A well-stocked vegan pantry is critical for healthy (and delicious!) vegan cooking. Meal planning and prep is much easier when you have the basic staples on hand. I keep a pantry checklist handy and mark off whenever anything is running low so I am sure to never run out!
My vegan pantry is like my second office with all the cooking I do. I keep it organized for efficient meal prep so that breakfast and lunch take me about 15 minutes to prepare, and dinners about 30 minutes to an hour. It includes whole grain flours and grains, as well as canned and dry legumes. All of my baking items and sweeteners have a place in my pantry, as well as liquid seasonings. You can always find pasta and nuts in my pantry too, along with dried fruit.
As a vegan who loves to cook (and eat!), my pantry is probably fuller than most. The more robust the better, in my opinion, as there are always people to feed! Of course, I have my favorites, and the list below includes the essential staples that I couldn’t live without in my weekly cooking.
It’s an emergency in my house if we run out of nutritional yeast (aka “nooch”). This flaky deactivated yeast is a natural seasoning that adds a cheesy flavor to sauces and dishes but is also easily devoured sprinkled over a batch of freshly popped popcorn. You can find my recipe for that here!
Vegan Broth (or Bouillon)
Vegetable broth is an essential item for any vegan pantry. It’s a great stand-in for sautéing vegetables, and it is a necessary ingredient in soups, stews, and sauces. Imagine’s No Chicken variety is a great option because it tastes like chicken without the chicken! Better Than Bouillon also has a vegan chicken stock, as well as several vegetable bouillon varieties. Broth and bouillon adds savory flavor to anything you mix it in.
Ground Flaxseed Meal
Not only are flaxseeds packed with omega-3s and a healthy addition to any diet (Dr. Greger recommends a tablespoon a day!) but they’re a must-have for vegan baking. Any baking recipes that call for eggs can be made with a mixture of ground flaxseed meal and water instead. Flaxseed egg replacer to the rescue!
- Flax Egg Ratio: 1 tbsp of ground flaxseeds + 2.5 tbsp of water = 1 Egg
With a can of chickpeas, quick and easy protein is just a can opener away. Sprinkle these gems on salads, roast them in the oven for a savory snack, blend them with tahini for a homemade hummus, or smash them into chickpea ‘tuna’ salad. In addition to the chickpeas themselves, a can is handy for the liquid brine called aquafaba that is versatile in so many vegan recipes.
What would vegans do without cashews? They are my go-to nut for creamy pasta sauces and flavorful dips, and they’re also great in smoothies! I always have a bag to spare in my pantry.
Seaweed sheets are for more than sushi, although I use them often for making vegetable and avocado rolls. Nori also makes a fantastic wrap around vegetables and hummus. Equally, it adds flavor to rice bowls and soups when cut up and sprinkled on top.
Garbanzo Bean Flour
This flour is the star ingredient in my favorite breakfast crepes, scrambles, and omelets. It has more protein than most flours so it works great in savory recipes.
This superfood grain is a vegan’s best friend. Packed with protein, quinoa makes a great fritter, as well as a base in a vegan bowl. It can be used anywhere you would traditionally use rice—burritos, tacos, served with stir-fried veggies, and beyond!
There are so many ways to use this must-stock ingredient. Make overnight oats in mason jars, blend into smoothies, or bake into snacks and treats for the whole family. These no-bake cookies are winners!
Canned coconut milk is a necessity for a quick vegan curry, and also adds creaminess to sauces. Refrigerate and scoop out the top cream for desserts too.
Tamari, Shoyu and Braggs Liquid Aminos
These liquid seasonings add a salty flavor to your marinades, sauces, and dressings. They are my choice for a healthy sodium alternative.
Dinner is only 10 minutes away when you have a high-quality marinara and pasta tucked in the pantry. I always keep a few cans of my favorite on hand. If you shop at Trader Joe’s, their Arrabbiata sauce is amazing.
Olives and Capers
Tossed in salads, bowls, sauces, and pasta, these condiments add delicious briny taste to any dish, plus they are delicious offerings on an antipasto or snack platter.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Everyone has their favorite oil and this is mine. I use it for almost all of my cooking.
Although I keep this in the fridge after opening, it starts out in my vegan pantry! I use this in place of sugar whenever I need to sweeten up a dressing or smoothie. I also use it in tons of my baking recipes.
We love to bake in my house so these go quick. I love the mini dairy-free chips from Enjoy Life Foods. They are great for stirring into energy balls and topping dairy-free ice cream sundaes. They also sprinkle nicely on top of banana soft serve and add a sweet treat to homemade snack mixes.