I can't help it: When I see a grocery store bulk section, I get excited. The selection alone is enticing, but I know I can also try new whole grains, dried fruit, nuts, cereals and flours for cheap while reducing my impact on the environment by buying foods that aren't (over)packaged in plastic, glass, and cardboard. Here are my latest top five bulk food buys and recipes in which to use them.5 Must-buy vegan bulk foods1. Dried Cherries
Toss a generous handful of dried cherries in your vegan breakfast recipes or savory dishes to load up on antioxidants, fiber, and a natural anti-inflammatory that has also been linked to improved sleep (cherries are a natural source of melatonin, the sleep hormone).>>Golden Beets and Kale with Brown Rice 2. Raw almonds
Packed with healthy fats, fiber, vitamin E, and other essential nutrients, raw almonds are a nutritious vegan snack and key ingredient to add vegan protein to your meals.>>Almond Butter Oatmeal Cookies 3. Dried beans
No, cooking dried beans for an hour or more isn't as convenient as opening a can, but the money you save and the fresher taste of cooked beans is worth the effort. Best yet, there is a larger variety of dried beans than canned beans to choose from, meaning you have even more ways to add protein to your vegan diet.>>Falafel 4. Flax seed
In whole or ground forms, flax seed is a must-have in the vegan kitchen. Rich in heart-healthy omega-3s, ground flax (or whole flax, ground at home) boosts the nutrition of your baked goods while also providing healthy fats and serves as a binder to replace eggs.>>Cinnamon Orange Zest Muffins5. Quinoa
Another protein-packed bulk food, quinoa comes in golden, red, and black varieties. Quick to prepare and loaded with fiber and other important nutrients, quinoa can be served for breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert.>>Quinoa and Edamame Soup More healthy vegan recipes!