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Vegan Pantry "Must-Haves"



Transitioning into a vegan, or plant-based lifestyle can seem intimidating. Even the thought of following, and maintaining a healthy diet is overwhelming, at times, especially at the beginning. The key to maintaining a healthy habit is efficient planning.


There are so many vegan options to buy nowadays, as the vegan diet is becoming more common. The bad news is, that most of those options are heavily processed, and full of fat and added sugar. Vegan junk food is a culprit. Indulging in it, every once in a while, and in small quantities, shouldn’t pose a problem. The problem begins when people forget about the essentials. Which the vegan diet is abundant.


Creating a list gives us a better understanding of what to have in our arsenal. This will provide us with the building blocks of our vegan pantry. In order for us to eat healthfully, we must go back to the basics. A nutritious vegan diet consists of consuming enough protein, and enough lightly processed/ complex carbohydrates, as well as consuming fat, sodium, and added sugar sparingly. Combining nutrient-dense vegan food items, with exercise, hydration, and adequate rest will ensure our success.


Each category is important. If it is not the main one, it is one that complements your dishes. Oils and added sugar are not nutritious and contain empty calories. Meaning; they are high in calories but are not satiating. Too much salt contributes to health problems, such as high blood pressure. On a brighter note, your palate has the ability to change, hence it adapts to less salt. Lemon juice is an excellent substitute for table salt.


Fruit


credits: Jonas Kakaroto, source: unsplash.com

In-season produce is always best. It’s more nutritious, and more often than not, fresher. Dried fruit is an awesome snack. Mixing them with oats, and some nuts or nut butter makes a complete meal. Let’s not forget about frozen fruit. They are the backup fruits. If stored properly they can last for a long time.


​apples

cherries

frozen berries

mandarins

pears

​raisins

​apricots

dates

mangoes

persimmons

raspberries

grapes

bananas

​dried

in-season fruit

oranges

pineapple

strawberries

blueberries

kiwi

plums

watermelon

figs

​kiwi

Vegetables


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This is, by no means, a complete list of all of the vegetables that exist. I picked these because they are the most versatile.

asparagus

brussels sprouts

​carrots

​corn

garlic

okra

​red-leaf lettuce

​spinach

avocados

butternut squash

celery

cauliflower

green onion

​romaine lettuce

​sweet potatoes

broccoli

bell peppers

​button mushrooms

​cherry tomatoes

​cucumbers

iceberg lettuce

​oyster mushrooms

shiitake mushrooms

tomatoes

cabbage

collard greens

​frozen vegetables

​kale

potatoes

spaghetti squash

zucchini

Pickles

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Pickles always add that extra zhuzh!

black olives

giardiniera

manzanilla olives stuffed with pimento

cocktail pickles

kalamata olives

sliced pickles

dill pickles

mixed pickled vegetables

vegan kimchi

Starches

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Whole grains are high in antioxidants and dietary fiber. Starches are essential pantry items (staples). You can bake, make breakfast, make meals, and snacks with them. Take oats, for example!


unbleached all purpose flour

bulgur

​farfalle pasta

millet

​oat bran

potato starch

rotini pasta

wheat chex

black rice

corn flour

freekeh

minimally processed ramen noodles

oat flour

quinoa

self-rising flour

wheat germ

​blanched almond flour

corn starch

lasagna pasta

minimally processed whole grain breads

oats

rice flour

spaghetti

white rice

brown rice

elbows pasta

mung bean noodles

lightly-salted rice cakes

penne pasta

rice noodles

tapioca flour

whole wheat flour

Other Baking Items


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baking powder

instant yeast

baking soda

unsweetenened cocoa powder

vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips

vanilla extract

Flaxseed is not on this list. It is under nuts & seeds. This is a baking section, and a nifty trick is mixing flaxseed meal (ground flaxseed) with water, which can be used instead of eggs, to create a binding agent in vegan baking. The ratio is 1 tbsp flaxseed meal to 3 tbsp water. Mix well, and let sit for 5 minutes, then use.


Protein

Credits: Shelley Pauls, source: unsplash.com

Beans and tofu can be used in so many sweet and savory meals. And there are so many options to choose from. Here are some great protein options:

bean sprouts

edamame spaghetti

red lentil

besan (gram flour)

extra firm tofu

silken tofu

black beans

green lentil

Tempeh

broad beans

green peas

TVP

chickpeas

kidney beans

wheat gluten

edamame

nutritious protein shakes

white beans

edamame noodles

pinto beans

whole lentil

Canned Food Items


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Canned items are always great when you don’t want to spend a lot of time preparing food. They’re especially handy when going on trips.

black beans

diced tomato

mixed vegetables

pinto beans

black olives

green beans

mushrooms

sliced beets

cherries

green peas

navy beans

tomato paste

checkpeas

lentils

peaches

tomato sauce

corn

mixed fruit

pineapple chunks

white beans

Jams & Spreads


Credits: Keri Titley, source: unsplash.com

Jams are a terrific pantry item. I prefer homemade jam, with as little sugar added as possible. Grocery stores do have no sugar-added jams, but they’re either expensive or hard to find. Nevertheless, the internet is full of homemade jam recipes like this one.

​apricot jam

date paste

natural almond butter

raspberry jam

sunbutter

blueberry jam

fig jam

natural peanut butter

red plum jam

tahini

cashew butter

grape jam

orange marmalade

roasted garlic paste

vegemite

cherry jam

hazelnut butter

peach jam

sour cherry jam

walnut butter

cranberry jam

macadamia nut butter

pistachio butter

strawberry jam

Cooking Oil


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Using cooking oil in moderation adds different flavor profiles to cooking. Here are the main ones:

canola oil

grapeseed oil

sesame oil

coconut oil

olive oil

sunflower oil

avocado oil

peanut oil

vegetable oil

Nuts & Seeds


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Nuts and seeds are good sources of essential amino acids. They add different flavors to meals, not to mention that wonderful crunch. Again, moderation is key.

almonds

hazelnuts

pistachios

brazil nuts

hemp seeds

pumpkin seeds

cashews

macadamia nuts

sunflower seeds

chia seeds

peanuts

unsweetened shredded coconut

flaxseeds

pecans

walnuts

Sweeteners

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Compared to regular white sugar, these sweeteners have depth to them and produce more pleasurable flavors.

agave

monk fruit in the raw

coconut sugar

stevia in the raw

date syrup

turbinado sugar

maple syrup

Seasoning

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The list of seasoning is never-ending. Experiment, make your own, mix, and match. Start with small amounts, and add more as needed.

​allspice

cardamom

dried oregano

ginger powder

nutmeg

sesame seeds

amchur powder

chili powder

dried rosemary

ground cloves

nutritional yeast

smoked paprika

anise star

chinese 5 spice

dried sage

ground cumin

onion powder

sweet paprika

bayleaves

cinnamon

dried thyme

italian seasoning

red curry powder

turneric

black pepper

dried basil

garam masala

kelp powder

red pepper flakes

white pepper

black salt

dried mint

garlic powder kosher salt

sea salt

yellow curry powder

Sauces & Condiments

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Sauces make or break a dish. Tread with caution, but don’t be afraid to try out different combinations.

​apple cider vinegar

hot sauce

red salsa

tomato paste

white wine vinegar

balsamic vinegar

ketchup

red wine vinegar

vegan bbq sauce

yellow mustard

bragg aminos

lemon juice

rice vinegar

vegan buffalo sauce

dijon mustard

liquid smoke

sriracha sauce

worcestershire sauce

​green salsa

lite-sodium soy sauce

tabasco sauce

vegetable stock

hoisin sauce

miso paste

teriyaki sauce

white vinegar


Beverages


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A staple in our kitchen is unsweetened soy milk. Not only is it a good source of protein, but the “modern-day” soy milk also doesn’t have that horrible after-taste. It tastes creamy and substitutes regular milk nicely. Soy milk is great in porridge, protein shakes, and baking.


If the goal is to consume empty calories scarcely, opting for unsweetened, or lightly-sweetened plant milk is the way to go.

almond milk

flax milk

oat milk

cashew milk

light coconut milk

rice milk

coconut milk

macadamia milk

soy milk

Kitchenware


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Kitchenware is an important part of making and preparing food. Besides the essentials, like silverware, plates, cups, and bowls, this is a list of what helps us enjoy our cooking and food prep processes.


air popcorn popper

food processor

ladle

mixing bowl

pyrex dishes

stainless steel pots

bread knife

fruit cutting board

mandoline slicer

non-stick pans

rice cooker

stainless steel strainer

bread pan

fruit knives

masher

non-stick pots

safety gloves

toaster

cake pan

grater

measuring cups

oven mitts

silicon mats

tongs

convection over/air fryer

heavy duty blender

mesasuring spoons

pancake spatula

spatulas

vegetable knife

dutch oven

heavy duty cutting board

mixer

parchment paper

spice grinder

whisk

food prep containers

juicer

mixing bowl with lid

spiralizer

stainless steel pans

wooden spoons


Recommended kitchen appliance brands are:


Black+Decker

Breville (convection oven)

Hamilton beach

kitchen aid (mixer)

Mueller

Ninja (blender)

Phillips

Presto (air popcorn popper)

T-fal




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