Like any other chef, vegans stock their pantry with essential ingredients that are necessary for everyday cooking. Like garlic and ginger in the kitchens of many Asian countries, there are several useful and common ingredients that can be found in the kitchens of those who regularly eat meatless dishes. These ingredients add not only flavour but also protein and texture to their regular meals. Each kitchen is unique, and every pantry's contents vary depending on a home cook's palette. However, if you're just starting out and are collecting some of the best vegan recipes on the web, including from this site, here are some ingredients that you may want to fully stock your kitchen with. Tofu Tofu is one of the most important ingredients of a vegan home cook. It can be used as a substitute for meat so keeping blocks of tofu in your kitchen at all times expands your repertoire of dishes tremendously. Apart from being an effective substitute for meat, tofu is often mixed into dressings, soups, and stir-fries. Dried fruit Dried fruits such as apricots and mangoes are delicious snacks and they can also be used to enhance the flavour of pastries. Keep a few of these in your kitchen if you're doing a lot of baking. Vegetable stock When cutting vegetables, it is important not to throw away the edges. Instead, keep them in a plastic or paper bag and then once you have enough, boil them. This is the best way to make vegetable stock. Vegetable stock is the lifeline of many vegan soups and stews. Beans Beans can either be used as a main ingredient for a dish or dip. Keeping beans allow vegans always to make delicious salads, soups, and even stews. There are several types of beans that you can use such as kidney, lentil, chickpea, cannellini, and pinto. A fun way of using beans is mixing and matching them in dishes. Mixed beans on a plate not only make the presentation beautiful but they also add texture. There are many different ways of mixing and matching beans that you can experiment on. The number of potential arrangements, and how probable each one is based on permutations and combinations, which is what makes cooking with beans really fun. The combinations you can try and boundless, but we suggest mixing pinto and chickpeas in soup for starters. Tempeh Tempeh is one of the best and healthiest sources of protein. It kind of looks like tofu but it isn't quite the same. It can be easily prepared and you can store it in the freezer for a few months with out in going off. If you're interested in making your very own, here's a site that teaches people how to create tempeh from scratch. Nuts Like dried fruits, nuts are not only great for snacking but also add texture to food. Nuts are used in making pasta dishes such as pesto as well as green salads. You can increase the shelf life of nuts by keeping them in the freezer. Miso Miso is a dish that is extremely common in Japanese cuisine. It adds texture as well as light flavouring to soups and stews. Miso can make simple meals really delicious so always keep a fresh stock of it in your refrigerator.