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  • Writer's pictureSophie Lauver

Building a Plant-Based Kitchen Part 1: Baking

Updated: Oct 17, 2021

For those who are new to the plant-based world, some recipes can seem SO foreign. For the more experienced, it can feel like any new recipe involves at least one ingredient that you don’t have around. So, to avoid frequent spontaneous trips to the store, I wanted to show you what staples I keep in my kitchen at all times to allow me to make my favorite recipes! One of the best parts of keeping a well-stocked kitchen is the flexibility it allows for. Almost any day with little advanced planning I can choose to make a handful of different dishes or baked goods, knowing that I always have my key ingredients on hand.

For ease, in this series, I won’t include the usual staples like flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, olive oil, dried pasta, etc. since I find most of those are staples for a lot of people. P.S. I keep all of those on hand too! Please know that the kitchen staples I recommend are not exclusive to the category they're posted in. With today's items, If you don't like to bake, that's okay! These products will still be beneficial for making lots of vegan recipes.

Keep your shopping list handy! Here is the first of my 3 part series on what to keep around to provide you with the functional and flexible plant-based kitchen you need to thrive!

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission.

Flax Seeds

I buy big bags from Aldi as they’re so much cheaper there!


-A gelling agent in foods

-An egg replacer, known as “flax eggs”, for baking

-Great in smoothies, oatmeal, cold cereal, sauces, and baked goods. I’ve even used them in soup dumplings to thicken the broth!


-Superfood! Very nutritious and contain omega 3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, and cancer-fighting lignans

-Likely better absorbed (and easier to use) in the milled, or ground, form.

-Can help reduce total and LDL “bad” cholesterol

Chia Seeds

Crunchy, tiny black seeds that are SO versatile. These are also a great purchase at Aldi.


-A gelling agent in foods

-An egg replacer for baked goods

-Great in smoothies, for a crunch in cold cereal or oatmeal, baked goods, yogurt topping, or made into a pudding


-Another superfood!

-Contain protein, fiber, omega 3 fatty acids, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, calcium, and cancer-fighting lignans (although fewer than flax seeds)

-May help to keep you fuller for longer

-Can help reduce LDL, “bad” cholesterol

-Nutrient-dense-- many nutrients for few calories

-Contain all 9 essential amino acids

Vegan Chocolate Chips

I try to keep either dark chocolate chips or semi-sweet chocolate chips in my kitchen (check the ingredients for no dairy). The Enjoy Life brand is allergy-friendly and easy to find. I’ve also had luck with store brands being dairy-free.


-Baked goods, yogurt topping

Nutrition (from dark chocolate):

-Contain iron, copper, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorous

-Heart health-promoting flavonols

-The higher the dark chocolate percentage, the more nutritious it is

Maple Syrup

I've found the best prices on real maple syrup at Aldi and Costco.


-Anything you’d use honey for

-Sweetener in baked goods

-Sweetener in Asian-inspired sauces. We love making different Asian-inspired tofu dishes.

-Ingredient in salad dressings


-High in sugar! Best to limit.

Vegan Butter


-Anything you’d use dairy butter for!


-Not much of nutritional merit. Likely still contains saturated fat depending on the brand so use in moderation. New products are coming on the market these days using fats like avocado oil or olive oil, which would be monounsaturated fat→ a healthy fat

Soy Milk, unsweetened


-”Cream” sauces, smoothies, mashed potatoes, cold cereal, baking, coffee

-Anywhere you’d use dairy milk!


-Great source of protein

-Fortified with Vitamin D, Calcium, Iron, B12, vitamin A, B vitamins, and Potassium

Stay tuned for part 2 on flavor enhancers coming next week!

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