Essential Vegan Pantry & Kitchen Staples (+ some delicious recipes!)

As COVID-19 continues to keep us cooped up, we’ve seen the internet explode with new self-made chefs heatin’ up in their kitchen during quarantine. We’re totally in favour of treating yourself to a night out or two to your favourite plant-based restaurant to support local businesses, but there’s nothing more rewarding than taking the time to cook yourself a homemade meal...at home. The sense of accomplishment once you’ve put together an amazing dish simply can’t be beaten. 

So, don’t let quarantine slow your cooking roll - instead, check out these vegan pantry must haves  that will prepare you for a number of delicious recipes. 

Throw on your favourite cosy Plant Faced Clothing tee, and let’s hit the pantry (or fridge)!

Vegetables

Let’s start with our favourite pantry staple: vegetables! You can’t go wrong filling your kitchen with these vegan pantry must haves: fresh and canned veggies. 

1 ) Sweet Potatoes

In the realm of potato plants, sweet potatoes (not to be confused with yams) are certainly the best of its kind. They are arguably the tastiest of all the types of potatoes, and sweet potatoes are the best types of potatoes for you! First of all, sweet potatoes are good sources of:

  • Potassium
  • Fibre
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Antioxidants

In addition, sweet potatoes last for ages in your pantry - 3 to 5 weeks, to be exact. They can even last for months if you put them in the fridge! 

You can cook sweet potatoes on their own (hello, Kara Lydon’s Vegan Loaded Sweet Potato recipe) or add sweet potatoes to a variety of dishes, like Maria Gureeva’s delicious and surprisingly pain-free Easy Skillet Potatoes - perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! 

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Easy skillet potatoes 😍😍 currently craving this for dinner and will probably make myself a bowl, but without attempting to make it pretty because quick dinner = earlier bedtime lol. Re-sharing the recipe below incase you missed it the first time round! Sending love 😘 Skillet sweet potatoes with kale 2 large sweet potatoes, cubed 1 tbsp maple syrup 1 tsp paprika 1 tsp cumin 1 medium red onion, chopped 1 cup cabbage, chopped 2 cups kale, de-stemmed and chopped 2 tbsp tamari 1/2 tsp liquid smoke (optional) Black pepper, to taste. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C/400 F. Toss the sweet potato cubes in maple syrup, paprika and cumin, then spread them out on a sheet of parchment paper and bake for around 20 minutes, until softened. When the potatoes are almost ready, add the onion and the cabbage to a non-stick frying pan with a splash of water. Sauté for 3-4 minutes to soften. Then, add the kale and sauté for a further 2 minutes until it begins to wilt, then add the sweet potato cubes, tamari, liquid smoke and black pepper. Stir for around 3 minutes, then serve with mashed avocado. • • • • • #veganbowl #nourishbowl #avocado #poweredbyplants #veganism #eatwell #veganiseasy #bestofvegan #plantbased #plantstrong #veganeats #plantbasedlife #veganhealth #goodmoodfood #beautifulcuisines #vegandinnerideas #vegancomfortfood #plantbasedmeal #healthycooking #simplefood #veganinspiration #homemadefood #sweetpotato #whatveganscook #veggies @worldwideveganfood @bestofvegan @veganbowls @thrivemags @thefeedfeed.vegan

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2 ) Canned Tomatoes

Whether you say tomato or tomahto, everyone can agree that tomatoes are a vegan pantry must have. There are so many canned varieties to keep you on your toes, like diced tomatoes with green chillies, organic whole peeled tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, and more. Canned tomatoes can be used in many Italian-inspired dishes - go big or go home by creating your own DIY vegan pizza or opt for a simple pasta dish. Make thick soups and curries or get creative with a vegan chilli meal. The tasty options are seemingly endless! 

An easy recipe you can make is Sharon Palmer’s Chana Masala with Brown Rice. This meal is both vegan and gluten-free, and best of all, you should have all the pantry staples you need to create it - including canned tomatoes! 

3 ) Canned (or dried) Mushrooms

While we prefer fresh mushrooms (and organic), newfound plant-based chefs won’t always have the time to keep these fresh fungi on-hand at all times. Instead, stock up on a few cans of mushrooms - the sheer variety that you can get at the grocery stores is amazing, including:

  • Crimini Mushrooms
  • Oyster Mushrooms
  • White Button Mushrooms
  • Chanterelle Mushrooms
  • Portobello mushrooms
  • Shiitake mushrooms

Cook mushrooms alone in your favourite herbs and spices (check out the essential ones at the bottom of this article) for an impromptu stir-fry, chuck some into your favourite pasta dish, or bake and glaze an entire can! For a quick and easy mushroom dish, check out Avocado Pesto’s easy Vegan Sauteed (TRIPLE) Mushrooms recipe!

Photo credit Avocado Pesto

4 ) Eggplant

In addition to being our favourite naughty emoji, eggplants are also one of our most coveted vegetables to have on-hand in our vegan pantry. This versatile vegetable boasts of creamy texture yet meaty flavour that we simply can’t get enough of, and it is super good for you! Eating eggplant can improve your digestive system (acting as a natural laxative), is heart-friendly, and more. Check out all of the health benefits that eggplants have to offer in this article by NDTV Food! 

If you are looking to whip up a quick and easy eggplant dish, be sure to check out Nourishing Amy’s Sticky Miso Aubergines (which is inclusive of chickpeas, another essential item for your pantry).

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Aub-sessed with veggies 🍆😍 It’s been a chilled but not so chilled Sunday as we held our little Grove BBQ for the neighbours who despite none of whom being vegan were rather impressed with the #vegan #cake I whipped out for dessert - it was really similar to the one I posted a few days ago 🎂 and I’m so glad to say it went down a treat. . Veganism is growing, the plant-based movement is in full swing and it’s amazing to see so many people, brands and restaurants on board for the ride. The future is pants and veggies are cool ✌🏼 I used to be a bit shy about saying I’m vegan and while I don’t want to cause a fuss, I’ll never quieten down about it, it’s my passion and following my #authenticity I’ll always follow my heart... . And right now my heart is leading me to these aubergines 🍆 . Sticky Miso Aubergines 👆🏼 So sticky, soft, chewy and packed with rich umami flavour and a sweet glaze thanks to a winning combo of miso paste ( I like @clearspringuk ) with some tamari, lime juice and sticky syrup (I like coconut or maple or fruit syrup @coconutmerchant ) You can find the recipe on the blog, search “aubergine” and they’ll come up 👋🏼 www.nourishingamy.com 👋🏼 link in bio * * * #nourishingamy #aubergine #eggplant #easyrecipes #veganaf #food #nutrition #nourish #mealprep #veganrecipes #plantprotein #goodnessbowl #soulfood #glutenfree #miso #plantpower #feedyoursoul #foodstyling #feedfeed #fitfood #foodphotography #eattherainbow #guthealth #easyrecpies #eatmoreplants #letscookvegan #beautifulcuisines @letscookvegan @weareveganuary

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5 ) Tempeh

Tempeh! Beautiful tempeh! Have a soft spot for this one; it’s hearty, full of protein, and just downright delicious. It’s also polarising; some love it, some hate it. The key is getting the best quality, and finding the best way you like it prepared. It also keeps great in the freezer, making it excellent to stock up on.

We like it simply baked in coconut oil & sea salt, until slightly golden. Or, pan fry with oil and soy sauce or tamari. Also delicious in stir-fries, curries, buddha bowls, or as satay sticks. Get creative!

Peep this recipe for Peanut & Lemongrass Tempeh Satay by Minimalist Baker.


6 ) Tofu

Tofu tofu, wonderful tofu. Look, contrary to the stereotypes, you don’t have to love tofu to be vegan. But it sure is a good staple; packed with protein, and super versatile. There are so many use cases for tofu; not so exciting on its own, once you learn all the ways you can supercharge it with flavour, this staple becomes an instant best friend. Fry it, bake it, soup it, make dressings or puddings with it (the soft, silken kind), the list goes on.

We'll let you in on two of our little secret weapons, that made us fall in love with tofu.. Introducing One Arab Vegan's Vegan Tofu Halloumi (pictured below) and vegan tofu popcorn chicken. Thank us later.


Fruits

We normally try to steer clear of any type of fruits that aren’t fresh. With that being said, quarantine is making frequent trips to the grocery store tough. Instead of nixing fruit from your diet altogether, be sure to stock up on canned fruit that isn’t in syrup. Canned and jarred fruit will still provide you with a good amount of vitamins and minerals and are handy for making things like smoothie bowls. Check out some of our favourite canned and jarred fruits:

  • Cranberries
  • Sliced Peaches
  • Sliced Pears
  • Goji Berries
  • Pineapple Tidbits or Chunks (we love using tidbits for sweet & sour tofu)

Another favourite fruit we like to have around?  Avocados

Fun fact: avocados are a f*****g fruit! Who knew?

7 ) Avocado

Words can’t begin to express our obsession with avocados, but we’ll certainly try. Firstly, they can be used in just about any type of dish. These shapeshifters can be used in:

  • Ice cream
  • Soups
  • Dips
  • Sandwiches
  • Bowls
  • Smoothies
  • Salads

This list could go on and on, but you get the idea. In addition to being so versatile, avocados are incredibly good for you, which is always an added bonus. They’re good for your heart, they are high in unsaturated fats (and have zero trans fat), have no sodium or cholesterol, and are all-around super nutrient-high. In addition to slapping avocados onto some toast and calling it a day, there are plenty of easy recipes out there that will aid you in getting your avocado fix.

Catherine Perez, a plant-based dietician and the Instagram queen behind Plantbasedrd, is showing off her mad vegan cooking skills with her delicious Avocado Chickpea Mash! Add lemon, spring onions, garlic powder, and salt and pepper for that perfect piece of quarantine avocado mash! 

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Can someone just use magic to put this out in front of me again? 😭 Missing these bagels topped with some avocado smashed chickpeas. 🥑 . Avocado Chickpea Mash 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained 1 ripe avocado, pit removed 1 lemon 2 spring onion, minced 1 tablespoon cappers or minced green olives 1/2 tsp garlic powder Salt and pepper to taste . Add chickpeas, avocado and capers to a bowl and mash either using a fork or potato masher until a mash begins to form. I leave some pieces of chickpeas as is for texture. Grate some zest from the lemon into the mash, then cut lemon in half and juice the lemon over top. Add in spring onions, garlic powder and stir to combine. Adjust flavor by adding some salt and pepper to taste. Take mixture and spread over your base of choice. I did the bagel and topped it off with some sautéed mushrooms, zucchini, red pepper flakes and everything but the bagel seasoning. 🥒 . I also really liked a little basil in this too when I had it again today, so feel free to add in if you have it on hand or any other toppings for your own preference. 👏🏽 For the mushrooms, place sliced mushrooms in a pan with a pinch of salt and allow water to cook off. Add a splash of soy sauce and a pinch of smoked paprika and garlic powder. Add a splash of vegetable broth to deglaze the pan and a touch of maple syrup. Cook until liquid is fully absorbed then top toast with it.

A post shared by Catherine Perez, MS, RD (@plantbasedrd) on

8 ) Bananas

The only word you need to know. 'Nuff said. Banana bread, nice cream, a perfect base for any smoothie — the possibilities are endless with these babies.


Grains

Bulk up the base of any home-cooked meal with a healthy whole grain!

9 ) Quinoa

Add quinoa to salads, stir-fried vegetables, or as a hearty side for a healthy and gluten-free option! 

10 ) Pasta

We love easy and fast, which is why we love almost all pastas! Boil and make your favourite bowl of pasta with the help of this vegan pantry essential. For a healthier option, opt for the whole grain kind, or discover your favourite gluten-free edition — there are so many good ones available out there now.

Are you craving a hearty pasta dish? Then be sure to stock up on your favourite variation and check out Marissa’s (founder of It’s All Good Vegan) easy homemade Spicy Pasta Sauce. It’ll take only 25 minutes to make, and almost all of these ingredients will be hiding somewhere in your vegan pantry!


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Looking to make a simple and easy recipe this Sunday? Whip up this homemade SPICY PASTA SAUCE. Naturally spiced with crushed red pepper, and ready in just 25 minutes. Pair this sauce with your favorite type of pasta and have the ultimate cozy recipe 🍝 I left the recipe below and on the blog. Happy Sunday friends xo . . . Ingredients 1 Tbsp oil, I used olive oil ½ large onion, chopped in small pieces 2 carrots, chopped in small pieces 1 Tbsp garlic, chopped minced 1 Tbsp tomato paste 2 cans of diced tomatoes, I used 15 ounce cans 1 tsp crushed red pepper add ** 1/2 tsp more for an EXTRA SPICY sauce ¼ tsp salt ¼ tsp pepper 1 tsp dried basil (optional) ½ tsp dried oregano (optional) . Garnishes Fresh basil Cashew Parmesan @pimp.my.salad . . Directions Heat a large pan on medium heat. Once hot, add the oil, chopped onions, carrots, and salt. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until the onions are translucent but not browned, stirring occasionally.Add the minced garlic, tomato paste, crushed red pepper, and mix covering the veggies in the paste.Transfer the canned diced tomatoes, pepper, dried basil, and dried oregano to the pan and stir. Bring sauce to a simmer.Reduce heat down to low and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally. Transfer sauce to a blender or food processor. Pulse until the sauce has become a desired smooth consistency.Add sauce to your cooked pasta and top with garnishes.

A post shared by Marissa | It’s All Good Vegan (@itsallgoodvegan) on

11 ) Brown or White Rice

Rice goes great with any bowl, stir-fried vegetables, and is filling!

Nuts, Seeds, & Legumes

Everyone’s favourite question when they hear someone lives a plant-based life is, “where do you get your protein from?!”

This question does my head in, as it’s actually incredibly easy to get protein from a variety of meat-free items, including beans, lentils, and chickpeas. Check out our favourite protein-filled pantry items below!

12 ) Beans 

Beans, beans, the magical fruit! There are so many variations for you to have the joy of discovering the whole bean rainbow. Black and white beans are both filled with fibre and are easy to add to pretty much any vegan meal as a side or tasty addition, like these delicious 10-Minute Vegan Black Bean Tacos by Alexandra Caspero, founder of Delish Knowledge.


Photo credit 
Delish Knowledge

13 ) Lentils

We love lamp...and lentils! There isn’t any reason not to. Lentils are filled with protein and fiber, and they make for an excellent ingredient in any curry dish! 

14 ) Chickpeas

Chickpeas are also high in protein and are great additions to salads, sandwiches, and vegan curries! 

Bonus tip: look for organic & BPA-free on the cans, and be sure to drain and rinse before using beans, lentils, and chickpeas! 

15 ) Almonds, Cashews, Pecans & Walnuts

Be sure to stock up on these - the perfect protein-packed snack for snacking (holy tongue twister), or mylking! 



16 ) Flax & Chia Seeds

These aren’t totally necessary for your vegan pantry, but we’ve certainly found both of these useful when making certain breakfast items - like pancakes! You can grind them up to make your own easy vegan egg replacement.


Spice up your life!


17 ) Spices, herbs, & seasonings

Don’t forget to fill your pantry with these essential spices, herbs, and seasonings. Even the blandest of dishes can be made great again with these pantry essentials!

  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Cumin
  • Fresh Black Pepper
  • Crushed Red Pepper
  • Basil
  • Chili Flakes & Powder
  • Turmeric
  • Oregano
  • Salt (we recommend sea salt or himalayan pink salt for the most nutrient-rich)
  • Garlic Powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Regular & Smoked Paprika
  • Cocoa Powder

18 ) Sweeteners

Got an unstoppable sweet tooth like we do? Appease it with these vegan-friendly sweeteners!

  • Maple Syrup
  • Coconut sugar
  • Stevia
  • Dates or date syrup
  • Rice malt syrup
  • Coconut nectar
  • Brown Sugar
  • Cane Sugar

19 ) Oils & Vinegars

You may have already stocked up on these, but in case you haven’t, here are the top oils and vinegars you should have in your vegan pantry! 

  • Sriracha
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Coconut Oil
  • Sesame Oil
  • Soy Sauce or Tamari (gluten-free)
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • White Vinegar
  • Dijon Mustard

Nut butters

20 ) Peanut butter

Every plant-based person's best friend, if you like peanuts, that is. Make sure to buy the 100% pure (and organic, if poss!) kind, so you don't eat up all those extra nasties. Great on its own (by the spoonful), on toast, with your choice of raw cut veggies, in dressings, satay, curry, baking or dessert.

21 ) Almond, cashew or ABC butter

Full of nutrients, great used similarly as above if you're not a peanut fan. 

22 ) Tahini (sesame butter)

A jack of all trades and winner in our eyes! Tahini (aka sesame paste) is perfect on its own drizzled over anything, if you like the taste, or level it up by turning it into a simple dressing with miso, apple cider vinegar, garlic, and lemon. Our go-to simple hack to make any kind of vegetable, tofu or tempeh dish that extra bit of delicious.

23 ) Hummus

No introduction needed — a staple. Make it yourself (it's easy, we promise!) or get the store-bought stuff. This is gonna be your best friend whenever you're peckish. Relatively healthy, extremely tasty, and full of protein.

24 ) Miso

Miso is a versatile hot secret to get that extra umami flavour in so many dishes; it’s so much more than a tasty soup! Use it as a staple in dressings for salad, veggies and tofu or tempeh. The light kind is our preference for making dressings, or use the darker miso paste for a different, more intense flavour.

25 ) Seaweed

Not for everyone, but personally I can’t get enough of any kind of sea vegetable! Rich in so many good minerals like iron, potassium, calcium, iodine and magnesium, as well as vitamins A, B-12, and C. Plus, they keep for ages since most come in dried form; use it for soups, salad, sushi, with rice, nourish bowls, the list goes on. There are so many types to try — from kombu for broth, wakame or hijiki for soups or salads, nori for sushi, and so many more; get exploring.

26 ) Coconut milk

Who doesn’t love curry? Cheap, easy, and nutritious. Coconut milk is your trusty steed to whipping up a delicious dahl, curry, or even use it as a secret weapon for a peanut satay sauce, soup, or your chosen coconut-flavoured dessert!

Bonus!

Vegan Wine

Would any of these recipes be complete without a glass of vegan wine in tow? The adult beverage loving half of me certainly thinks not! Work up some liquid courage to try cooking a dish you never have before thanks to a tasty glass vegan wine (or two), or even jazz up your pasta by pouring in a splash. Join a wine club with Vegan Wines and get vino delivered to your doorstep (you even have the option of adding on vegan cheese). Check out this article by Urban Tastebud to discover even more vegan wine subscriptions! 

Whether you’ve never sauteed a vegetable in your entire life or have an industrial-style kitchen in your home (well, la de da), anyone with any type of cooking skill set should stock up on these wonderful ingredients for a variety of easy and vegan friendly recipes. 

Once you’re finished killing it in the kitchen, be sure to check out Plant Faced Clothing’s brand-spankin’ new Journal, aka your go-to blog for all things plant-based! We’ve got plenty of interesting reads to help you occupy all that free time you have during quarantine (between watching Netflix and eating snacks while staring at the wall). 

Get cosy, and get to reading! 

  • 21 Must-See Vegan Documentaries to Binge During Quarantine
  • 7 Vegan Girls Crushing it on Instagram
  • What Exactly is Recycled PET Made From?

  • If you aren’t ready to put that spatula down, be sure to check out these 8 vegan comfort food dishes that will boost your immune system, inclusive of links to the delicious and healthy recipes! 

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