Whether you are just looking to cook plant-based meals a couple of times a week or starting your journey in the vegan lifestyle, this simplified guide will help you stock the best plant-based essentials to cook and bake some amazing food. It is important to keep it healthy as well – the abundance and variety of packaged, high-processed foods in grocery stores can make anyone unhealthy, no matter the diet or lifestyle. You will find most of the items from this guide and ingredients throughout the recipes in this blog. Depending on how large your family is or how often you will cook at home, I suggest you buy the ingredients as you need to cook the recipes you are planning for the week, so you keep it all fresh and start building your vegan pantry over time.

Here’s What You Should Know About Labels

Create the habit of reading labels and checking ingredient lists. Some packaged foods may not indicate they are vegan, but they are and vice versa, so it is always a good idea to double-check the ingredients list. Watch out for non-vegan sneaky ingredients such as gelatin, casein, honey, castoreum, whey, lactose, lactic acid, beeswax, carmine (carminic acid or cochineal), cholesterol, confectioner’s glaze, ghee, glycerin, isinglass, L-cysteine and derivatives, lanolin, shellac, oleic acid (or oleic acid), lard, vitamin D3, animal-derived lecithin, collagen, elastin, keratin, albumen (or albumin) and omega 3 (very frequently derived from animal products). This is a list of the most common ingredients that may be lurking around in food, but be always suspicious about complicated names or ingredients you have never heard about – it is worth investigating before buying them.

Going vegan is easier than you expect, and it feels rewarding in so many ways!


In general, eggs play a double role in baking: they act as a binder agent (provide moisture and keep the structure) and as a leavening agent (help your baking goods to rise). Usually, when I am veganizing a recipe or developing a new one from scratch, I do not replace all the eggs for vegan substitutes such as unsweetened applesauce, silky tofu, flaxseed-eggs, egg replacers, or any other plant-based egg substitute. It is usually a combination of replacers to get to keep the structural integrity and expected taste of your baked goods. Keep in mind, you do not need to think about all this when following my recipes – just follow the ingredients list and instructions for tested recipes. This is additional info for you in case you feel inspired to veganize a specific recipe, so you can give it a try and start experimenting with egg replacements. Do not feel discouraged if you need to re-balance the whole recipe and make it multiple times; this is how it goes. Just have fun in the process!


Lately, flaxseed has been known as a superfood and a superseed, although it has been grown for thousands of years.

It is one of the best egg replacers for baking cakes, muffins, bread, waffles, and pancakes. If you have not eaten flaxseed, it has a mild, nutty flavor, and you can add it to just about anything.

Buy either brown or golden flaxseed – It is easier to find brown flaxseed in grocery stores. I find the brown flaxseed to have a stronger nutty flavor, but both work well the same way.

Buy it ground or grind it yourself – you can either buy it whole and grind it at home using an electric coffee grinder or buy it ground as a flaxseed meal (also called milled flaxseed or ground flaxseed). When grinding it at home, be patient to grind it as thin as possible to achieve the best results.

Keep it in the fridge or freezer – whether you grind it at home or buy it ground, store it in an air-tight container or zip-lock in the fridge or freezer. If you store whole flaxseed to be ground later, the freezer is the best place to do that to extend its shelf life. When you keep whole flaxseed dry – in air-tight containers – it can be stored at room temperature for up to a year.

1 tablespoon flaxseed + 3 tablespoons water = replaces 1 egg

Whisk it and let it rest for 5 minutes until it is thick and gelatinous.

Because baking requires accurate measurement of dry and liquid ingredients to ensure the success of the final product, I find flaxseed-eggs perfect egg replacements to achieve successful baking results. In general, chicken eggs come in all different sizes, and some recipes are very sensitive to the quantity of wet ingredients. When you make your flaxseed eggs, they are all the same size, making it easier to achieve the consistency and density required for baking.

Another advantage is the ability to make the flaxseed egg with warm water – required for some bread recipes.

And the best is to have hundreds of flaxseed-eggs in one air-tight container in your fridge or freezer and not to worry about the freshness and expiration date. This is super convenient, so you are ready to bake at any time you feel inspired!

Tiny but mighty – It is important to highlight flaxseed as a source of essential omega-3-fatty acids (cardiovascular protection), lignans (antioxidants), protein, vitamins, and fiber, all good stuff to enhance the taste and texture of smoothies, oatmeal, soups, vegan yogurts, breakfast cereal, sauces, and salads. It is a good idea to create a habit and add a couple of tablespoons of flaxseed meal to your diet on a daily basis. You can get more of the flaxseeds when they are ground – whole flaxseeds are more likely to go through the intestinal tract without breaking down and releasing all the nutrients.

Flaxseed is what’s used to feed all those chickens that are laying eggs with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids – so we are going direct to the source and eliminating the intermediary. Let’s get all the cholesterol-free goodness and leave the poor chickens alone!

Unsweetened Applesauce

It is one of the best replacements for eggs. It plays the role of a binder agent (as eggs) and provides moisture (as oil and butter) in cakes, bread, brownies, and quick bread.

¼ cup of unsweetened applesauce = 1 egg

Raw unsalted cashew nuts

Raw cashew nuts are incredibly versatile in making staple ingredients to be used in the kitchen for both savory and sweet dishes. It is fatty enough to provide the best creamy texture without overpowering the taste (e.g. coconut cream) of your dish. Roasted cashew nuts do work the same way because they carry over the roasting flavor, lacking the neutral flavor we need to make it flexible. This is a must-have in your pantry!

Ripe Banana

When bananas are ripe – soft with brown spots – their flavor is sweeter and more intense, and they make a super versatile binder agent for baking. It works best in cakes, muffins, and bread, but the flavor can be overpowering and interfere with the final product. When used in low volumes, such as 1/3 cup (to replace one egg), and combined with strong flavors such as dark chocolate or coffee, the taste is too subtle, and it works really well. When you are intentionally planning to have a strong banana flavor, like banana bread or muffins, we can use it in higher volumes in the recipe.

1/3 cup mashed ripe banana = 1 egg

Commercial Egg Replacers

They are a convenient and economical mixture of different starches and have a long shelf-life. I find it works best for cookies and pie crusts.