Vegan Food Essentials & Cooking Ingredients | Veganuary AU

Vegan Food Essentials Australia

Having a kitchen full of versatile and tasty ingredients is your first step to creating fantastic vegan food! Use our list of vegan food essentials to get started.

Don’t feel that you need to rush out and buy everything straight away though. Simply use this as a guide to grow your Veganuary larder. You’ll find all the inspiration you need for cooking with these within our recipe section, and If you’re not sure where to find them then our Product Directory is here to help. Happy cooking!

Several plates of vegan food and dips
Image Credit: Pexels

Dairy Replacements:

Dairy alternatives are some of the most important vegan food essentials. But moving on from dairy doesn’t mean leaving your favourite foods behind. From plant-based butters you won’t believe are vegan to creamy milks for your coffee, there are plenty of dairy replacements available. 

Vegan Butters 

Supermarkets offer an array of vegan butter (or ‘spreadable joy,’ as we like to call it). Perfect for your morning toast, cooking and baking, vegan butter doesn’t disappoint. 

  • Nuttelex – all eight varieties of the nuttelex range of butters are vegan. 
  • Naturli vegan butter 
  • Flora Plant Buttery 

Vegan Cheese 

Can’t live without cheese? Well, you don’t have to! Cheese may be one of the hardest animal-based products to recreate, but many brands offer amazing dairy-free alternatives to mozzarella, parmesan, cheddar and much more. No vegan food list would be complete without these cheeses. 

Plant Milks 

Embrace the exciting tastes and textures plant-based milks have to offer. There are so many non-dairy options choose from, so you’re guaranteed to find one you love. Perfect for your morning cuppas, baking endeavours and everything in between, dairy-free milks won’t let you down. Here’s a round-up of our favourite plant milk brands, including soy, rice, almond, oat, and coconut varieties. 

Oatly milk alongside a coffee. Plant milk is one of the key vegan food essentials to look out for in the supermarket.
Image Credit: AdobeStock
  • Vitasoy 
  • Nutty Bruce 
  • Bonsoy 
  • Macro 
  • Pure Harvest 
  • Almond Breeze 
  • Oatly 
  • Califia 
  • Australia’s Own 
  • Sanitarium So Good 
  • Minor Figures 
  • MilkLab  
  • Happy Soy Boy 

Dairy-Free Yoghurts 

We couldn’t leave dairy-free yoghurts out of our vegan food list. Whether you’re looking for a Greek yoghurt alternative for your breakfast or a fruity-flavoured treat, these brands have you covered. Some are based on soya, others almond or coconut, so test them out and see which works for you. 

  • Coyo 
  • Plantitude 
  • Cocobella 
  • Wise Bunny 
  • Nakula 
  • Plantitude 
  • So Delicious 
  • The Collective Plant-Based 
  • Danone Activia Plant-Based 

Vegan Mayo & other sauces 

Some dishes just aren’t complete without a dollop of mayo, right? Thick, creamy and full of flavour, vegan mayonnaise ticks every box. Once you enjoy these delicious animal-free alternatives on your sandwiches and salads, you won’t look back. 

  • Follow Your Heart Vegenaise 
  • Made with Plants – Mayo, cheeseburger sauce, ranch, aioli 
  • Praise – Vegan Mayo, 99% fat free mayo 
  • Masterfoods Garlic Kebab Sauce 
  • Coles – Vegan mayo, garlic aioli, chipotle mayo 
  • Celebrate Health – Mayo 
  • Plant Life – Chipotle mayo, herbed mayo 
  • Nando’s – Vegan Perinaise 
  • The Goods – Vegan Mayo 
  • Flying Goose Sriracha Mayo 

Cream 

Cooking cream, whipped cream, sour cream – and all without dairy! Perfect for any recipe – sweet or savoury – that calls for cream.   

  • Loco – thickened cream, dollop, sour cream 
  • Flora Plant Cream 
  • Oatly cooking cream 
  • Soyatoo spray whip 

Dairy-Free Ice Cream 

We all deserve an indulgent treat from time to time, which is why dairy-free ice cream has to be on our vegan shopping list. There’s no shortage of sweet treats to help you cool down, whether you’re looking for classic tubs or ice cream bars. Get stuck into these dairy-free delights. 

  • Peter’s – Plant-based vanilla 
  • Plantitude 
  • Pana Organic 
  • Oatly 
  • Ben & Jerry’s 
  • Magnum 
  • Drumsticks 
  • Connoiseur Plant Based range – select tubs and ice cream bars 
  • Proud & Punch 
  • Coles Vegan Range 
  • Sanitarium So Good 

Vegan Chocolate 

Chocoholics rejoice: vegan chocolate has never tasted better. Whether you love decadent dark chocolate or classic milk-infused varieties, there’s a dairy-free chocolate for you. When that sugar craving strikes, here are the brands to look out for. 

  • Pico 
  • Pana 
  • Vego 
  • Kresho 
  • Treat Dreams 
  • Totally Vegan by Charlie 
  • Bite Society 
  • Sweet William 
  • GoMaxGo 
  • Health Lab 
  • NOMO 
  • i-Choc 
  • Moo Free 
  • Vegan Chocolate Co 
  • Alpha 
  • Fry’s – Peppermint Cream, chocolate cream, strawberry cream. 
  • Lindt EXCELLENCE range with 70%, 85%, 90% and 99% Cocoa dark chocolate bars. 

Vegan Desserts 

Trying vegan food means embracing delicious new flavours. Thanks to the growing range of vegan dessert offerings, it’s never been easier to satisfy your sweet tooth as a vegan. From soft, spongy cakes to devilishly decadent puddings, there’s a dessert to suit everyone. Next time you’re stocking up on vegan food essentials, sink your spoon into these plant-based desserts. 

  • Plantitude – Vegan dark choc brownie, vegan dark choc Belgian cake, granola cookies 
  • Woolworths – Vegan lotus biscoff cake, lattice apple pie,  
  • Aunt Betty’s dairy free creamy coconut rice 
  • Sara Lee Joy range – Key Lime Pie, Choc Coconut Bavarian 
  • Fancy Plants – Silky chocolate pot, vanilla rice pudding 
  • Soreen – Banana lunchbox loaves 
  • We Love Cake – Caramel slice 
  • Nature’s Kitchen – Chocolate cupcakes, chocolate tea cake, chocolate chip cookies 

vegan Protein:

Protein is a hot topic when it comes to going vegan, but there’s no need to worry. Most foods contain some protein and there’s so much choice when it comes to tasty sources of vegan protein. You shouldn’t struggle to get enough protein on a vegan diet, but you may struggle to choose from all the fantastic products on offer! Whether you’re looking for whole, plant-based sources or meat alternatives, there’s no shortage of protein-packed foods available. 

Tofu curry
Image Credit: AdobeStock

Meat Alternatives 

We can’t keep up with the ever-growing range of meat substitutes, but we’ll give it a go. These products typically use seitan or soya as their base. 

  • Quorn (not all Quorn products are vegan – check the label)
  • Beyond Meat
  • Oumph!
  • Tofurky
  • Gardein
  • Fry’s
  • Linda McCartney
  • V2
  • Moving Mountains
  • Fable
  • Made With Plants
  • Sanitarium Veggie Delights
  • Sunfed
  • Plantein
  • Plant Asia
  • Veef

Plant-Based Proteins 

Make sure you get plenty of these whole, plant-based foods in your diet. 

  • Tofu: extra firm for cooking or silken for sauces and desserts 
  • Beans, chickpeas and lentils: dried or canned beans such as kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans. Lentils are a wonderful meat substitute in Bolognese, shepherd’s pie and lasagne 
  • Seeds: sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, chia, flax 
  • Nuts: almonds, cashews, walnuts, Brazils, pine nuts 
  • Nut butters: peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, hazelnut butter 
  • Tempeh: similar to tofu in that it is made from fermented soya beans. It’s firmer than tofu with a stronger flavour 
  • Quinoa: a grain that’s also a great source of protein 
  • Seitan 
  • Protein powders: there are many vegan versions available, including flavoured options 

Grains & carbs:

A bowl of oatmeal with nuts
Image Credit: AdobeStock
  • Brown or wild rice:
    More nutritious than white rice.
  • Quinoa:
    Great source of protein. Wash well before cooking.
  • Oats and millet:
    Excellent choices for a hearty breakfast.
  • Whole-wheat couscous:
    Toast it in the pot with some spices before you add water to get that incredible, wholesome couscous taste.
  • Whole or multi-grain pastas
  • Whole grain / sprouted bread and tortillas
  • Polenta:
    Boil to make traditional polenta. If you have leftovers, cut the cooled polenta into cubes and fry them with a bit of oil to make polenta chips, simple and delicious!
  • Chickpea Flour:
    Used frequently in Indian cooking, this flour is really versatile. You can make pancakes, bhajis and even ‘omelettes’ with it. It is also gluten-free.
  • Noodles:
    The Chinese Kitchen chow mein noodles, Simple Truth gluten free noodles (Checkers), Rice noodles, Soba noodles.

Cooking and baking:

Homemade vegan pizza
Image Credit: AdobeStock
  • Agar-agar: vegan substitute for gelatine, available from many supermarkets and wholefood shops 
  • Nutritional yeast: a lovely cheesy flavour and great for vitamin B12. Try Marigold Engevita 
  • Vegetable stock: (cubes or powder). Low sodium options are available 
  • Vegetable bouillon 
  • Miso: a fermented paste that’s great for adding umami flavour 
  • Oils: olive oil, rapeseed, sunflower, coconut 
  • Egg replacements: flax seeds or chia seeds (1 tablespoon of seed to 2 tablespoons of water for each egg required. Available in supermarkets and wholefood shops) 
  • Honey replacements: agave nectar, maple syrup, date syrup 
  • Blackstrap molasses: fantastic source of iron 
  • Nutritional Yeast – one of the must-have vegan food essentials for cooking and baking 

Condiments & Sauces:

  • Egg-Free Mayonnaise:
    B-Well, Cross & Blackwell Trim, Martinnaise, Taysti.
  • Mustard:
    Most mustard is vegan – Dijon, Hot English, American, etc (Steers mustard is not vegan).
  • Tomato Sauce/Ketchup:
    All Gold, Heinz, Pick n Pay brand, Simple Truth (Checkers), etc.
  • HP Sauce
  • Hot Sauce:
    Tabasco, Sriracha, Sriracha mayo, Fynbos Fine Foods sauces.
  • Wellington’s Sweet & Sour sauce:
    Perfect for stir fries.
A selection of condiments and sauces
Image Credit: AdobeStock

Snacks:

Whether you need an energy boost on the go or a tasty treat, there are plenty of vegan-friendly snacks. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to know that many of the snacks you enjoy are accidentally vegan! 

  • There are lots of vegan crisps and popcorn
  • Sausage rolls and pasties
  • Samosas and bhajis
  • Spring rolls and dumplings
  • Plant-based nuggets and fish-free fingers
  • Dried fruit
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Sweets and candies
2 blocks of dark chocolate
Image Credit: Unsplash

Fruits & Vegetables:

Don’t hold back here – eat a rainbow! Some of our favourites include:

  • Bell peppers:
    Great raw dipped in hummus or in a stir fry (buy organic when possible).
  • Sweet potato:A fantastic source of vitamin A.
  • Mushrooms:
    Get your B vitamins here!
  • Berries:
    Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries (again, buy these organic when possible).
  • Avocados:
    One of the good fats!
Buddha bowl with an array of fruits and vetables
Image Credit: Pexels

Cosmetics & Toiletries:

“Vegan” just doesn’t apply to food, try these products that will surely leave your hair and body feeling fresh and nourished. Many companies produce vegan cosmetics and toiletries now, so feel free to check your local area for the products available to you. Here are a couple of examples:

  • Nak Hair Australia
    Blonde Hair Shampoo & Conditioner
  • Nak Hair Australia
    Platinum Blonde Hair Shampoo & Conditioner
  • Nak Hair Australia
    Blonde Plus Hair Shampoo & Conditioner
  • Nak Hair Australia
    Volume Shampoo & Conditioner
  • Nak Hair Australia
    Hydrate Shampoo & Conditioner
  • Nak Hair Australia
    Anti-Yellow Shampoo & Conditioner
  • Nak Hair Australia
    Structure Complex Shampoo & Conditioner
  • Nak Hair Australia
    Structure Complex Protein Shampoo & Conditioner
Nak Australia vegan hair products
Image Credit: Nak Hair Australia

Check out how you can use these ingredients!

As vegans, we have to be mindful of what ingredients will act as decent substitute options so that we can still enjoy a fudgy brownie, a crisp cookie, or a fluffy cheesecake.

Check out our vegan baking guide to see how you can use some of these incredible ingredients to make equally incredible treats!