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The Bulk Bin:

Nutritional Yeast - I use nutritional yeast (or nooch) to add a cheezy flavor to foods & sauces. Nooch alone won't do it, though. I usually add lemon juice, salt or miso and often red peppers, pimento or paprika. It can also be used to add a savory depth to your dish. I try not to overuse nooch, as it can be overpowering, and can be a bit of an acquired taste. If you love the stuff, feel free to add more. If you're skeptical, don't be afraid. Most of my recipes err on the side of mild.

Vital Wheat Gluten - Vital wheat gluten is critically important in many of my 'meat' and burger dishes. It is a strong binding agent and gives fake meat that chewy or meaty bite. A couple of hints, though. Always mix it with cold ingredients. It activates with heat. Also, in seitan, it will become chewy if boiled hard. Cook it at or below a simmer, if possible.

Bulgur - Bulgur is a par boiled, cracked wheat. It cooks much like rice, and has an amazing, 'ground beef' texture. When others use TVP, I use bulgur, as I vastly prefer the flavor and texture. It readily absorbs flavor from the liquid it cooks in.

Cashews - I use cashews frequently in sauces & salad dressings. I always use raw & unsalted cashews. Toasted cashews can be a suitable replacement, but if they're salted, be sure to adjust the salt content.

Soy Milk - I use plain unsweetened soy milk, which is different than plain. Other milks (plain soy, almond, rice, etc) may add an unwanted sweetness. Rice milk, I think, is the most neutral flavored alternative.

Rice - For some reason, I have trouble cooking rice. For this reason, I usually cook with Jasmine rice, and sometimes Basmatti or brown. I but never the bulk, long grain white rice. If you use other varieties, you may need to adjust moisture or cooking time.

Miso - I use a lot of miso. Yellow miso is a mild variety and the one that I use exclusively. Red miso has a bolder flavor and can be a suitable substitute. You may want to use a bit less.

Herbs & Spices - I use a ton of herbs, usually fresh in the summer and dried in the winter. Generally speaking, you can substitute one-third unit of dried for one unit of fresh. I highly recommend buying your dried herbs & spices in bulk. They are many times less expensive and you can buy only what you need. If my recipe calls for a spice you don't have, you can probably get a tablespoon or two for a few pennies in bulk.

Preferred Products:

Earth Balance Margarine:  I use Earth Balance in place of butter.  It works well with baking, has good flavor and comes in cubes and tubs.  It has no trans fat.

Nancy's Soy Yogurt:  I don't have a lot of vegan yogurt options, but I'm absolutely a fan of Nancy's Yogurt.  It's got a hint of agave, which sets it apart from other plain yogurts.  And the Springfield Creamery is a small, locally owned business.  I work with the owners and, dairy business aside, they are the a rare example of a socially responsible enterprise.  They donate generously to many social and cultural causes and have been a cornerstone to the Eugene community for years.

Tofutti - I have tried many sour creams & cream cheeses.  They all seem to be missing something:  a gritty texture, a bland flavor or trans fat.  I greatly prefer Tofutti's cream cheese and sour cream.  Tofutti does produce varieties with trans fat and without trans fat, so make sure and read the label.

Daiya - When I first found Daiya, The closest location was 100 miles away and I'd buy ten pounds at a time (it freezes well).  Daiya melts like no other vegan cheese and is even stringy like real mozzarella.  It is the sole reason I started eating pizza again.  You really have to try this stuff.

Better Than Bouillon -These are my preference for broth powder.  They are actually a thick paste that need refrigeration, but the no-beef and no-chicken varieties have the best flavor that I've tried.

Vegenaise - There is no other reasonable substitute for vegan mayonnaise.  Period!

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