- Lentils - it would be hard for me to be a vegan without lentils, especial red and black (beluga) lentils. Red lentils cook in 10 minutes and make great tasting soups. Lentils are legumes and are full of protein, fiber, and high levels of folic acid. They help prevent anemia and are an important nutrient for pregnant women, due to the folic acid content.
- Quinoa - it's mistaken for a grain, but actually it's a seed. It provide a complete protein, is easily digestible, and delivers iron and potassium. It's also gluten-free and takes only 15 minutes to cook on the stove. Quinoa mixes with anything, so you can add it to a variety of recipes or enjoy it on its own!
- Cabbage and Kale - both are cruciferous vegetables and I use them for about 95% of my salads. I have probably eaten entire truckloads of each over the years. Both plants provide many nutrients and prevent so many chronic illness, that it takes too long to describe. Needless to say, they are my super greens!
- Butternut Squash - I put butternut squash into almost every possible recipe these days. I remove the rind and chop it up into small pieces and drop it into soups (red lentil soup!), stews, roasted veggies, etc, etc. etc. The beta-carotene content is high and I believe that orange vegetables are great for overall mood and mental health.
- Ginger, Garlic, and Onions - the combination of these three ingredients form the basis of many of my recipes. The are anti-inflammatory, healing, and potent. The more you can get of raw onions, as well, will help the health of your mouth and throat.
- Figs - if I don't have time to munch on an apple, peel an orange, or find a good banana, try eating a fig a day. They provide tons of fiber and a lot of potassium. They are easy to transport around, last a long time in the fridge, and pacify your sweet tooth.
- Avocados - now more affordable than ever, avocados taste great, provide some essential oils, and help the absorption of carotenoids. They also have fiber, potassium, and folate. It's easy to slice up avocados into salads or just eat them on their own with a sprinkle lime and a dash of salt!
- Carrots - I buy 2 pound bags of carrots every time I shop and I go through them quickly. They go into soups, stews, salads, and roasted veggies all the time. The nutrient list of carrots is large and the beta-carotene benefit is there as well. They're an easy ingredient to add and well worth it!
- Red Bell Peppers - red bell peppers are a more mature version of green bell peppers and have some nice nutritional characteristics. Green bell peppers have 340 mcg of beta-carotene per cup while red bell peppers have 840 mcg. Also, green bell peppers have 12% of the daily value of Vitamin A while red bell peppers have 105%. Red bell peppers also have more Vitamin C than green bell peppers. Red bell peppers can go everywhere, especially when diced, so they are easy nutrition!
So there you have it! Of course, I eat many more vegetables and fruits on a daily basis than this list (chard, yams, radishes, mushrooms, tomatoes, etc.) covers, but if I had to go to the store right now and wanted to stock up on my key ingredients, I'd certainly add these to my shopping cart!