Vegan Pantry: your guide to stocking a healthy plant-based pantry
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What goes in a vegan pantry?
Stocking a pantry takes some organization. But it’s not complicated.
With vegan cooking, we know there are four ‘new’ food groups:
- vegetables and fruits
- nuts and seeds
That might sound straightforward – maybe even dull. But, within these categories, there are so many ingredients to stock a vegan pantry!
This vegan pantry primer will cover most (or all) of your ingredient needs – apart from fresh fruits and vegetables – for general cooking as well as vegan recipe needs. Let’s get started!
Vegan Pantry: LEGUMES
Legumes are probably one of the most underutilized foods in standard diets – and also in many vegan diets. Not in my recipes, though! I love beans, lentils, and other legumes – and you see them abundantly in my recipes.
While I would love to cook all my beans from scratch, most of us working and with kids know that is near impossible. Except for lentils – I almost always cook those from dried. They are quick to cook and don’t require soaking. When buying canned beans be sure to look for certified BPA-free varieties.
What varieties of beans should you stock? some common varieties of beans and legumes to stock in your pantry (both dried and canned):
- adzuki beans
- black beans
- black-eyed peas
- cannellini (white kidney) beans
- chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and also chickpea flour
- kidney beans
- lentils (green/brown, red, and French le puy)
- mung beans
- navy beans (and/or Great Northern beans)
- pinto beans
- split peas
- Soy beans can be purchased to use whole, though most often consumed in the form of tofu, tempeh, and fresh as edamame
Vegan Pantry: GRAINS
There are many whole grains available, yet most of us rely on a handful of grains regularly. Examples to stock in your pantry (most common in bold):
- brown rice (long grain, short grain, brown basmati)
- corn (dried corn kernels (popcorn!) and stone-ground cornmeal)
- kamut berries
- oat products: oat groats, steel-cut oats, rolled oats
- rye berries
- spelt berries
- wild rice
- wheat berries
Whole-grains are then milled into flours to make whole-grain foods like pasta and bread. Cereals and pasta are perfect for pantry storage, and whole-grain/sprouted bread can be frozen.
- Breads: sprouted whole grain, kamut, spelt, etc.; be sure to look for 100 percent whole grain)
- Cereals: look for brands that contain whole-grain ingredients and are low in sweeteners)
- Pastas: brown rice pasta, whole wheat pasta, Kamut pasta, quinoa pasta and more
Vegan Pantry: SEEDS and SEED BUTTERS
Common seeds used in vegan cooking include:
- chia: whole and ground
- flax: whole and ground (best to buy ground flax refrigerated)
- hemp seed
- pumpkin seeds (these are my favorite!)
As for seed butters, tahini (sesame seed butter) is the only one I personally use regularly. See this post for my tahini tips.
However, if you have nut sensitivities or allergies, you will likely stock sunflower butter and pumpkin seed butter. Another option is an organic soynut butter. Technically not a seed (soy being a legume), however soynut butter is a great substitute for peanut butter.
Vegan Pantry: NUTS and NUT BUTTERS
Some common nuts to include in your vegan pantry are:
- almonds (and almond meal/flour)
- Brazil nuts
- macadamia nuts
- pine nuts
The majority of my recipes call for raw nuts, with a selection calling for roasted nuts. You can roast nuts yourself or buy some pre-roasted.
Nut butters are naturally sweeter than seed butters, so often preferred for eating and in recipes. The most common nut butters are almond (raw and roasted) and cashew (roasted and raw), but you can also find butters made from hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, walnuts – and also nut butter blends.
Vegan Pantry: DRIED & FROZEN
It is very helpful to have a variety of frozen fruits and veggies, and also some dried and otherwise preserved fruits/veggies, including:
- Coconut (Shredded) and Coconut Butter: Shredded (unsweetened) coconut and coconut butter are special entries because although coconut sounds like a nut it is not. Coconut is technically a fruit, and so well suited for those with nut allergies. Coconut butter is made much like almond butter – it’s a puree of the whole food (just coconut instead of almonds). It has a very different texture and cannot be used in an even swap in all recipes, but it is a magical ingredient! I share more on coconut butter in this post.
Other dried (unsulphured) fruit: apricots, cranberries, pitted dates, and raisins are the most common. But, also try dried organic berries, goji berries, dried mango, dried banana, dried cherries, and dried pineapple!
- Dried/preserved vegetables: sun-dried tomatoes, onion flakes, roasted peppers
- Frozen fruit: bananas, blueberries, mangoes, pineapple, raspberries, strawberries
- Frozen vegetables: artichokes, broccoli, corn, peas, winter squash (cubed)
Vegan Pantry: NON-DAIRY PRODUCTS
- Canned coconut milk: Premium and “lite” (for cooking and baking, not drinking).
- Non-dairy milks: You can opt for refrigerated and also shelf-stable. For most purposes, I prefer plain unsweetened almond and organic soy milks. Other popular nondairy milks include coconut, rice, hemp, flax, and oat milks. You can make your own dairy-free milks at home.
- Non-dairy yogurt: Obviously a refrigerated item, but many varieties will keep for a couple of weeks (unopened). Brands and varieties differ in texture and sweetness.
Vegan Pantry: DRIED HERBS & SPICES
Your vegan pantry can include these dried herbs and spices:
- allspice (ground)
- basil leaves
- bay leaves
- black peppercorns (whole)
- black salt (kala namak/Indian salt)
- caraway seeds
- cardamom (ground)
- cayenne pepper
- celery seed
- chili powder
- cinnamon (sticks and ground)
- cloves (ground and whole)
- coriander (seeds and ground)
- cumin (seeds and ground)
- curry powder
- dill seeds
- dill weed (I personally prefer dill seeds)
- fennel (seeds and ground)
- garlic powder
- ginger (ground)
- mustard seeds
- nutmeg (whole and ground)
- onion powder
- oregano leaves
- paprika (see smoked paprika, below)
- red pepper (crushed flakes)
- rosemary leaves
- smoked paprika (you’ll never go back to regular paprika!)
- thyme leaves
- turmeric (ground)
Vegan Pantry: VINEGARS/CONDIMENTS
Vinegars and condiments add even more depth of flavor and more ‘umami’ to your dishes.
Vinegars:Vinegars vary in acidity and flavor. Some common varieties to keep in your pantry include:
Condiments: These are just some condiments that can be included in your vegan pantry:
- natural barbecue sauce (check labels to ensure that it’s vegan)
- chipotle hot sauce
- ketchup (look for natural varieties)
- miso (soy-based and chickpea-based; must be refrigerated)
- mustard and Dijon mustard
- pickles and relish
- nutritional yeast
- olives/pitted olives (green, black, kalamata, dry olives)
- vegan hoisin sauce
- sea salt and seasoned salts, such as: Herbamare, truffle salt (ah-mazing!), smoked paprika salt (omgzoinks!)
- organic tamari (or coconut aminos, for a soy-free option)
- organic tomato paste
- vegan Worcestershire sauce
Vegan Pantry: SWEETENERS
- applesauce (unsweetened, organic)
- canned pineapple/frozen pineapple
- bananas (when overripe slice and freeze!)
- canned sweet potato and pumpkin
- Pure maple syrup (usually cheapest at Costco)
- Date syrup
- Coconut nectar
- Brown rice syrup
- Agave Nectar
- Granulated Sweeteners
Dried Fruits (see list above for links)
- pitted dates
- unsulphured apricots
- Other options: organic berries, goji berries, prunes, dried mango, dried banana, dried cherries, and dried pineapple
Vegan Pantry: Baking Goods
- whole-wheat flour and whole-wheat pastry flour
- white whole-wheat flour – this is not white flour, rather it’s a whole-grain flour of a different variety of wheat with a milder flavor and paler color
- Spelt flour
- Oat flour
- Corn flour and/or cornmeal
- Almond Flour (almond meal)
- Gluten-Free Flours (if needed): millet, sorghum, white rice/brown rice, buckwheat, potato flour, chickpea flour, all-purpose GF flour
- Baking Powder
- Baking Soda
Thickeners and Starches
- Flax meal
- Chia Seed and Ground Chia Seed
- arrowroot powder
- tapioca starch
- Potato starch
- Agar powder (gelatin substitute)
- Xanthan gum and guar gum (if needed for gltuten-free)
- cocoa powder
- dark chocolate chips
- Extracts and Seasonings
I plan to update soon with a printable PDF of this pantry list. Stay tuned!
I hope this pantry list is useful I have included amazon.com links for shopping convenience. I haven’t added Canadian links because amazon.ca doesn’t have the breadth of products (or the prices are prohibitive). If you purchase through these links, you pay the same price. I simply receive a small referral fee which helps me bring more content to you – free of charge.
Would you add anything to this list? If so, please add your suggestion in the comments.
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