The Vegan Larder Essentials

I’ve found in my culinary travels that you can evoke the essence of most countries ‘flavours’ with a few herbs,spices,  sauces or oils. These give you a sort of taste reference to the cuisine that you’re attempting to cook. I can’t say that my recipes are authentic, but a few key ingredients can make all the difference to approximating the taste feel of where you want to go.

These shortcuts are also essential for any vegan cooking, as they can help create something delicious, full of the rounded ‘umami’ savoury flavours that you need for super delicious tasting food,  often without much effort.

Below are some of my flavour staples. These are items that I use over & over again and are pretty much always in my cupboard, ready for whichever region’s flavour catches my fancy & to transform vegetables into a little culinary trip away.


  • Soy Sauce
  • Mirin
  • Sesame Oil
  • Sesame Seeds (I buy a big pack, & toast them in batches, keeping the toasted ones in a little jar)
  • Wasabi
  • Ginger (keep a chunk in the freezer & grate as needed)

Generic Mediterranean:

  • Olive Oil
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Tins of Tomatoes

Then, to add to the Mediterranean:


  • Smoked Paprika
  • Olives
  • Red Wine Vinegar


  • Basil (in the freezer!)- and in a pot on the counter when it’s warm enough.
  • Tomato paste in a squeezy tube,
  • Capers
  • Olives
  • Balsamic Vinegar


  • Oregano
  • Lemon
  • Good Olive Oil

Thai/South East Asian:

  • Lemongrass (keep a stick in the freezer & grate as needed)
  • Ginger (keep a chunk in the freezer & grate as needed)
  • Coconut Milk/Coconut cream in blocks
  • Vegan Fish sauce or soy sauce 
  • Chilli
  • Lemon or Lime
  • Palm Sugar/Brown Sugar


  • Vegetarian Oyster sauce
  • Chinese 5 spice
  • Soy Sauce
  • Ginger
  • Sesame Oil

Mexican/South of the Border:

  • Cumin
  • Chilli Sauce ( I adore Cholula and Tabasco)
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Chipotle Sauce/Peppers
  • Smoked and Ordinary Paprika
  • Limes
  • Black Beans


  • Turmeric
  • Garam Marsala
  • Cumin
  • Coriander Seeds
  • Chilli
  • Asafoetida
  • Fennel Seeds
  • Nigella (Kalonji) Seeds



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