7 Plant-Based Groceries Carla Hall Always Has on Hand

published Apr 19, 2022
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Credit: Christine Han

I could talk to Carla Hall for hours about anything. For the purpose of this post, however, we focused on her favorite plant-based groceries — the ones she always has in her kitchen (or, in one case, her car). The chef, TV personality, and former model does not identify as vegan (or anything specific, really). Instead of sticking to a certain diet, she likes to focus on what the food can do for her body and how it makes her feel. And so items that are high in protein are well, high, on her list. Ditto for groceries that can add flavor to her dishes. These are the seven she highly recommends.

Credit: Nasoya

1. Extra-Firm Tofu

“For me food is also about my lifestyle,” says Hall. “And I’m always looking for other proteins.” One of her favorites is Nasoya Extra Firm Tofu, which comes in block form. She shops at Safeway a lot, so she also picks up their organic extra-firm tofu in block form. “I prefer to cut my own cubes because I want to get all the water out,” she says. “Tofu takes on any spice that you want it to — especially when you press the water out.” 

Buy: Nesoya Extra Firm Tofu, $2.99 for 14 ounces on Instacart

Credit: Califia Farms

2. Unsweetened Almond Milk

Hall, who is a spokesperson for Califia Farms, says she’s used their products for years. She adds almond milk or oat milk to her oatmeal every morning, and found a surprising new use for the unsweetened almond milk in particular: She uses it in soups. Especially those earthier soups with “mushrooms, carrots and onions — it really absorbs the flavor,” says Hall.

Buy: Califia Farms Unsweetened Almond Milk, $6.29 for 48 ounces at Instacart

Credit: Violife

3. Vegan Cheese

“I think the vegan cheeses are so much better now than they used to be,” says Hall. Violife’s Just Like Feta is her go-to pick. “It’s salty and I can use it in creamy things, even mixing it with the Califia almond milk and making a bechamel-like sauce, which is so delicious.” She also uses it for creamed spinach, as crumbles in a Greek salad, and in omelets.

Buy: Violife Just Like Feta, $5.49 for 8.1 ounces at Amazon

Credit: Hikari

4. White Miso

Another thing Hall always has on hand is white miso — although she doesn’t have a favorite brand. “I use white miso soup in place of chicken stock. It’s really good in onion soup just because of the saltiness, but also the depth of flavor that you get, and that umami.” 

Buy: Hikari Organic White Miso Paste, $12.11 for 17.6 ounces at Amazon

Credit: Tsiona Foods

5. Injera Crisps

Specifically, the medium spicy kind: “Those things are delicious,” says Hall. “Whenever I’m driving around, I always have nuts or chips or something like that in the car, because when I get hungry, I need to eat right away.” At home, she says the crisps are “always great with hummus.” What kind? Glad you asked …

Buy: Tsiona Foods Injera Crisps, $21.99 for 4 (6-ounce) packages at Tsiona Foods

Credit: Cava

6. Hummus

Hall loves Cava’s hummus. It’s protein-rich, so it’s a good snack for her. But she also has a more up-close-and-personal relationship with the makers behind the product: “They’re from [Washington] D.C. I remember when they were a small company; I was looking for a kitchen to use and I went to their facility because they were like, ‘Oh well, you can use our kitchen,’” says Hall. “I trust them and part of it is that I’ve seen behind the scenes [of] this product being made.”

Buy: Cava Traditional Hummus, $3.99 for 8 ounces at Amazon

Credit: Miyoko's

7. Vegan Butter

Hall is always making biscuits and she has “every which way to make them.” She has Miyoko’s vegan butter in her fridge all the time, so anyone who wants a biscuit — whether they’re vegan, or gluten-free, or a complete stranger — can have one freshly made, from scratch. Hall says that technique and the products that you use are both important.

Tried any new plant-based groceries lately? Tell us in the comments below!