This is my fourth and final part to my series of tips. This series of tips is intended for anyone who is new to veganism, or looking to incorporate more vegan foods into their diets. The idea is to provide a very comprehensive list of ingredients and share when, where, and why I use them. In the first post, I covered grains, pastas, and legumes. In the second post, I went into my baking pantry. For the third post, I covered spices. This last post is about condiments.
For me, condiments are lifesavers in the kitchen. Unless I am cooking for a dinner, I rarely have time to throw my own sauces together. I typically keep five main essentials on hand at all times. I always have apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, ketchup and Veganaise.
At any given time, I will only keep two vinegars on hand. I do this mostly because I will clutter my kitchen with too many things and I try to keep it as simple as possible. I like the apple cider vinegar because it is incredibly versatile. A lot of times I will use it in place of white, rice, or any other neutral vinegar. It works well because it has a slightly sweet flavor which lends itself well to things like vinaigrettes, and Asian cuisine. I use apple cider vinegar to make a dairy free alternative to buttermilk for baking, and I will use apple cider vinegar to help baking soda activate in cakes. I also use it in place of lemon juice, since I know more than one person that is allergic to citrus. I like to use balsamic vinegar in my cooking. I like to use it in a tomato based sauce to bring out the sweetness and acidity of the tomatoes without adding any sugar. Once the vinegar reduces, it becomes sweet and it provides a nice balance. I will also reduce balsamic for a garnish when I think a dish needs a little contrast. It is also great for a quick salad dressing. I like to drizzle some over vegetables with a little olive oil, and have an instant dressing.
I keep dijon mustard on hand at all times because I can use it for more than veggie burgers and french fries. I will use dijon mustard as a marinade, in sauces, or to emulsify vinaigrettes. I like using dijon mustard instead of yellow mustard because it is more versatile. I only use yellow mustard as a condiment, but with dijon, I can use it as a condiment and as an actual ingredient in cooking.
The last two condiments are my ode to laziness and convenience foods. I must admit, I love and appreciate it when a place makes their own ketchup, but I just don’t do that if I am cooking for myself. I mostly keep ketchup on hand because I like it on potatoes and tofu scramble. I will opt for an organic ketchup that either contains organic sugars or is sweetened with agave. I can tase the difference, so I am fairly picky. I have made my own vegan mayonnaise before, but I usually don’t want to put in the effort unless I am making a dinner. I like the Follow Your Heart brand. I will make my own ranch, use it as part of a dressing for chickpea salad, or just spread it on a sandwich. I don’t use it all of the time, but it is a nice condiment to have on hand.
I hope this tip was useful. I wish I would have had a guide for condiments. I never knew what I needed or wanted, so I always had an over crowded fridge. This keeps the clutter down, and makes everything a lot simpler!