A Simple Vegan Food List for Beginners

vegan Thai veggie balls

A guest post written by Kelly Allen.

In 2018 I decided to try out Veganuary. I look back and see how far this monthly challenge has come. Now you can pop to virtually any shop and pick up a few vegan food items, but it can still feel very daunting when faced with the prospect of so many companies jumping on the vegan bandwagon.

I’m not complaining though, I love all the options available, but I also remember the challenges I faced in those first few months of ditching meat, dairy and eggs. I’ve complied a simple list of staple vegan food items, perfect for the newbie vegan to create culinary delights with…

Tricolour quinoa salad

A Simple Vegan Food List for Beginners

Vegan food is becoming the ‘norm’, and I get a little excited tummy flip each time I see more options available. It’s even nicer when those options are from local small businesses, but we really need to focus on our own kitchen cupboards before we worry about what to eat at the local cafe.

When it comes to eating vegan food, you can go one of three ways:

  • Whole plant based
  • Substitutes and eating outdoors
  • A mix of the two

As a family, we’re probably a mix of the two, but we’re very keen to start leaning towards whole plant based foods in the future. We adore making vegan food, creating delicious recipes from scratch, but I know this isn’t always possible. For this reason, I’ve included a bit of both in my list, with a big focus on the natural side of the vegan diet.

Vegan Food List for Newbies

When it comes to substitutes, it’s probably best to have these little and often. Sticking to a mostly whole plant based vegan diet offers you so much more in terms of health, but this is still a pretty new journey for most, so I’m certainly not ungrateful for substitutes.


I’ll chat vegan food substitutions first. There are so many items out there to choose from, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Here are some of my favourites, available in most large supermarkets:

  • Quorn Vegan Ham Slices (these are delicious, and you can fry them up with a bit of paprika to make a bacon butty)
  • Richmond Sausages (basically, the beat sausage we’ve ever tried!)
  • Violife Cheese (it comes sliced, in a block, grated, and as a cream cheese)
  • Oatly Barista Milk (This is the dream milk for any tea lover, but it’s pricey, so use it wisely!)
  • Linda McCartney Sausage Rolls (They’re just delicious)

There are so many wonderful vegan food substitutions, it’s just about eating them in moderation. But, when it comes to whole plant based foods, herbs, spices, and other yummy vegan bits and bobs, fill your boots!

Vegan Almond Butter Cookies

Whole Vegan Food Suggestions

  • Legumes
  • Vegetables (cruciferous vegetables, sweet potatoes, corn, go for it – it’s all good!)
  • Oats
  • Beans (baked beans, kidney beans, all the beans!)
  • Brown rice
  • Tahini (you can use this for sauces and hummus)
  • Tofu (you can use this instead of the substitutions)
  • Chickpeas (to roast, add to curries, make hummus)
  • Nuts
  • Onions and garlic
  • Fruit (bananas, apples, lemons and more!)
  • Herbs and spices (chilli, cumin, mixed herbs, and don’t forget turmeric and paprika)
  • Ground flaxseed (pop it in your porridge, use it instead of egg – it’s magical!)
  • Chia seeds (delicious added to yogurt)
  • Nutritional Yeast (my favourite thing EVER, add it to everything savoury!)
  • Wholewheat pasta
  • Liquid smoke (add it in small amounts alongside paprika for a fake bacon taste)
  • Quinoa (I mean, who doesn’t like quinoa?!)
  • Tinned tomatoes and passata (they will be useful for most dishes)

I could keep listing things, but these are the items I used back in 2018, and I still use them all now. You can create diverse meals, salads with nuts and tahini sauce, gorgeous vegan sin chilli, leek and potato soup, apple and plum crumble, and so much more.

I hope you found this list helpful, being a newbie vegan can be hard at times, but delicious and nutritious vegan food isn’t as difficult as we first think. Just be positive, research recipes, and don’t stress – it will fall into place eventually, I promise.

Kelly and Zoey’s blog is one of my favourite blogs – ourtransitionallife.com

Please check their sites out:

Our Transitional Life LGBTQ+ Family blog

You may also like

Leave a Comment

Update Required Flash plugin