Although I’m still in the camp of “flexitarian” I do make an effort to cook vegan meals for me and Mike about 98% of the time. When I eat out, I’m a vegetarian about 97% of the time and vegan probably 50-60% of the time. People often ask me what I eat and assume I eat a lot of tofu or soy products. I generally avoid tofu (occasionally I’ll eat it out) and my main soy product is tempeh which is a fermented soy (fermenting soy eliminates the side effects associated with unfermented soy products such as tofu).
I actually eat WAY more variety now as a mostly vegan than I did as a non! I eat significantly more vegetables and I’m more creative in my recipes since I can’t rely on the meat to shine. It’s been a culinary adventure these last 14 months as I’ve tried to figure out what works and doesn’t work for Mike and I to eat a mostly vegetarian/vegan diet. I own and use significantly more spices than I did in the past and my recipes have a ton of flavor and often a lot of kick. I love cooking this way and I encourage others to try cooking some non-meat meals even if they don’t want to completely give up meat.
To help anyone who is considering turning to a more plant-based lifestyle, I wanted to give you a peek into my grocery list. I don’t buy all of these things every week but on the average week you will find probably 75% of the below in our house! I do spend a lot of time grocery shopping, planning, cooking and preparing food, but I love it! It also helps that Mike does the dishes….
My Vegan Grocery List
Grains and Legumes
3-5 servings a day. This group is my main source of protein and much of my calories come from here.
- Lentils (probably my favorite protein source – often eaten several times a week in the form of a “vegan mash” as Mike calls it)
- Brown Rice (we buy the 8 lb bag at Costco – also eaten several times a week and often the vegan mash is served on brown rice with more veggies on the side)
- Beans (usually black but also red, kidney and pinto)
- Bulgur wheat
- Whole grain bread or Ezekiel bread
- Brown Rice Pasta
- Whole Grain or Ezekiel Tortillas
- Chickpeas (often on top of salads)
- Soba Noodles
1-3 times a week. Always purchase organic soy products as it is one of the most genetically modified crops out there.
- Tempeh (usually in a stir fry to substitute for meat or in burrito form)
- Tofu only when out, about 2 times a month
5-8 servings a day in salads and sandwiches, snacks (carrots and hummus is a great snack), sautéed in oil or prepared within a curry, soup, chili or other vegan mash.
- Fresh spinach (we eat at least a 1-pound box a week)
- Tomatoes, both fresh and canned
- Red Bell Peppers (we buy an 8 pack every other week and eat them all)
- Brussels sprouts
- Sweet potatoes
2-3 servings a day
- Oranges (always in the house)
- Bananas (always in the house)
- Peaches (when in season)
- Lemons (on steamed kale or in curries or Asian dishes)
- Limes (usually in curries and Asian dishes)
Nuts and Seeds
1-2 servings a day and a great source of fat and protein. Nuts are typically eaten as a snack in 1/4 cup portions daily and/or sprinkled on salads. Flax seeds are ground up and used in oatmeal or pepitas on salads. Nut butters on a banana or bread. We use almond milk in our oatmeal.
- Nut butters
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Flax Seeds (freshly ground)
- Pumpkin Seeds/Pepitas
- Almond Milk
1-3 servings a day. Oils used for cooking or in salad dressings, avocado in salads, sandwiches and burritos/tacos or with chips.
- Olive Oil
- Coconut Oil
Spices, Herbs, Etc.
I cook with a TON of spices now! I’ve started using products I had never used before and I love them! There are so many health benefits to spices and herbs I could probably write a whole blog post on just this!
- Curry Powder
- Basil/Dried Italian Seasonings
- Cumin and Cumin Seeds
- Chili Powder
- Fresh parsley
- Fresh Cilantro
- Mustard Seeds
- Rice Vinegar
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Nutritional Yeast
- Veggie broth
We do use a protein powder to make smoothies after hard workouts. Usually we mix 1 scoop of powder with frozen fruit, a half or full banana and a cup of almond milk.
- VegaOne Performance Protein
I definitely have a sweet tooth. Eating non-dairy doesn’t mean I don’t indulge! I’d say sweets are the main thing I ditch the vegan philosophy for but here are some vegan-friendly desserts I usually use to satisfy my sweet tooth.
- Almond Milk Ice Cream
- Coconut Milk Ice Cream
- So Delicious Almond/Coconut Chocolate Ice Cream Bars (these are vegan!)
- Dark Chocolate
If you eat vegetarian or vegan, what are your must-have items on your grocery list?