Having a stocked up pantry is absolutely essential on a whole food, plant-based diet. It makes life so much easier when you want to prepare a meal, and you have most of the needed ingredients on hand.
If you shop for produce regularly – that’s great, and you probably find it relatively easy to do! But shopping for pantry items can be much trickier on a plant based diet. Many ingredients that you’ll find in recipes are not available in the grocery store, and that can be so discouraging! It may make you want to completely give up this amazing lifestyle just because of the amount of overwhelm you may feel when you step into the grocery store and find that most of what you need to make meals is not available.
If you are in this situation, or if you are just curious what my vegan pantry staples are: you’ve come to the right place! In today’s post, you will learn the pantry essentials that I just couldn’t live without. I’ve included the items I use most for flavoring my food, as well as providing the needed daily nutrients. It is not meant to be a comprehensive post (and if you know me, you know I love those! For example, check out this great one about meal prep).
This post is the perfect place to get started in stocking up your vegan pantry staples. I will also share where to order these great items online (even if you don’t have access to these locally), and some recipes for each.
Ready to stock up your pantry? Let’s get started.
Vegan Pantry Staples: Starches
In addition to fruits, starches are the foods from which you should be getting most of your calories on a plant based diet. They are full of nutrition and fiber, and low in fat, making them the perfect carbohydrate-rich source of calories for the human body. And before you get scared of eating carbs – know that there are many different types of carbs. And the ones shared below are whole-food carbs that will make you slim down and feel amazing! Here are my favorite starches:
- Legumes /// Chickpeas
- Whole Grains (GF) /// Quinoa
A staple gluten-free grain that I love in my Buddha bowls! And you can even turn it into a pizza crust, like this one.
- Whole Grains (not GF) /// Farro
Ever since discovering it, I’ve been obsessed with farro! It is so hearty and delicious, especially in this salad.
I mean, who could go wrong with a delicious bowl of pasta? I share a delicious one that literally takes minutes to throw together in this mini-course.
If you’re looking for a non-gluten-free version, you’ll definitely love this one. It’s so delicious and healthy too!
- Oats /// Rolled Oats
Rolled oats are perfect for overnight oats dishes, like these.
- Oats /// Steel Cut Oats
An even healthier version of oats are these, as they contain the whole grain, completely unprocessed. If you are allergic to gluten, be sure to get the gluten-free version of oats (oats are inherently gluten free, but they can be contaminated with gluten, so pay attention to that).
Vegan Pantry Staples: Nuts and Seeds
It’s crucial to eat your leafy greens with a source of fat, and what could be more perfect than nuts and seeds? They provide your body with plenty of phytonutrients, as well as omega 3’s ad 6’s that help you absorb the fat-soluble nutrients in your greens. Here are some favorites:
- Nuts and Seeds /// Go Raw Sprouted Seeds
I always soak and even sprout my nuts and seeds, because this increases our ability to absorb nutrients from them. So instead of going through all that trouble, you can grab these super high quality seeds and get all the nutrition you need.
- Nuts and Seeds /// Almond Butter
You can do so many awesome things with almond butter! My favorite is probably this almond butter sauce in these divine wraps. Yum!
- Nuts and Seeds /// Tahini
Tahini will make even the most boring dish come to life. It’s absolutely delicious, especially in this amazing whisked dressing, which you can literally pour on everything, no blender required.
- Nuts and Seeds /// Flax Seeds
Flax seeds contain special nutrients called lignans that are especially cancer protective. Check out these delicious recipes using flax seeds. Make sure to incorporate flax seeds every single day.
Vegan Pantry Staples: Sweetener
This one has a short list, and that’s because most of the sweeteners on the market are actually not that great for you. They are empty calories. Your go to choice should always be dried or fresh fruits (aka, nature’s candy), and this one is the best for desserts and other sweet meals like oatmeal:
- Sweetener /// Medjoul Dates
There is a long list of desserts using dates on the blog, but you all seem to like this one the most!
Vegan Pantry Staples: Spices
Spices are on Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen list for a reason! They are concentrated forms of plants that not only have anti-inflammatory power, but also contain concentrated forms of phytonutrients. Here are some essentials:
Here is a list of my most favorite spices. It’s a long one, and very comprehensive, because spices are definitely the #1 key to making your food taste great without much added salt and artificial flavor sources. I recommend picking a few and giving them a try! Don’t be afraid to experiment with spices. You really can’t go too wrong with them.
- Spices /// Turmeric
Turmeric gets an honorable mention because it’s an extra special anti-inflammatory spice that should definitely be incorporated daily. Give these 3 delicious ways to incorporate turmeric a try.
Vegan Pantry Staples: Seaweeds
Many plant based eaters skip out on their seaweeds, but they are absolutely crucial for getting that all important iodine in our system. We need it for thyroid health, metabolism, and many more. Read more about iodine here, and here are my favorite forms:
I love incorporating wakame and dulse, and find it super easy to do. I love adding wakame to any bowl or salad, such as this Buddha bowl. And dulse is absolutely perfect for this divine Caesar salad – it’s a must try!
Vegan Pantry Staples: Miscellaneous Pantry Items
…and then we need some extra flavor, right? These are delicious additions to most savory meals that give them all that awesome flavor that will help you gobble down pounds of fresh and cooked veggies!
- Vinegar /// Coconut Vinegar
Coconut vinegar is very mild tasting, and adds the perfect amount of sour tang to any meal. Try this delicious raw vegan lasagna with coconut vinegar.
- Salt /// Tamari
Tamari gives a super umami flavor to your dishes – a deep salty tone. It’s a healthier version of soy sauce, but don’t reserve it only for Asian dishes. It’s also perfect in these raw vegan walnut tacos, for example.
No vegan pantry staples list could ever be complete without the honorable mention of nutritional yeast! It gives a cheese-like flavor to food, and is great to add to almost any savory dish, like this vegan mac and cheese recipe. Be careful of nutritional yeast that contains synthetic supplements.