Akasha Richmond was once a private chef, preparing healthy meals for celebrities like Michael Jackson and Barbra Streisand. At her Los Angeles restaurant, Akasha, she now creates excellent dishes for both vegans and omnivores.

By Food & Wine
Updated March 31, 2015
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Akasha Richmond’s

Vegan Pantry

Vegenaise

“This may be a little personal, but mayonnaise grosses me out. I use this dairy-free, eggless version, and no one in my restaurant ever knows.”

Earth Balance Coconut Spread

“At Thanksgiving, I swap this spread for butter in mashed potatoes. It’s lactose-, soy- and gluten-free.”

Nutritional Yeast

“This is so hippie. I like it sprinkled on popcorn and salads. It’s high in protein and a great flavor enhancer.”

Beans and Legumes

“I adore all kinds of beans, especially Rancho Gordo’s, and I love red lentils because they cook so fast.”

Whole Grains

“I use a lot of quinoa, green bamboo rice and millet because you can make them ahead. I mash them into burgers and mix them with vegetables. I have millet with almond milk for breakfast.”

Cashews

“I soak and puree them to make a luscious crema to top things like enchiladas.”

Hemp Seeds

“I have a friend who carries them everywhere. They’re a complete protein with plenty of omega-3 and -6 fatty acids. Add them to salads, grains, even cookie dough.”

Mario Batali’s Vegan Dishes

Recipes for Vegan Grocery List Staples

In Richard Blais's playful vegan take on osso buco (braised veal shanks), he braises very large pieces of carrots in red wine and mushroom broth until tender. Ground dried porcini mushrooms give the dish rich, meaty flavor.
LUCY SCHAEFFER