Pantry staples for the vegan kitchen

If you’re switching to a plant-based diet, having a well-stocked pantry will make cooking so much easier! Here’s a list of our favorite vegan pantry staples!

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If you’re joining us for Plant-Based January, I thought this might be a helpful post! Many of you are cleaning out and organizing your closet right now as I write! Here’s a list of vegan pantry essentials to have on hand that will make cooking plant-based meals from scratch a little easier.

Although I’ve listed quite a few, feel free to pair them down to a few items in each category. Also, scroll to the bottom where I share tips for stocking and organizing your kitchen effectively if you lack space. Please leave comments below – especially if I’ve forgotten something!

We LOVE Keeler Brackets

variety of whole grains on blue surface

Whole grains

Keeping a selection of whole grains on hand means you always have options for soups, salads and Buddha Bowls. Batch cook one whole grain cereal to use for the entire week! Then choose another next week. Stir it up.

  • Oats – Organic Rolled Oats and Steel Cut Oats – for use in our Overnight Oats, Baked Oats, Steel Cut Pumpkin & Walnut Oats and Vegan Breakfast Biscuits.
  • Organic rice – Choose a few varieties… Wild rice, jasmine rice and basmati rice, short grain brown rice and white rice for sushi.
  • Quinoa – Delicious in this Southwestern Black Bean Quinoa Salad!
  • Cornmeal/Polenta – Try it in our Polenta Fries!
  • Barley – This Roasted Barley and Barley Bowl with Zaatar Tahini Sauce is delicious
  • Millet – A must for this Berbere Spiced Coconut Millet and Pumpkin Bowl
  • Teff – High in protein little guys – we use teff in porridge Teff with figs and walnuts and savory pastries Teff with wilted chard and fresh tomato flavor
  • Wheat berries – chewy and delicious, great for salads and soups!
  • Wheat bulgur – a must when preparing Tabbouleh salad
  • Farro – This ancient grain is one of our favorites – use it in our Farro Salad, this Farro Bowl and our Farro Risotto.
  • Amaranth – small but mighty – try these amaranth cakes with lentils, kale and chipotle aioli
variety of beans and legumes on blue background.

Dry beans and pulses

Full of protein and fiber, a good selection of beans will ensure you’re never hungry! One of the most important ingredients in the Mediterranean diet and heavily consumed in the “blue zones” (the places where people live the longest), we LOVE beans because they’re filling. Cook beans for a week and use them in soups, salads and Buddha bowls.

olive oil is a must for the vegan pantry.

Oil and vinegar

  • Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil No kitchen should be without extra virgin olive oil: it is a staple in a plant-based diet for cooking, baking, drizzling and dressings. Olive oil contains many antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Its maintenance in olive oil dispenser makes pouring and measuring easier. It’s also handy in a spray oil bottle!
  • Unrefined organic coconut oil Use it in stir-fries, pastries, cookies, Thai soups, and more. Plus, it does wonders for gums and teeth (oil pulling) and relieves dry skin.
  • Avocado Oil – great for high heat cooking, a neutral oil that doesn’t cause inflammation!
  • Unrefined toasted sesame oil – a staple in Asian cuisine.
  • Truffle oil – sumptuous but delicious!
  • Balsamic vinegar It’s amazing how a drizzle of balsamic vinegar can add a burst of flavor to a dish to dress it up, but it’s also great as a salad dressing; try this Vanilla Fig Balsamic Dressing!
  • Apple cider vinegar – which makes a great vinaigrette.
  • Rice wine vinegar is a pantry staple and a must in Asian cooking – we love it in our Asian Cucumber Salad!
  • Red Wine Vinegar – Fruity and light, it’s delicious in dressings!
preserves for the vegan pantry

Canned goods

  • Tomato sauce, canned tomatoes and tomato puree. I also always keep my pantry stocked with several types of canned tomatoes – whole peeled and diced. Tomato paste adds depth and richness to dishes like our Lentil Bolognese.
  • Coconut milk is the perfect replacement for heavy cream to make a recipe vegan, and is an important ingredient in many curries and soups. You can also use it to make vegan ice cream or vegan whipped cream using a whipped cream dispenser.
  • Organic applesauce If you’re planning a vegan bake, a jar of applesauce stashed away in the pantry will be invaluable. Often used as an egg substitute, applesauce also makes vegan baked goods moister.
  • Canned Beans – In addition to dry beans, I always have several varieties of organic canned beans on hand for quick and easy meals: refried beans, black beans, cannellini beans, and chickpeas! The Eden brand is my favorite!
  • Artichoke Hearts in Water – to make this creamy vegan artichoke mushroom pasta
  • Jackfruit – to make jackfruit tacos (vegan!)
  • Hearts of Palm – Delicious in our Hearts of Palm Ceviche
  • Roasted peppers – for soups, salads and dips!
  • Capers for salads, pasta and side dishes.
walnuts pouring from a jar.

Nuts, seeds and butter

A great source of healthy fats and protein, nuts and seeds are a staple in a whole plant-based diet!

a bowl of chia seeds.

Superfoods

We really love this brand Navitas Organics… here are some of our favorites! We use a lot of them in our granola, muesli or to sprinkle on salads, Buddha bowls and soups!

Spices & sauces

a drawer full of spices

Salt and spices

Spices lose their potency over time, so I buy them in bulk in smaller quantities and store them in labeled jars in a drawer just below my food prep area. I keep the ones I use closest to me in the kitchen, and for the more obscure spices I use less often, I move them to my pantry.

baking staples for the vegan pantry.

Baking clamps

  • Sweeteners – Having a good selection of natural, organic sweeteners on hand is a must: maple syrup, coconut sugar, molasses, organic cane sugar, powdered sugar, and brown sugar are handy. Or try monk fruit or stevia.
  • Organic flour– All purpose flour, whole wheat flour, rye flour, organic “00” pizza flour, rice flour and bread flour (when I want to make a sourdough starter) and, if I’m making gluten-free recipes, use almond flour or a measure-for-measure mix of gluten-free flours.
  • Chocolate bits
  • Shredded coconut and coconut chips
  • Raisins, currants, dried apricots or blackcurrants
  • Baking soda and Baking powder
  • Vanilla and Almond extract
  • cornstarch
  • Organic soluble yeast
If you're transitioning to a more plant-based diet, having a well-stocked pantry makes cooking so much easier!  Stocking your pantry ensures you'll have everything you need to whip up an amazing meal without any hassle.

Other must-haves!

  • pasta– Pasta is the perfect ingredient to have on hand for quick weeknight dinners and is also a good budget pantry item. Keep a variety of pasta, high-protein chickpea pasta, rice noodles, or gluten-free pasta on hand so you can whip up a vegan Alfredo in no time!
  • Nutritional yeast Often used as a vegan substitute for Parmesan cheese, nutritional yeast is one of the best vegan ingredients because it’s high in protein and vitamin B12 and is naturally sugar-free, gluten-free, and sodium-free. We use it in our vegan cheese sprinkles, but you can also use it plain on popcorn or on salads or pasta.
  • Organic Panko – Use to coat tofu or vegetables for a delicious texture and crunch.
  • Silken tofu – is an incredibly versatile ingredient and a great source of protein. Use it to make creamy vegan sauces and desserts, and make sure you always have a jar or two in the pantry so you can whip up a quick vegan meal anytime. Always choose organic, non-GMO.
  • Organic Plant Milk: Almond milk, soy milk or Oat milk -even if you usually buy chilled non-dairy milk, keeping a box of the stable version in your pantry can be surprisingly convenient if you run out. Be sure to check the ingredients to make sure they are non-GMO, organic and unsweetened with no added seed oils.

Keller Storage Tips and ideas

I’ll be honest with you when it comes to organization in general, I’m not the best at it. But I learned how to create a kitchen that is efficient for cooking quicklywhich means keeping things as simple as possible to make quick meals.

Here are some tips:

  1. Put what you use the most within range in easily accessible containers. If you have a small kitchen, this means moving things you don’t use on a daily basis to another area – ie. closet, basement, etc. For example, I have million spices. I only use about 20 on a regular basis so I keep them nearby and store the rest in my pantry. The same goes for kitchen gadgets and utensils.
  2. Use glass jars; they are eco-friendly, plus you can easily see what and how much is inside.
  3. Freeze nuts and seeds so they don’t go rancid. Flour too if you have room.
  4. Use, don’t hoard! Choose items from your pantry to use each week and set them aside. I’m making a plan. Try not to let things be older than a year.
  5. Go organic. As you use and replace pantries, upgrade (if you’re not already using) to organic to reduce the amount of glyphosate in your food, which can damage the microbiome and cause leaky gut and inflammation.
  6. Organizing is relaxing. When I feel stressed, I start organizing my spices. My good friend Jill the vacuum cleaner – we all have something. 🙂 Somehow organizing my spices and pantry relaxes me, giving me the feeling of being in control of something physical. It feels therapeutic!

Glass storage containers – I prefer to use clear glass storage jars so I can easily see what and how much is inside.

Glass storage containers
Credit: Amazon

Traditional mason jars or these Weck Tulip Jars also work well. Having multiple jars of different sizes is really helpful.

wake jars

Spice rack-If all your spices start piling up, a spice rack is an easy way to display them, saving time without having to rummage through cupboards and sort them. It also makes a great gift for budding cooks! Spice racks come in many different styles, including vertical slide-out organizers, rotating countertop displays, and even magnetic spice racks that can attach to your refrigerator!

Spice rack
Credit: Amazon

Spice Jars and Labels – If you prefer to buy spices in bulk and refill them, here are some cute spice jars and labels.

spice jars.

Pantry Organizer To create more storage space in your kitchen or pantry, something like this over the door pantry organizer can be really useful for dry goods and spices.

closet organizer

I hope this is helpful! Please leave feedback or suggestions below – in case I forgot something!

Happy 2024!

Sylvia

Join us for January’s Plant-Based Reset – a month of whole foods, plant-based recipes to boost energy, support the liver and microbiome, and minimize appetite.

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