Essential vegan pantry staples 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 flavorful diet , you need a well-stocked vegan pantry with these vital 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 for a well stocked vegan pantry.
Table of Contents
What Is A Vegan Kitchen?
It is crucial to address the difference between a vegan and a plant-based person. This will help 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.
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.
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 Foods 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. Legumes also contain lots of fiber, healthy fats, folate, potassium, magnesium, and iron.
They contain 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 came in variety of textures and flavors which helps to make them more palatable and healthy.
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.
These include Hemp, chia, poppy, flax, sunflower, pumpkin, quinoa, sesame, alfalfa.
They are an essential part of a vegan pantry because they hold so much fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Soak them to release their nutrients and eat them as pudding. For instance chia seeds. You can also sprout them for delicious micro-salads, as with alfalfa seeds. Mix Ground flax (linseed) with water to make something 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 great 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 .They also 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 they can be part of your pantry essentials .
Vegan dishes genuinely taste and look colorful with the help of herbs and spices. Use the spices in making 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. Picked veggies can boost the growth of good bacteria in your gut for better digestion and overall health.
Tempeh, for example, can help 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.
Healthy Oils for vegan pantry staples
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 activate the release of nutrients in other wholesome foods. For instance, coconut oil enhances maximum absorption of nutrients when paired with turmeric.
We use oil in a variety of ways. Use them in making tasty salad dressings, delicious baked pastries ,crisp-up roasted veggies, and a healthy stir fries.
How to Shop Vegan pantry staples for Cheap?
Most Vegan processed foods are expensive, though they can be
handy for convenient meals from time to time.
Organic ,or locally produced kimchi, raw honey, organic three-ingredient tomato ketchup – can be healthier option , but are often very pricey.
You can still buy whole organic produce by buying the items in bulk and in season. Purchase food items from local good-value zero-waste shops or from local community setups in your area.
Lastly, learn to cook simple meals from scratch. Making your meals is healthy and can save you a lot of money .
Find some great vegan cookbooks online ,simple recipes from blog sites or YouTube and try them.
“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 can 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.