Recipes / Veganism

Meat-Free Monday: Stocking the Vegan Pantry

Happy Memorial Day, Everyone!  As it’s the unofficial start of summer, now’s a great time to incorporate some healthy changes into your diet.  Many people ask me what they should keep in their fridge and pantry for vegan recipes.  So I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to share with you all what items to have in your vegan pantry.  Many vegan cookbook chefs and cooks will tell you their personal faves so I’m going to share mine with you!

People often believe that healthy food and/or vegan food costs more.  And yes, it can be expensive depending on the ingredients.  But meat can also be pretty pricey.  And staples like rice and beans, which are a great foundation for lots of recipes, are uber cheap and last a long, long time.  So the best way to use this list if you don’t have any of the ingredients is to start with Round 1 (the basics), then build with Round 2, finishing off with the extras in Round 3.  That way, you won’t break the bank and you can start incorporating yummy vegan ingredients right away!



Canned or jarred goods
Black beans
Garbanzo beans (chickpeas) – great in salads or in hummus
Cannellini beans (white beans)
Black olives
Diced tomatoes
Fruit preserves – strawberry is my fave!
Peanut butter – great in PB&J’s or in peanut satay
Roasted red peppers – I love putting these in a food processor to make sauces

Balsamic vinegar
Soy sauce – I use it on its own as well as in mushroom gravy and with ginger green beans

Dairy substitutes
Non-dairy butter – Earth Balance is THE best, simply amazing!
Non-dairy milk – soy, rice, almond, hemp – I use vanilla and plain soy milk the most often in recipes and on my cereal as it contains lots of protein

Dry staples
Baking powder – vital for pancakes
Baking soda – along with apple cider vinegar, it’s vital in baking cupcakes
Cereal – my fave is Kashi’s Oat Flakes & Blueberry Clusters
Cocoa powder
Unbleached all-purpose flour

Herbs & spices
Most herbs and spices I use are dried although using fresh ingredients is always better. Items with an asterisk I only use fresh as the dried doesn’t do it justice.

Salt – sea salt is my fave!
Pepper – fresh or course ground enhances any dish

Liquid staples
Apple cider vinegar – with baking soda, it’s vital in baking cupcakes
Canola oil – flavorless oil that’s perfect for baking
Extra virgin olive oil
Vegetable broth – could NOT live without it, I use it in rice dishes, pasta dishes, gravy, and so many more recipes

Pasta & rice
Fettuccine pasta
Eggless lasagna noodles
Penne pasta
Arborio rice – the quintessential rice to cook risotto
Long-grain white or brown rice

Baby spinach leaves – it’s fab raw in salads or on sandwiches; cooked it’s wonderful in lasagna or with curry and stir fried veggies
Garlic – along with onions, forms the foundation for so many recipes
Green beans
Lemons – buying lemons as opposed to lemon juice, you can juice and zest the rind, getting twice the bang for your buck
Baby bella mushrooms
Portabella mushrooms
Onion – along with garlic, forms the foundation for so many recipes
Potatoes – Yukon Gold are my faves for creamy mashed potatoes

Maple syrup
Vanilla extract
Vegan sugar or raw sugar (sadly, most sugar is refined with bone char…ick!)
Vegan powdered or confectioners’ sugar – you can also make your own at home by putting 2 cups regular sugar in a coffee grinder with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch

Now that you have the basics, you can build your pantry to create even more recipes!

Baked goods
Trader Joe’s British muffins – vegan English muffins!
Pita bread
Taco shells

Canned or jarred goods
Artichoke hearts
Coconut milk
Coconut oil
Kalamata olives

Dijon mustard
Vegan mayo – Vegenaise brand is amazing!

Dairy substitutes
Non-dairy cheese – Daiya brand melts and stretches just like dairy cheese, it’ll blow your mind!
Tofu – extra firm is great for use as an entrée like in a stir fry or tofu scramble; smooth tofu is great for use in blended drinks like smoothies

Dry staples
French lentils
Nutritional yeast flakes – adds texture and gives a subtle almost cheesy flavor which is great for homemade mac & cheese

Herbs & spices
Most herbs and spices I use are dried although using fresh ingredients is always better. Items with an asterisk I only use fresh as the dried doesn’t do it justice.

Cayenne pepper
Cumin – with coriander, turmeric and cayenne, you can make your own curry powder

Pine nuts – I use ground pine nuts to make romesco (roasted red pepper sauce), pesto, and a creamy alfredo sauce alternative

Pasta & rice
Capellini pasta
Orzo pasta
Large shells – perfect for stuffed shells recipe
Basmati rice
Jasmine rice

Butternut Squash

These ingredients are either expensive or you probably won’t use them too often. But they are absolutely fabulous and will elevate your recipes.

Agave nectar – a delish alternative to honey, can be used in recipes and to sweeten drinks
Almond extract – my fave way to use this is in almond thumbprint cookies w/ strawberry preserves
Peanut oil
Rice vinegar
Sesame oil
Truffle oil – used in risotto or stroganoff, the aromatic oil heightens and enhances flavors
White wine – I often use wine in cooking, particularly risotto

Let me know if you have any questions in how to incorporate these ingredients into delectable dishes!

2 thoughts on “Meat-Free Monday: Stocking the Vegan Pantry

  1. GREAT list but… That photo is intimidating, don’t you think? I have all that stuff in my kitchen but it’s just on reg shelves, cupboards, displayed on the counters. You don’t need a huge walk in pantry to be vegan, trust me 😀

  2. Thanks Megan! Very helpful. It is really worth getting used to buying dried beans/lentils. If you go to Indian supermarkets you can usually buy them for VERY little. There is far less waste, you don’t have to worry about BFA plastic inside the cans, and you save lots of $$ over time (it just takes a little pre-planning to remember to soak overnight).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s