Niki Webster is the founder of RebelRecipes.com, a vegan blog showcasing vegetables in their wholesome simplicity. Niki uses seasonal and local produce and pairs different flavours, textures and cuisines together for simple fuss-free recipes. It truly is food that feeds your soul as well as your belly. And here are Niki’s top pantry essentials for the ultimate vegan kitchen.

Vegan on Female First

Vegan on Female First

Niki Webster's Rebel Recipes publishes December 26th (Bloomsbury). For more recipe inspiration visit rebelrecipes.com

Kitchen Essential #1: Coconut 

Why I love it: I think that coconut products are fantastic ingredients in the vegan kitchen.

They are incredibly versatile and adds that extra something like creaminess and depth to a range of different sweet and savoury dishes.

Why I couldn't be without it: For me coconut adds the essential richness to plant-based food replacing dairy cream, butter and yogurt that you struggle to find in plant-based man-made alternatives.

What I use it for: Coconut milk transforms curries in seconds, coconut oil sets desserts perfectly and coconut yogurt is my go-to ingredient for both sweet & savoury. Just remember - a little goes a long way. My perfect day would consist of coconut yoghurt topped with granola, a warming bowl of spicy coconut dhal for lunch and a veg heavy Thai green curry for dinner – I absolutely love coconut in everything.

A RebelRecipes special: this Mushroom Coconut Fried Rice really uses coconut perfectly and is so simple to make.  

Kitchen Essential #2: Flours 

Why I love it: I always have a large selection of different flours in my pantry which means I can whip up flatbread in minutes - perfect for scooping up left-over curries and dips! 

Why I couldn't be without it: I tend to cook with a lot of naturally gluten-free flours like buckwheat and gram flour as it means my recipes are accessible to more people. A top tip is to mix gluten free flours together to improve the texture and flavour of your final dish. Ancient grains such as spelt, rye and teff are also perfect for making bread.

What I use it for:

Buckwheat Flour is my favourite and I tend to use it more than any other.

Gram Flour is another firm favourite with a great protein content and makes amazing crepes. 

Teff Flour comes from a tiny ancient grain originating from Ethiopia and makes the most amazing injera bread. 

Rice Flour is brilliant in desserts as it has a softer flour.

Rye & Spelt Flour have a lovely nutty texture for breads and desserts.

Quality Plain Flour - nothing matches the results if you want a fluffy flatbread or pizza base. 

Oat Flour - simply blitz oats to a fine flour and use in desserts.  

A RebelRecipe Special: These mini spelt pizzas are lovely.

Kitchen Essential #3: Nuts & seeds 

Why I love it: Nuts and seeds are an absolute necessity in any vegan pantry. They are brilliant in both sweet and savoury dishes. The possibilities with these are absolutely endless.

Why I couldn't be without it: They add so much crunch, texture, protein and good fats into your meal. I like to add a little of each to most dishes and they are my top tip for feeling satisfied after every meal.

What I use it for:

Seeds – slowly dry toast them to elevate the flavour and add to soups, porridge and baked goods.

Nuts – these are essential for adding texture, protein and good fats to a variety of dishes such as curries, stews and more.

Nut butters - add these to your oats or spread on toasted sourdough. 

Tahini – is one of my favourite ingredients. Tahini dressing on salads is amazing and its also delicious in desserts.

A RebelRecipes special: Create a delicious satay sauce - https://www.rebelrecipes.com/roast-squash-carrots-with-peanut-dressing-zingy-herbs/

Kitchen Essential #4: Pulses 

Why I love it: In one word - hummus! I'm obsessed with that creamy fluffy dip and having cooked chickpeas to hand means I can whip up a big bowl in minutes. Plus, they are nutrient dense so are a super addition to stews, chilli’s and soups.

Why I couldn't be without it: I try to include pulses in most of my meals. They are delicious, satisfying and protein packed. To create a complete plant-based protein - combine legumes and whole grains - so rice with beans, peanut butter or hummus on toast, dal with Flatbread.

What I use it for:

Chickpeas - I have a combination of dried which I cook in batches and freeze in hummus size portions and also use organic tinned. Tip - save the aquafaba for use in baking later. 

Red split lentils - I have a massive jar full. You can make a delicious dal in 15 minutes. 

Puy lentils - the earthy flavour and texture is amazing. 

Channa dal - brilliant for dals & curries 

Butter beans - another favourite to creating a creamy dip. 

Frozen peas - a must have ingredient - you can make an amazing dip/mash in minutes and adds fantastic plant-based protein to curries. 

Tofu - I use both firm & silken. 

A RebelRecipes special: a rich and delicious soup with lentils.

https://www.rebelrecipes.com/moroccan-spiced-lentil-chickpea-soup/

Kitchen Essential #5: Nutritional yeast 

Why I love it: Nutty, Cheesy, Creamy - all words I can use to describe this incredible addition to my vegan pantry. It also makes the perfect cheese sauce (with cashews).

Why I couldn't be without it: It adds that amazing 'cheesy' flavour and has added B12! So fantastic for vegans who may lack certain vitamins and minerals.

What I use it for: I love it sprinkled on veg chillis, stirred into mash or used to give a nutty flavour to soups, stews and more. I also make nut 'cheeses',  'cheese' sauce for lasagne and for pestos  - it’s a must. 

A RebelRecipes Special: In this delicious recipe I use nutritional yeast in both the cashew cheese and pesto:

https://www.rebelrecipes.com/rustic-cherry-tomato-cashew-cheese-pesto-tarts/


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