15 Vegan Pantry Staples You Need In Your Kitchen

Discover the magic of a well-stocked vegan pantry with our guide to essential staples! From nutritious grains to flavorful seasonings and even vegan sprinkles, unlock the key ingredients for delicious, cruelty-free meals.
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wide mouth mason jars filled with pantry staples
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A well-stocked pantry isn’t just helpful—it’s an absolute game-changer! Picture this: a sanctuary brimming with vibrant ingredients, ready to transform into wholesome, mouthwatering meals at a moment’s notice. For me, it’s not just a pantry; it’s my culinary command center, organized to streamline meal prep and unleash my creativity.

From whole grain flours and hearty grains to an array of canned and dry legumes, baking essentials, seasonings, pasta, nuts, and dried fruit that add layers of flavor and texture to dishes. As a devoted vegan food enthusiast, my pantry tends to be a bit fuller than most. But hey, that’s all part of the fun! Because when it comes to sharing delicious meals with loved ones, I firmly believe that abundance is the key.

So, with my trusty pantry checklist in hand, I make sure to keep all my essentials well-stocked and ready for action. After all, with vegan breakfast recipes that come together in a breezy 15 minutes and plant-based dinners that dazzle in just 30 minutes to an hour, there’s no limit to the culinary magic that can unfold. So, let’s dive into the heart of my pantry and uncover the essential staples that can fuel your passion for cooking week after week!

Nutritional Yeast

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!

Nutritional yeast in a jar.

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.

Better Than Bouillon's Vegan No Chicken Base
Better Than Bouillon’s Vegan No Chicken Base

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!

A wooden tablespoon with ground flaxseed meal spilling out on a table.

Canned Chickpeas

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 chickpea liquid brine called aquafaba that is versatile in so many vegan recipes.

A bowl of chickpeas surrounded by bowls of various vegetables like red onion, cauliflower, and cucumber.

Cashews

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.

Raw cashews in the palm of a hand.

Nori

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.

Nori sheet on a cutting board next to chopped veggies for making temaki sushi.

Quinoa

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!

Cooked quinoa in a bowl.

Rolled Oats

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!

Rolled oats spilling out of a tipped over glass jar.

Coconut Milk

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.

A top-down shot of canned coconut milk.

Soy Sauce (or Tamari, Shoyu or Braggs Liquid Aminos)

These liquid seasonings add a salty flavor to your marinades, sauces, and dressings. If you’re looking to a healthier alternative to soy sauce, there are many choices for a sodium alternative.

Key ingredients for Eggplant tofu, with labels.

Tomato Sauce

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. But if you have extra time, homemade pasta sauce and this spicy Arrabiata sauce recipe are worth the effort.

A jar of homemade tomato marinara sauce.

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.

Vegan Greek Salad with Mediterranean Tofu | World of Vegan | #greek #salad #feta #tofu #marinated #mediterranean #worldofvegan

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Everyone has their favorite oil and this is mine. A high-quality olive oil is essential for sautéing, roasting, and drizzling over salads. Look for cold-pressed varieties for maximum flavor and nutritional benefits.

Bottle of extra virgin olive oil used to make this arrabbiata sauce

Maple Syrup

Nature’s sweet nectar, maple syrup is the perfect natural sweetener for everything from vegan pancakes and Belgian waffles to glazes and marinades. It’s even delicious in coffee, baked goods, and licked straight off a spoon.

Overhead view of a stack of blueberry vegan pancakes, topped with more blueberries and maple syrup.

Vegan Chocolate Chips

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.

Peanut butter cookie dough in a glass bowl with chocolate chips added in.

Vegan Sprinkles

What’s life without a rainbow of color sprinkled across your baked goods? Whether I’m whipping up cupcakes for a birthday bash or adding a playful touch to my morning overnight oats and smoothie bowls, a collection of colorful sprinkles is an essential. Many mainstream sprinkles aren’t vegan, so it’s helpful to have these already stocked in your pantry so you don’t have to go searching for them last-minute!

vegan rainbow sprinkles on a small dish

Feeling inspired to elevate your culinary creations and embark on new flavor-packed adventures in the kitchen? With these must-have ingredients at your fingertips, you’ll not only streamline meal prep but also unleash your creativity to craft delicious, wholesome dishes that nourish both body and soul.

So, stock up your pantry, don your apron, and let the magic unfold as you whip up delectable vegan delights that will dazzle your taste buds and leave you coming back for more. Happy cooking!

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