The essentials to stock even if you are not vegan / plant-based.
Are you looking to embrace the vegan trend? Find out the perfect ingredients you need to cook up plant-based meals for your family every day.
Did you know there are currently over 79 million vegans in the world at the moment? Are you about to join them? That’s exciting! Being plant-based is excellent for your health, the animals, and the environment.
To have a nutritionally balanced and flavourful diet as a vegan, though, you will need a well-stocked vegan kitchen with these vital vegan pantry staples. Eating vegan can be bland if you don’t know how to give those plants some pizazz and yum.
To help you below is everything you need to know to get at least 10 pantry staples for a vibrant vegan kitchen:
Table of Contents
What Is A Vegan Kitchen?
It is crucial to address the difference between a vegan and a plant-based person so that you understand the key differences and how they might affect what you have in your kitchen:
Vegan – A vegan is a person whose entire lifestyle is dedicated to veganism. The belief is that animals are not ours to eat, abuse, or otherwise use for our gain. The vegan society defines veganism with the following wording:
“Veganism is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment. In dietary terms, it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.” – The Vegan Society.
So, the pantry staples for a vegan kitchen mean using no animal products at all. This, of course, is an end goal many people work towards achieving.
Despite the stringent meanings associated with the label ‘vegan,’ don’t forget that the philosophy does include ‘as far as is possible and practicable, so you do what you feel you can and don’t allow anyone to judge you for doing otherwise. This is your path and yours alone.
Plant-Based – Sometimes, the terms vegan and plant-based are used interchangeably. When you look a little deeper, though, the two are pretty different.
One may believe plant-based is essentially only referring to the diet aspect of a vegan lifestyle. However, the generally accepted meaning for many is that plant-based means that plants make up most of your diet. So you can still eat a bit of meat, a bit of dairy, a bit of fish, but your diet is predominantly made up of plant-based matter.
Here is a convenient Harvard paper about it that you might find interesting for further reading.
So, when stocking your pantry, buy food items that will contribute positively to your vegan or plant-based diet goals.
In this post, I will be using the terms vegan and plant-based interchangeably for simplicity.
Why have Vegan pantry staples?
At the individual level, there is plenty of evidence that tells us being plant-based is pretty great for your health, even if you’re not entirely vegan. This article is a little more balanced and contains some handy scientific references.
To summarise the health benefits, they include (but are not limited to):
- Weight loss
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduced heart disease risk
- Reduced diabetes risk
- A boost in energy
- Reduced cancer risk
- The potential to live a longer life
Of course, these benefits are generally related to a whole food plant-based diet that doesn’t include lots of unhealthy processed vegan food, of which there is plenty available.
It is important to remember that a vegan diet is better for the animals involved in the food industry. Some people feel that animals do not deserve to die for us to eat.
Some people also want to step away from intensive agriculture and factory farming by going plant-based. So even if you agree with humane animal slaughter, you may go plant-based to avoid the intense cruelty associated with modern factory farming.
Lastly, some people may want to stack these pantry staples for a plant-based kitchen to help the environment. If you have seen Cowspiracy and Seaspiracy, you will know there are issues with animal raising and harvesting.
Again, those documentaries are sensationalist but, there are some fundamental scientific truths behind them, and you can find more about that here.
What Food Items Should you stock for your Vegan pantry staples.
When you’re striving to become plant-based or vegan, it is essential to set yourself up for success. Part of that has to do with stocking your kitchen with these ten pantry staples for a vegan kitchen.
These include Chickpeas, butter beans, lentils, snow peas, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, lima beans.
Legumes like chickpeas, beans, and lentils are low in fat but high in protein, something you may lack on a vegan diet. Legumes also contain lots of fiber, healthy fats, folate, potassium, magnesium, and iron.
They give you lots of energy essential for a high-functioning body, ensuring you thrive on a vegan diet with filling, satisfying meals.
We love this delicious black bean chili recipe packed full of proteins.
Vegetables include Fresh veggies, dried peppers, dried carrots, dried wild mushrooms, dehydrated potatoes, dried beans, dried corn, dried onion.
Ideally, it would be best to pack your freezer and fridge full of all different colored vegetables. They contain high contents of vitamins and minerals, fiber and nutrients that help you thrive on your vegan diet.
They also provide plenty of texture and flavor for your meals, adding vibrancy to your diet that helps keep boredom at bay.
In your pantry, you should stock dried wild mushrooms and similarly long-lasting plant-based dried vegetables that help form a delicious base for soups, stews, and stocks. You might even want to try dehydrating some veggies yourself.
These are buckwheat, brown rice, vital wheat gluten, buckwheat flour, whole wheat flour, oatmeal, millet, barley, brown rice, bulgur wheat.
Wholegrains like wholewheat pasta, buckwheat, brown rice, and oatmeal are full of healthy nutrients. Protein, fiber, minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins are all within these healthy and satisfying carbs.
Scientific studies show that a diet full of whole grains can help reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity, some cancers, and heart disease.
You should include flours as part of this group to help you create lots of delicious dishes. Buckwheat flour makes a gorgeous nutty pancake, and vital wheat gluten is essential for meaty seitan.
In this list, we have Fresh fruits, dried figs, dates, raisins, sultanas, dried banana, dried mango.
Hopefully, your freezer and fridge will be packed full of all different kinds of fruit containing many vitamins and minerals.
Dried fruit can be just as wholesome and works well as one of the pantry staples for a vegan kitchen because of the versatility of fruit. Dried fruit can be snacked on, used in both savory and sweet dishes, and even forms a great smoothie or raw bar base.
Seeds include Hemp, chia, poppy, flax, sunflower, pumpkin, quinoa, sesame, alfalfa.
Seeds are an essential part of a vegan pantry because they hold so much fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
They can be soaked to release their nutrients and eaten as a pudding, as with chia seeds, or they can be sprouted for delicious micro-salads, as with alfalfa seeds. Ground flax (linseed) can even be mixed with water to make something called a flax egg.
As if that wasn’t enough, you can also sprinkle them on cereal, toast them and have them on salads and soup for a tasty nutritional boost.
Nuts & Spreads
Examples include peanuts, peanut butter, cashews, cashew nut butter, pistachios, Brazil nuts, walnuts, pecans.
Nuts are very much like seeds in their contribution to your plant-based pantry. They provide a healthy source of protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. You can snack on them, toast them, add them to salads, and even make your nut butter.
Having some ready-made spreads and nut butter is also an excellent idea for when you don’t have time to make your own. If you’re feeling particularly creative, you might even want to try making your dairy-free cheese from soaked cashews.
These include Raw honey*, molasses, coconut sugar, date sugar, agave, maple syrup.
Natural sweeteners are essential to have in the pantry. Some contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and tend to be better than processed sugars, which can sometimes be made using bone char.
They are great to drizzle on vegan snacks like peanut butter on toast or healthy breakfast like chia pudding. You can also use them in baking instead of processed sugars.
Raw honey* is something you may choose to use as a natural sweetener if you are plant-based. However, honey doesn’t usually feature as part of a vegan pantry.
Spices, Condiments & Seasonings
Basil, oregano, paprika, dried chili flakes, turmeric, nutritional yeast, Himalayan pink salt, black pepper, ketchup, mustard, vegan mayonnaise.
These are the superstars of a vegan pantry and have to be part of your pantry essentials for a vegan kitchen. Vegan dishes genuinely shine with the help of herbs and spices, making lively curries, rich stews, tangy salads, and great grilled and baked vegetables that genuinely stand out.
Nutritional yeast, otherwise known as nooch, is particularly special. It has a cheesy flavor that is perfect for homemade cheesy sauces, popcorn, homemade kale chips, and homemade vegan cheese.
Canned, Pickled, and Fermented Foods
You will need kimchi, pickled veggies, chopped tomatoes, sauerkraut, jams, chutneys, tempeh, natto, kombucha, miso.
Canned, pickled, and fermented foods have recently seen a massive surge in popularity in having a healthy diet. Many are said to boost the good bacteria in your gut for better digestion and overall health.
Tempeh, for example, is said to have the ability to reduce cholesterol and reduce the build-up of free radicals in your body.
You can buy lots of high-quality canned, pickled and fermented foods or experiment with making some of your own.
You may need Olive oil, coconut oil, flaxseed oil, avocado oil, peanut oil, sesame oil, grape seed oil, walnut oil.
Healthy oils are a vital part of any diet because they provide a healthy source of fat. They can also help release nutrients in other wholesome foods, like coconut oil which, when paired with turmeric, activates the spice for maximum absorption. Coconut oil can also be a great beauty essential.
A heart-healthy oil can also make a tasty salad dressing, crisp-up roasted veggies, and a healthy stir fry starter. Some vegan baking is also reliant on oil in the recipe, so it is great to have a healthy option instead of more processed, like vegetable oil.
How to Shop Vegan pantry staples for Cheap?
The easiest way to eat a vegan diet for less is to skip processed vegan food and high-end healthy vegan food. Processed vegan food can be pricey and harmful for you, so it is best avoided altogether if you can, although it can be handy for convenient meals from time to time.
With high-end vegan health foods, if you can afford them, they are fun but costly. Organic, locally produced kimchi, raw honey, organic three-ingredient tomato ketchup – all delicious, healthy, and often very pricey, unfortunately.
Instead, buying the best wholefoods you can afford will serve you well. They don’t have to be organic, and you can get some great deals buying from produce markets in bulk.
You may also look into local good-value zero-waste shops, bulk-buy community setups in your area, and online bulk buy whole food sellers.
Lastly, the more you can learn to cook yourself, the better. Making Convenience foods can be very cheap, but cooking plain rice, bean, and sauce dishes is so much healthier and more affordable if you have the time.
Once you have these pantry staples for a vegan kitchen, you’re pretty much all set to make some incredible culinary creations. You can find some great vegan cookbooks online or a considerable amount of vegan recipes blog sites. Youtube is also jam-packed full of healthy vegan recipes to try out.
“Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” – Albert Einstein.
Having these ten pantry staples for a plant-based kitchen is a great way to boost your health and live a more ethical and environmentally friendly life.
Soon enough, you’ll be thriving on delicious, exciting plant-based meals for yourself and your family, using healthy ingredients with high nutritional value and packing plenty of flavors to boot.