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Mark Bittman's VB6 Pantry Essentials

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This week, Mark Bittman is serving as a Guest Editor at Food52. He chose a Wildcard winner, answered our questions, and has been sharing recipes from his new Cooking Basics app.

Today, Mark outlines the five pantry staples that are essential to go Vegan Before 6. To get you started, we're giving away five copies!


1. Aromatics, the staples that make everything else taste better: onions, garlic, ginger, shallots, carrots, and celery, for example.


2. Fresh vegetables and fruit should be the base of every meal. When in a time crunch, frozen vegetables make prep a snap, and you can use frozen fruit to whip up a smoothie. (Some beans -- like lima, fava, and black-eyed peas -- are sold frozen, too.)

Essential Spices

3. An assortment of spices, chiles, dried herbs, and fresh herbs will liven up any meal.


4. Beans are a must. They come in hundreds of varieties. You can use canned beans in almost all recipes, and smaller beans, split peas, and lentils cook quickly. Then you can refrigerate or freeze them in small containers.

Whole Grains

5. Brown rice and whole grains. Keep at least a couple of these around and cook them in big batches. There's a huge variety -- explore it all. 

Mark is giving away five copies of his new book, VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health . . . for Good. To enter, tell us: what are your most trusted pantry staples?

Photos by James Ransom

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Tags: Weeknight Cooking, Lists, Ingredients, Guest Editors