!

So. These five ingredients are my recent loyal companions. Did you know them?

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