Vegan Tips: Shopping List
Being vegan can be liberating but it does come with some challenges. You may find restaurant choices limited, you may be invited to parties or dinners where you can’t eat anything. Because of these challenges, most vegans prepare their meals themselves. If you’re new to veganism or considering changing to a plant-based diet, you may find the transition easier if you can cook your own vegan meals.
The following are recommend food items to keep in your pantry so you have everything you need on hand for a great vegan meal.
The most significant changes you’ll make include your protein sources. Because beans are an excellent source of protein and provide a complete protein when consumed with rice, we’ll start your vegan pantry with beans.
Dried and Canned Beans
Beans may very well become your go-to source of protein. They’re easy to cook, they provide protein and fiber, and there are almost as many different types of beans as there are colors in a crayon box. When buying beans you can buy them canned or dried.
Beans and lentils are the base of some veggie burger and loaf recipes. Another reason to keep plenty on hand.
If you’re cooking dried beans and tend to get a bit gassy from them, consider investing in a pressure cooker. Cooking beans in a pressure cooker breaks down the lectin, which is the primary cause for digestive issues from beans.
When purchasing canned beans, look for beans that have no additives including no additional salt or sugar. Here are a few types of beans to add to your pantry:
- Black beans
- Black-eyed peas
- Chickpeas (garbanzos)
- Great northern beans (cannellini)
- Pink beans
- Pinto beans
- Red or kidney beans
- Split peas
Whole Grains And Whole Grain Flours
Whole grains are another primary source of protein and fiber. If you buy in bulk, be sure to store them in your refrigerator. Consider adding the following grains and flours to your pantry:
- Wheat berries
- Corn meal/polenta
- Rice flour
- Tapioca flour
- Spelt flour
- Whole wheat flour
Oils, Vinegars, Sauces, Spices, and Condiments
One of the best features of vegan cooking is the abundance of flavors you’ll get to enjoy and experiment with. Consider adding the following items to your pantry:
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Dark sesame oil
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Safflower, sunflower, or other light-flavored oil
- Soy Sauce or Tamari
- Balsamic vinegar
- Red wine and white wine vinegar
- Rice vinegar
- Apple cider vinegar
- Barbecue sauce
- Pasta sauce
- Salad dressings
- Thai peanut sauce
- Curry sauce
- Chili oil and paste
- Stir fry sauces
- Vegetable broth
- Nutritional yeast
- Spices – as many as you want or like
- Tomato sauce, chopped tomatoes, and tomato paste
- Relish and pickled vegetables
- Vegan mayonnaise
- Canned coconut milk
Pasta and Noodles
It’s always a good idea to keep pasta and noodles on hand. And there are a variety to choose from. Consider:
- Semolina pasta
- Rice pasta
- Buckwheat noodles
- Kelp pasta
- Bean thread noodles
Nuts, Seeds, and Dried Fruit
Nuts, fruit, and seeds make exceptional snacks. They’re also great for topping salads. Also, nut butters are quite tasty and can enhance a sandwich or a piece of morning toast. Nuts and seeds are high in fiber and protein as well as a good source of healthy fats.
- Tahini (made from sesame seeds and added to blended chickpeas for a tasty hummus dip)
- Almond butter
- Peanut butter
- Hemp seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Pine nuts
- Chia seeds – high in omega fatty acids
- Flax seeds – also high in omega fatty acids
- Dried cherries
- Dried apples
- Dried apricots
Fruits, Vegetables, and Vegetable Proteins
No pantry is complete without potatoes, garlic, onions and sweet potatoes. Also consider adding shallots to your list, and a variety of potatoes including red, fingerling, yams, and purple potatoes. Each type of potato provides different nutrients.
It should also go without saying that you’ll want to stock your pantry with an abundance of fruits and vegetables. Always have dark leafy greens on hand, like spinach and kale, because they’re nutrient dense. Also consider trying one new fruit or vegetable each week to help your diet stay well rounded and varied.
Vegetable proteins include tofu, tempeh, and seitan. Seitan is actually wheat gluten, so if you have a gluten sensitivity don’t eat it. Tofu and tempeh are made from soy. Tempeh is fermented and is considered to be extremely healthy. Tofu is easy to cook with and generally takes on the flavor of whatever you’re cooking it with. Soy is one of the most common genetically modified crops. If you’re seeking non-GMO varieties simply look for organic tofu.
TVP, textured vegetable protein is another type of protein to add to your pantry. Its soy based as well and can be used to make a variety of meals including “burgers.”
Dairy and Egg Alternatives
Obviously,cow’s milk is not vegan. If you drink cow’s milk or enjoy cheese you’ll want to try a variety of dairy alternatives. Consider:
- Coconut milk
- Rice milk
- Hemp milk
- Almond milk
- Soy milk
- Vegan cheese – many soy cheese products contain casein which is a diary protein (you’ll need to search for “Vegan” cheese to find good alternatives)
- Egg substitute – essential for baking
- Breads – make sure there aren’t eggs or dairy in the bread. Look for “vegan” labeling
- Tortillas (corn and flour) – Again, make sure they’re vegan. Many tortillas have lard as an ingredient
- Pita or naan
- Dried herbs – A wide variety of fresh herbs is critical for delicious vegan recipes and can add to the nutritional value of your meals
As a vegan, it’s exciting to discover new recipes online. With a fully stocked pantry and spice rack you can immediately try out any new recipe that inspires you.