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...
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)!
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:
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’sVegan 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!
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’sChana 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:
White Button 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!
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’sSticky Miso Aubergines (which is inclusive of chickpeas, another essential item for your pantry).
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!
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 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:
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:
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
Fresh Black Pepper
Crushed Red Pepper
Chili Flakes & Powder
Salt (we recommend sea salt or himalayan pink salt for the most nutrient-rich)
Regular & Smoked Paprika
18 ) Sweeteners
Got an unstoppable sweet tooth like we do? Appease it with these vegan-friendly sweeteners!
Dates or date syrup
Rice malt syrup
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!
Apple Cider Vinegar
Soy Sauce or Tamari (gluten-free)
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!
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’sbrand-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).