If you are a starting vegan, you will likely spend the first few months researching many labels, testing dozens of new recipes and purchasing unknown products, and rediscovering well-known products. I have these vegan pantry staples in my kitchen cupboards as standard. They always come in handy. I have not included fresh fruit and vegetables in this article, only products that have a longer shelf life.
I always visit the Asian supermarket for herbs. They have everything there. Vegetables, legumes, and sauces: I season everything with herbs. My favorites are turmeric, (smoked) paprika, cumin, garlic salt, curry, and cinnamon.
Nutritional Yeast Flakes
I often saw this ingredient in recipes. Although I didn’t know what to do with it yet, I knew it had to be done. The first time I opened the packet, I didn’t feel like it right away. It looks like fish food. It is an inactive yeast that grows and feeds on molasses. After the product is heated, the yeast is dried and flakes are formed. Nutritional yeast flakes are a good substitute for parmesan cheese over pasta. It gives dishes a savory taste. I also use it as a seasoning for (pasta) sauces.
I have been eating peanut butter for as long as I can remember and since trying vegan food, many kinds of nut butters have been added. It is delicious on bread, in oatmeal, on a rice cake, or on a date. I always have a jar of 100% Peanut butter in the cupboard. When I visit the market I come home with a jar of Horizon mixed nut butters. Not cheap, but so good.
When it comes to milk, we have nothing to complain about. Every supermarket now has different types of vegetable milk and milk alternatives in its range. I have two varieties in the fridge: oat milk for my cappuccino and unsweetened almond milk for my smoothies, oatmeal, and pancakes.
I can’t live without it. I especially like the light version as a basis for a salad dressing, because of the couscous and for the hummus of course.
The basis for almost every vegan dish: legumes. I like lentils, chickpeas, and peanuts. Lentils are ideal in salads, for Indian soups, stews, and chili sin carne. I use chickpeas in the hummus (obviously); salads and dried chickpeas can be used to make flour. Peanuts are delicious as a snack and I sprinkle them on Asian dishes.
Agave Syrup and Maple Syrup
I no longer have honey in my kitchen. This is why honey is not vegan. Now agave syrup and maple syrup are in my kitchen cupboards as a worthy substitute. Agave syrup is more for everyday use (because of the vegetable yogurt or tea, for example), and maple syrup for slightly more special dishes. Delicious on pancakes. Both are also ideal for making a dressing and for tempeh bacon.
The cheapest and most used product in my kitchen: oatmeal. In the winter I have breakfast with warm oatmeal and in the summer I add a scoop of oatmeal to my smoothie. I use oatmeal for banana bread and pancakes. You can also experience savory dishes such as homemade vegan burgers. Adding some oatmeal will keep them firm.
Why only use olive oil when you can vary? I bake with coconut oil and I use it for banana bread. Use olive oil for cooking and the more expensive extra virgin olive oil for a dressing. Sesame oil is again delicious for Asian dishes to stir-fry vegetables.
Last but not least: grains! This, together with beans and legumes, forms the basis of the (evening) meals. The cupboard contains brown rice, wholemeal pasta, bulgur, quinoa, couscous, wholemeal flour, and of course wholemeal bread.
Vegan Pantry Staples: Shopping List
I know that many are especially curious about what my shopping list looks like and how much money I spend.
Unfortunately, it is still often thought that you are more expensive with vegan food.
That just depends on what your preferences are. If you want to try all new vegan products, you will soon spend quite a bit.
If you eat pure, as I do, it is often cheaper than animal products.
On Sundays, I do a somewhat larger errand for fresh products and then I immediately take some products that are almost gone.
Usually, on Thursdays, I buy fresh what I need until Sunday.
What I Buy Fresh Every Week
My shopping list is small. I generally buy a lot of fruit and vegetables, because of course I always have to get them fresh.
By default I always buy:
What I Also Buy in Bulk
Of course, I do not live on fruit and vegetables, it is also important to get legumes, grains, and healthy fats.
However, I do not have to buy those products fresh and I just have them in stock.
I usually do my shopping on foot, so it is handy if I also buy some supplies every time I go shopping, such as a packet of brown rice, peanut butter, or a few jars of chickpeas.
Then there are products that I occasionally order online, such as buckwheat flour, chia seeds, spirulina, and vegan protein powder.
I hope you now have an idea of what you can have in your kitchen as a (healthy) vegan.
What your vegan pantry will look like, of course, depends on what you like to eat.
If you have any questions, feel free to send me a message. And I’m curious: if you could choose one ingredient… what could you not do without?