How To Build The Best Plant-Based Pantry
A well-stocked pantry is a secret weapon for making delicious plant-based meals at home. If you’re in a pinch, this list will help you prepare tasty and nutritious meals with ease. With these items, along with some fresh produce on hand, you’ll be sure to set yourself up to succeed on your plant-based journey.
Plant-Based Pantry Staples
Nuts and seeds
These powerful little things are packed with nutrition and are a fast and easy way to increase any meal’s nutritional value. In addition to their health benefits, nuts and seeds add a nice crunch and flavor to salads, snacks, and other meals. Perfect for snacking or as toppings, you will also be able to use these to make cheeses, nut butter, and delicious desserts. Even experts say that focusing on nuts, seeds, and legumes can help you stick to a plant-based diet.
Some great options to keep on hand:
By providing vitamins and minerals, fiber, and protein, whole grains can be a very inexpensive way to keep nutritious food on hand. The FDA recommends taking in 28 grams of daily fiber on a 2,000 calorie diet, and whole grains can help! They can be the star of the show in a dish such as fried rice, or take on a supporting role like a base in a Buddha Bowl. With so many great options to choose from, whole grains are an affordable addition to add to any pantry, and they’re a shelf-stable item.
Some handy classics:
- Brown rice
- and oats
Say hello to the most versatile proteins to keep on hand! Quick and easy to whip up, legumes are a lifesaver, especially if you’ve run out of refrigerated protein sources such as tempeh or tofu. Cooked or canned, these nutrition stars are packed with protein and fiber, and are some of the lowest fat protein sources around. Plus, legumes are also extremely affordable.
- black beans
- split peas
- red, brown, and green lentils
Having a selection of different oils makes it handy to whip up sauces/dressings/marinades, cook your favorite vegetables, or get your dessert bake on. You can replace butter in recipes with oil. Plus they are a great way to incorporate healthy fats into your diet.
Some great options:
- coconut oil (awesome for baking)
- olive oil (delicious in dressings)
- and sesame oil (perfect for stir-fry’s)
Bottles of vinegar are great for sauces or dressings and can add a lot of flavors. A key player in the vinegar world is apple cider vinegar, which also happens to be the healthiest! Apple cider vinegar is also a great replacement for lemon juice if you don’t have any on hand. A bit stronger and with a more acidic flavor than lemon, use sparingly when replacing, as one tablespoon goes a long way.
Some popular kinds of vinegar:
- apple cider
- white wine
- and rice vinegar
Excellent for snacks, nut butter is an impressive topping with a boost of nutrients for fresh fruit and bread. They are also excellent for making homemade dressings and dips. You can even toss your favorite nut butter into smoothies for some additional flavor and protein.
Some smooth classics:
- almond butter
- peanut butter
- cashew butter
If you are passionate about baking or love whipping up tasty sauces, flour is essential to have on hand. Handy for thickening sauces or whipping up pancakes, good flour will always come through.
Some popular examples:
- corn starch
- almond flour
- and coconut flour
Spices and seasonings can enhance the taste of food by adding flavor and aroma. Some spices can even change or enhance the color of a dish. Pick a few key spices to always have available, and get creative with them! Dried herbs can be handy when fresh ones aren’t on hand. Try switching up old recipes by adding in different spices.
- and cumin
Sometimes we all want to indulge in a little sweetness, especially when it comes to baked goods, sauces, or even teas. Natural-based sweeteners can even help combat a late-night sweet tooth.
Some sweet examples include:
- Maple syrup
- monk fruit
- date sugar
- and coconut sugar
Canned and other packaged goods
Canned goods can be a cheap and easy way to have some delicious key staples on hand for cooking. Canned items can save you time and help you pull a meal together quickly. While fresh is always best, these items are a meal saver when in a pinch. It’s always ideal to buy BPA-free cans.
Handy canned goods include:
- Diced tomatoes
- tomato paste
- coconut milk
- spaghetti sauce
- apple sauce
- and salsa
Nutritional yeast (aka nooch): This stuff is great to add a cheesy flavor to salads, dressings, or dips. It is also an excellent plant source of Vitamin B12.