Vegan Pantry Staples

Take a peek into my pantry! If you’re newly vegan, it’s helpful to know what shelf stable items to keep in stock. My family is not vegan, so it’s often something I throw together from the pantry that becomes my dinner in a pinch. So what do I keep there?

  • Grains.
    • Oats (quick cooking, usually)
    • White rice. Basmati and Jasmine are my favorites! Trader Joe’s is a great source for rice. My next favorites are the Lundberg brand or Rice Selects.
    • Brown rice (whole grain and extra fiber)
    • Farro (love this nutty, high protein grain) I buy farro at Trader Joe’s, Kroger, or Wegmans, all the store brands.
    • Quinoa (another high protein grain)
    • Pasta (regular semolina pasta varieties as well as chickpea flour pastas for more protein like Banza). My favorite pasta is the Trader Joe’s organic spaghetti.  
  • Canned beans. All varieties, really. Black, pinto, white cannolini, red kidney, great northern, lentils, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, refried beans are all in my pantry at any given time. My favorite place to buy these is at Kroger, since they are often on sale and sold in 4-packs. I usually buy their Simple Truth organic brand.  My favorite refried beans are either variety sold at Trader Joe’s.
  • Dried beans. Of course you keep dried beans at hand! Navy beans, black beans, and red lentils are favorites, as are the 15 bean soup bags. All but the red lentils need to be soaked overnight before cooking. Beans are definitely better this way, but take a lot more time and effort! But so cheap!
  • Sweeteners.
    • Organic sugar. The only way you can be sure your sugar is vegan is if it’s organic; most sugar is processed with bone char, and organic is not. I buy mine from Costco in the giant bag for around $8. It’s a bargain, for sure!
    • Real maple syrup. The best deal is at Costco for their Kirkland brand. It’s around $16 for a jug. A little goes a long way! Besides the usual use as a delicious topping for waffles and pancakes, it’s a key ingredient in many vegan recipes for sweet treats, including the energy balls my family loves.
    • Chocolate chips. My favorites are from Enjoy Life. Available at most big chain grocery stores. I use these as a topping for my chocolate cake, as a key ingredient in the previously mentioned energy balls, and to melt and use to make homemade peanut butter cups.
    • Jams and jellies. These are great for peanut butter and jelly, obviously, but also to sweeten overnight oats or even hot, quick oats.
  • Flour. King Arthur is my favorite brand. I always have all-purpose on hand for basic recipes, but often keep whole wheat on hand to add extra fiber and nutrition to quick breads. For most recipes, you can easily sub for up to half of the AP flour without much change in rise or texture.
  • Yeast. I actually keep this in my freezer. Right now I have active rise yeast that has to be activated in warm water, a lucky find at Costco at the beginning of the pandemic. I typically keep rapid rise yeast packets on hand, which is slowly making its way back into the stores. Yeast is a key ingredient in the Dutch oven bread I make and pizza dough!
  • Broths.
    • Vegetable broth is a must. I usually buy whatever organic store brand is available wherever I ‘m shopping. I’m not picky. (Here’s a tip, though. Save all of those veggie scraps in a Ziploc bag in the freezer, and once it’s full, boil the scraps with 8 cups of water for about an hour, strain, and you have delicious homemade broth. You can freeze the broth to use later, too).
    • Vegan Protein Broth from Walmart sold under their Sam’s Choice organic brand. It makes a great substitute when veganizing creamy soup recipes like my mom’s famous potato soup.
    • Canned coconut milk. It’s essential for vegetable curries!
  • Spices.
    • I’m a big fan of Trader Joe’s spice blends like their onion salt, everything but the bagel seasoning, and chili spice blend. Their smoked paprika is also excellent.
    • Lifehouse freeze dried spices. Dill, parsley, and oregano are favorites.
    • Himalayan pink salt. Costco has the best deal on this. I just refill a smaller salt shaker!
  • Fats. I keep olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil on hand. Vegan mayo moves to the fridge once opened, but I always have a backup in the pantry!
  • Canned vegetables.
    • Tomatoes and tomato based pasta sauce and salsas. This includes diced, tomato sauce, crushed, and tomato paste. I’ll include dried tomatoes here as well. I’m not picky. If I can get Kirkland’s organic brand from Costco, that’s ideal for the quality and price, but most organic store brands are great. I’ve tried them all. I keep jarred salsas on hand for making vegan chili.
    • Green beans. Any organic brand is fine. I love to combine these with sautéed onions, diced tomatoes, and oregano for a yummy, Greek inspired veggie side dish.
    • Corn. It’s easy to rinse a can and add to homemade cowboy caviar, a favorite at my house!
    • Olives and pickles. I love briny things! My favorites are from Trader Joe’s. Pitted Kalamata to add to salads, all canned olives, and dill pickles.
  • Tea and coffee. I keep at least black tea bags on hand right now for brewing kombucha! And I can’t survive without my morning cup of joe!
One of my earlier batches of home brewed Kombucha!
  • Nut butters. I always have peanut butter on hand! We love Jif Natural creamy here. For almond butter, my favorite is the creamy, salted variety from Trader Joe’s. But if you go to Costco, their Kirkland brands are pretty good, too!
  • Nuts. I especially love salted almonds and cashews. For nuts I use less frequently, including pine nuts and walnuts, I will keep these in the freezer. Trader Joe’s and Aldi are my go-to places to buy these.
  • Root vegetables. I usually have one variety of potatoes, a bag of sweet onions, and a bag of red onions on hand.
  • Dried fruit. I especially love raisins for adding to oatmeal and apricots for snacking.
  • Snacks. I love a good, salty potato chip. The Kettle brand is my favorite, and you can buy big bags at Costco, but these are readily available at most grocery stores. I also love tortilla chips; Garden of Eatin’ brand is my family’s favorite.

Some ideas for pantry meals:

  • Throw together a vegan Bolognese using jarred pasta sauce, sautéed onions, and canned lentils (drained and rinsed). Serve over your favorite pasta!
  • Roast potatoes in multiples, even if you won’t eat them all in one meal. Serve them the first night topped with veggies and your favorite dressing (homemade vegan ranch is my favorite!), and use the leftovers to make potato salad or hash browns.
  • Make a delicious sweet breakfast with quick oats! Check out my previous post on 5 Minute Breakfast.
Quick oats with raisins, brown sugar, maple syrup, and fresh strawberries.
  • Pasta salad. Cook whatever pasta you have on hand, rinse in cold water, and toss with your favorite canned beans (drained and rinsed), olives, spices, and olive oil. If you have sundried tomatoes, add these to the cooking pasta in the last few minutes to rehydrate them. Add whatever fresh veggies you may have in the fridge. Don’t want pasta? Sub farro or quinoa instead!
Farro salad. This one has a mix of pantry and fresh ingredients.
Buffalo Chickpea Salad
Vegan Chili
  • Vegetable soup. I love to use the 15 bean dried mix for this, soaking overnight, then cooking over 1-2 hours with vegetable broth, spices, and throwing in whatever veggies I have. I might use a couple of potatoes peeled and diced, a diced onion, a can of diced tomatoes, and a bag of frozen mixed veggies.
  • Vegan potato soup. The only thing in this soup that you can’t find in your pantry is the vegan butter!
Vegan potato soup

Not all vegan meals have to be complicated or based on fresh ingredients. So shop those inner aisles at the grocery store for great, shelf stable ingredients to have on hand! I hope you’ve found some inspiration for your next meal!

What meals have you thrown together with ingredients from your pantry? I’d love to hear about it! As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.

Published by annecreates

I am a physical therapist, wife, mom, runner, artist, and vegan. I'm passionate about helping others find wellness!

8 thoughts on “Vegan Pantry Staples

  1. Dried beans ftw! I feel like they’re so underrated all because people don’t know how to cook them. You can even throw them in the instapot without soaking and they’re done in like 10 minutes! Definitely threw together a chickpea salad spread today for lunch since I forgot to grocery shop. Literally just mashed chickpeas and spices. Easy peasy! That vegan potato soup looks like a comfort dream. Adding it to the list!

    Liked by 2 people

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