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10 Ideas for Homemade Vegan Kitchen Staples

Today I’d like to share a list of 10 homemade vegan kitchen staples that not only let you control what you’re putting in your mouth, but will also help you save money long-term.

How to make everyday staple kitchen ingredients at home

Cooking at home may be more labor-intensive than, say, picking up the phone and ordering takeout. But if we want to know exactly what goes into our meals, then making our own food at home is the way to go. Plus, let’s not forget that homemade food is always better! 🙂

If you’re interested in making food as healthy as possible, you’re probably aware that a lot of store-bought ingredients for our vegan home-cooked creations are either produced using questionable practices, or contain less-than-healthy components.

Case in point: carrageenan in some non-dairy milks, or hydrogenated oils in many peanut butter brands.

Thankfully, the vegan blogosphere comes to the rescue!

With some help from the adventurous vegan folk, we can create just about any vegan staple ingredients at home – from non-dairy milk and tofu to fermented vegetables and various sauces – and make them much healthier than their conventional versions.

I’ve done some digging to save you time on searching yourself – so here’s a list of 10 healthy homemade kitchen essentials, BECAUSE HOMEMADE IS ALWAYS BETTER!

10 DIY Homemade Vegan Kitchen Staples

1. Homemade peanut butter from scratch. I make this recipe at least a couple times a month – peanut butter is a big deal in our house! The addition of ground flaxseed makes this PB even healthier because it boosts its omega-3 fatty acids content.

The same technique can be used to make nut butters from other nuts of your choice.

2. Homemade non-dairy milk – see this step-by-step post by Cathy Fisher of Straight Up Food blog. Cathy explains how to make almond, pecan, oat and rice milks at home using no-fuss techniques.

Want to get even more adventurous with turning that milk into homemade yogurt? Check out this tutorial on making cashew-based yogurt in the Instant Pot.

3. Homemade vegetable broth. I am generally averse to buying those little vegan bouillon cubes in stores because reading their ingredients lists often makes me hyperventilate.

Plus, I’ve discovered this great method of making your own veggie broth that literally costs you nothing because it uses all of those veggie scraps that would otherwise go into trash.

Broth before cooking

Homemade and plant-based is always better than store-bought and processed, at least in my book.

4. Homemade mayonnaise. I’ve searched Pinterest far and wide, and yet most homemade mayo recipes either contain oil, or seem kind of suspicious.

Thankfully, one of my favorite vegan bloggers, Susan from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen, posted a healthy tofu-cashew mayonnaise recipe that’s not only oil-free, but also has just 15 calories per tablespoon! If you make too much of this mayo at once, you can even freeze the extras for later.

5. Homemade tofu, tempeh, and seitan. The methods for making them are abundant on the interwebs: check out these tutorials for making regular tofu, as well as hemp tofu and even chickpea flour tofu! Also see how to make homemade tempeh  and my easy homemade BBQ seitan recipe (pictured below).

Homemade BBQ seitan recipe

6. Homemade barbecue sauce. I prefer not to buy complex sauces or marinades in stores for the same reason as why I don’t mess with bouillon cubes.

My recipe for a basic barbecue sauce from this BBQ tofu sandwich recipe is highly customizable to taste, and only takes a couple minutes to make! I also use this recipe to make the seitan nuggets in the above picture.

7. Homemade pizza crust. My go-to whole-wheat pizza crust recipe goes beyond just a pizza crust: it makes great breadsticks, rolls, and regular loaves of bread.

8. Homemade fermented veggies – cabbage in particular. Fermenting makes vegetables easier to digest and infuses them with good-for-the-gut bacteria, similarly to yogurt; fermenting at home is also cheaper and usually yields better-tasting results. Here’s a recipe for classic sauerkraut.

I’ve been long fascinated by Korean kimchi (napa cabbage fermented with this and that), but all recipes I found seemed too labor-intensive. However, this kimchi recipe is relatively simple and might be worth a try!

9. Sprouted beans, grains and seeds. Sprouting turns them into little nutritional powerhouses, plus it’s very easy and cheap! You can either use a special jar like this GEO Sprouting Jar or do it old-school with a mason jar and some cheesecloth. Here’s more explanation on doing this right.

10. Homemade energy bars. Okay, maybe this isn’t an ingredient, but it still deserves a mentioning. Most store-bought granola/energy bars are not much healthier than a candy bar anyway, plus they often use highly processed ingredients that may not be vegan.

I’m a big fan of this post by Matt Frazier of No Meat Athlete blog in which he describes not just one recipe, but a formula for an almost unlimited variations of healthy energy bars that are especially great for active people because of their higher protein content (thanks to beans).

11. Homemade granola (BONUS!). I almost didn’t include granola into this roundup because it’s such a cliché in the healthy eating world. But then I remembered my tropical banana-orange granola recipe (shown below) that’s surprisingly easy to make but tastes like a million bucks. It’s all plant-based and refined sugar-free, plus there’s an option to make it oil-free if you like.

Homemade vegan granola recipe with bananas, oranges and dates.

I had other thoughts for DIY kitchen staples, but this post was getting kind of long anyway, so my buck stops here. You’re welcome to add your own ideas for homemade kitchen staples though, so feel free to mention them in the comments!

Everything is better homemade

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author avatar
Alina Zavatsky - Vegan Runner Eats
Alina first made a switch to a vegan diet in 2013 to optimize her athletic performance as a marathon runner. Eventually she embraced veganism as a way to be kinder to fellow living beings and the environment. Alina hopes that this blog helps its readers on their path to becoming vegan and making this world a better place.

Galen Brame

Thursday 5th of February 2015

Great ideas. I totally agree homemade is better. But also it is fact that there are so many restaurants and stores that provide healthy, clean and quality food. Kimchi is quite healthy food which can be easily made at home by following proper guidelines.


Wednesday 23rd of April 2014

Thanks for sharing my homemade tempeh. Got to make another batch soon. :)


Wednesday 23rd of April 2014

You're very welcome!


Wednesday 23rd of April 2014

We make kimchi all the time in our house. It is very simple, and requires a little over an hour of work (mostly waiting for the cabbage to brine). It is a recipe from MIL Kimchi's DIY kit. I replace the fish sauce with about 1-2 teaspoon of kelp powder and substitute in the equivalent amount of salt that is lost through omitting the fish sauce (about a teaspoon - I have found it still necessary as I tried it without once and the result was not even edible. when I tried it again with the added salt, the final product was even better than the kimchi we formerly prepared with fish sauce).


Wednesday 23rd of April 2014

Thank you for the insight, Hannah! Question: where do you get the Korean chili paste? I'm sure I can find it online, but maybe you know a good store/brand that I should look into.

Kammie @ Sensual Appeal

Wednesday 23rd of April 2014

Wow thanks for sharing all of these! I like the idea of making your own vegetable simple, and like you said, uses those scraps you'd otherwise throw out. Going to bookmark this so I can try a few of these out!


Wednesday 23rd of April 2014

Thanks Kammie! The veggie broth idea is one of my favorites, I usually collect my veggie scraps for about a week and then make a pot of broth when I have time.


Tuesday 22nd of April 2014

Thanks for sharing my soy-free tofu post! It is such an easy recipe and so tasty too!


Tuesday 22nd of April 2014

You're welcome Michaela, thank you for the recipe!