Vegan Pantry Staples (Part II)
In the last post, we understood the importance of setting up a right pantry and how beans & legumes are essentials part of vegan cooking. Hope you liked the simple hummus recipe which I posted in there! As much as people are going gaga over the trendy Keto and Vegan Diets, we have come across a major rise in number of people who are opting Gluten Free Diet, either due to some allergies or for weight loss or celiac disease or just non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Thus, Gluten Free and Detox Diets do play a major role in healthy cooking, especially for plant based alternatives. Luckily, there are these wonderful and nutritional cereals and grains that are a perfect alternative for wheat and maida!
Grains: Grains are a great way to add nutrition, texture and flavour to a vegan dish. For those who are serious about healthy cooking, stocking up on varieties of grains like millet, barley, brown rice, buckwheat, quinoa etc is a good idea. A lot of vegan kitchens also stock up a good variety of wholegrain pastas, as they are a healthier alternative to standard pasta and can be adapted into different recipes. I personally am a fan of Queens Quinoa Pastas. There are many varieties such as brown rice pasta,gluten free multi-grain pasta and noodles, etc are available.
Tofu and Tempeh: Indians are obsessed with having paneer or cottage cheese in their meals, especially North Indians. And from my personal experience, I can say that most people do not attempt to go plant-based due to the fear of not being able to give up paneer! Funny, isn’t it? Tofu, which is made from soybeans is a great replacement for paneer in vegan cooking. The end result of a dish turns out to be so good that it is difficult for non-vegans to even believe that it is vegan! Both, tofu and tempeh are used as replacement of meat in vegan cooking due to their high protein content. Despite being widely used as fresh products, both can be bought as dry goods and can be stored in pantry long-term.They can be used inter-changeably most of the time, but they are different. Tofu is soft and moist, while tempeh has firmer and drier texture. They can be super versatile and can be used in many different dishes.
Lemme quickly share my favorite summer recipe with tofu here:
Zesty Cucumber Salad with Pan-Fried Tofu
- 200 gm Tofu, diced into cubes (Drain the tofu before dicing into pieces)
- 2 cups Cucumber, chopped
- 1 cup Capsicum, sliced thinly
- 1 cup Baby spinach or spinach leaves (sliced)
- 2 tbsp Lemon juice
- 1 tsp Lemon Zest
- 1 tsp Ginger paste
- 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Black Sesame Seeds
- 2 tsp Black pepper powder
- Salt as per taste
- In a saucepan, heat the olive oil and stir in the ginger paste till it is cooked. Now, pan-fry the tofu for about 2-3 minutes. Do not over cook.
- Add the capsicum and saute for about a minute. Next, cucumber and lastly spinach. Add sesame seeds and saute for a minute.
- Remove the salad onto a mixing bowl and add the pepper powder, salt, lemon juice and zest. mix well and serve warm or refrigerate for 20-30 minutes before serving. Works best in summers and as a replacement of lunch on busy days.
In the next post, you will the third most important ingredient for stocking up, with a recipe. Stay tuned!