I’ve spent many years helping people make changes in their diets, choices that are healthier, kinder and simpler than they ever thought possible. With a few tweaks and adjustments you’ll build a vegan pantry that gives you an infinite number of effortless and economical meal options. My pantry items are all easy to find, supermarket ingredients that I regularly keep in stock. If some of these ingredients are new to you I hope you’ll be inspired to try them and start building your own VegEZ pantry.
Beans are a delicious nutritious protein source for vegans. Flexible and economical, In my house we eat beans in some form almost everyday. Below is an assortment of beans I always have on hand. If you’re able, buy low sodium organic canned beans and rinse well before using.
Lentils, green and brown
Puy lentils (French)
Split peas-green and yellow
Grains are wonderful and easy to prepare as side or main dishes and also step up to bind foods like burgers and loaves. Grains are universally popular and diverse. For your basic rice needs these are my suggestions.
White rice (not converted or Minute)
Brown rice, long and short grain
Basmati rice, white and brown
Quinoa, white or red
Oats, whole and steel cut
Whole grain breakfast cereals
Flour, Unbleached white, whole wheat white
Chickpea or garbanzo bean flour
Nuts and nut butters
Nuts are not just for snacking! You’ll be transforming nuts into the most delicious creams, milks, cheeses or even meat replacers you’ve ever tasted. Store nuts in airtight containers in your pantry or fridge.
Raw cashews (unroasted and unsalted)
Peanuts, raw unroasted unsalted
Organic roasted peanut butter, without hydrogenated fat or sugar
Tahini (sesame butter)
Flaxseeds, ground or whole
Look for a good imported or California olive oil suitable for both cooking and dressing. The neutral oils I’ve listed should always be used in moderation, stored in low light and use within a year. Choose the one you like, you won’t need all four. Refining coconut oil removes and significantly reduces any coconut flavor, making it the perfect healthier emulsifier for dairy free butters, nut cheeses or light frying.
Olive oil, first cold pressed, single olive if possible
Coconut oil, first pressed, organic and refined
Toasted sesame oil
Pasta is versatile, affordable, healthy, tasty, easy to cook. Pasta is high in complex carbohydrates and is also good source of low fat protein. I like a variety of sizes and shapes. My basics are spaghetti, ziti, penne, orzo, farfalle (bow ties) and no-boil lasagna.
Usually refrigerated, there are many delicious options available. For cooking please buy an unsweetened variety. Sweetened is fine for breakfast or adding to coffee or tea. There are also some fantastic dairy creamers available. Try different “milks” until you find one that you love. Dropping dairy, cheese and eggs yields dramatic health benefits you’ll sense almost immediately. Cow’s milk is food for growing baby cows, not humans. Non-dairy milks also come in convenient aseptic cartons, so I always have a few varieties in my dry pantry.
Blends of all of the above
Sauces, sweeteners and vinegars are essential and go a long way to adding the perfect touch of sweet, salty or heat to just about everything.
Soy sauces (Shoyu, Tamari and regular)
Vinegar (organic red wine, seasoned rice, balsamic and apple cider)
Bouillon cubes, vegetarian
Worcestershire sauce, vegetarian, no anchovies
Mustard (Dijon, whole grain brown)
Granulated, organic, fair unbleached and unrefined. Typically sugar is processed through a bone char filter. Look for “vegan” on the package.
Brown Sugar, organic
Maple syrup, pure no added sugar
My basic dried spices to stock up on: bay leaves, caraway seeds, cardamom, cayenne, chili powder, chipotle
pepper (ground), cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin (ground and seeds), fennel seeds, pure no salt garlic and onion powder, ginger, nutmeg (whole), oregano, paprika (hot and sweet), poultry seasoning (which lends a traditional familiar flavor to dishes such as gravies and pot pies), red chile pepper flakes, sage, and thyme.
Cans, Jars and Dried
San Marzano tomatoes, organic whole plum or crushed
Fire roasted tomatoes
Tomato paste (tube)
Coconut milk- organic refined and unrefined
Hearts of Palm
Applesauce, organic unsweetened
Nutritional yeast, powder or flaked
Seaweed, toasted Nori flakes, dulse and kelp powder
Mushrooms, Porcini and Shitake
Oil cured olives
Rice paper wraps
Cocoa, pure organic fair trade, powder or nibs
Chocolate chips, dairy free
Cornstarch, Non GMO
Refrigerator and Freezer
I know it’s best to cook from scratch everyday, but sometimes I just don’t have the time or energy. That’s when I reach for something that’s still healthy, delicious and ready to go on a moment’s notice. Used in moderation, these prepared foods are convenient and stand in beautifully for their animal protein counterparts. Note a few are more “ready” to go than others
Seitan is derived from the protein portion (gluten) of wheat and stands in for meat in many recipes and prepared food products.
Tempeh. Has savory nutty undertones, and a chewy texture. Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans and is available in all soy or with added multigrain, brown rice, flax, grains or vegetables.
Tofu. Soft and silken tofu are best suited for dressings, dips, desserts, cream sauces, and smoothies. Pour off excess water and use as is. Firm or extra firm tofu has a denser, drier texture that lends itself to slicing, grilling, cubing, burgers, cutlets and desserts.
Earth Balance vegan spread and sticks
Miyoko’s Creamery cultured vegan butter, high end aged cheeses
Gardein meatless crumbles, chicken style, meatless meatballs
Lightlife Italian sausage, veggie dogs, veggie bacon
Tofurkey, deli style meats, dogs and sausages
Kite Hill cream cheeses, yogurts, ravioli
Follow Your Heart Smoked Provolone Deli Slices, Mozzarella
Chao deli-style vegan cheese
Wayfare, dairy free, bean-based, cheesy spreads and sour cream.
Dayia shredded and deli style vegan cheeses
Tortillas, organic corn and flour
Wonton wrappers, egg- and whey-free
Puff pastry dough, vegan, without butter
Frozen Vegetables and fruit
Inexpensive, flexible and always in season! Great for sides, desserts or a quick vegetable soup. Look for organic and buy fresh when available.
Petite green peas
Mixed vegetables, Italian style, California style or Asian
Nutritional yeast is a great source of B vitamins, thiamine, folate, B-6 and niacin. I make a batch of my Vegan Parm with it at least once a week and sprinkle it on everything. It’s a de-activated yeast related to brewer’s yeast, but not the same. The yeast is grown on a food source, like molasses, then harvested, heated, dried and crumbled, resulting in a wonderfully nutty incredibly healthy ingredient that imparts a delicious savory flavor to everything you sprinkle it on.