Need to stock your vegan pantry or create a vegan meal plan? We’ve got you covered!
Last week we shared The Weekend Vegan Challenge, and commenter Patrick had some questions about shopping for groceries when you’re eating vegan. It was such a great question with such a big answer, I felt like it deserved its own post!
If you’re eating vegan for health, you’ll want to fill your pantry and fridge with whole foods rather than processed vegan junk. Don’t get me wrong – I love me some fake meats, cheeses, cookies, and ice cream – but those are sometimes foods.
Here are some of the staples that I make sure we always have around the house:
- kale or other dark, leafy greens like Swiss chard, bok choy, or collard greens. Sometimes I have several types of greens around. They are great for soups, salads, stir fries….really any dish!
- broccoli. Like the dark-and-leafies, I use broccoli in everything!
- mushrooms. Mushrooms make things taste a little meaty without any meat. Also, mushrooms are awesome.
- tofu. Tofu is good in more than just stir fries. It’s versatile, and I use it in a lot of quick dishes.
- beans. I keep some dried and some canned beans on hand, so I’ve got options no matter how much (or little!) time there is to cook. Black and white beans are a must, and usually I keep a few other things around like garbanzos and pinto beans.
- other veggies. For the rest of my veggies, I like to mix things up week to week. Some faves: carrots, cucumbers, cabbage, fresh or frozen peas, and salad greens.
- whole grains. Whole grain bread, brown rice, oatmeal, and quinoa are always in our pantry.
- frozen organic corn. What can I say, my husband and I love corn! We usually put it on soups or salads.
- olive oil. In a lot of recipes, you can use olive oil in place of butter.
- vegan margarine. We always have Earth Balance on hand for recipes where you need a solid fat or for spreading on toast. Earth Balance is non-hydrogenated, and it’s hands-down the best vegan margarine out there. If you want to splurge, you can use coconut oil instead.
- organic non-dairy milk. Soy or almond are the easiest to find at the regular grocery store
- nutritional yeast. This vegan staple is probably the one thing that’s harder to find. I get mine in the bulk bins at Whole Foods. It is much cheaper in the bulk bins. Some places sell it in bags as a supplement, and it’s outrageously expensive!
- garlic and onions. I mean, what pantry is complete without there, right?
- ginger. So good in soups, stir fries, and even smoothies!
- bananas. They make a great snack and are such a good base for a smoothie.
- nuts. We keep both raw and roasted, unsalted cashews handy, and it’s nice to have almonds and sunflower seeds on hand.
- chia seeds or flax meal. Great for baking, smoothies, or adding a protein and omega 3 punch to your yogurt! Again, these are way, way cheaper in the bulk bins, if you can find them there.
- potatoes. Baked, diced, mashed….we love a potato around my house!
- broth paste. I love Better Than Bouillon! Their veggie or no-chicken broth paste is so handy for making soups and sauces!
- dried fruit. This depends on what you like. I tend to keep raisins or currants, dates, figs, and dried apricots handy. Choose one or two of your favorites from the dried fruit section at the store!
- avocados. Slice them in salads, mash them into guac, or dice them up to top a stir fry. You won’t be sorry!
- fresh fruit. Lately, I’ve been crazy for citrus, but whatever fruit looks good and seasonal will do. You can use fresh fruit in your cooking or on its own to satisfy your sweet tooth.
- spices. This really depends on what you like to cook, but I always try to at least have cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, herbes de Provence, dried basil, coriander, and of course salt and pepper.
Feeling overwhelmed by this list? DON’T PANIC! This is more than a week’s worth of food by far, and lots of these aren’t things you’ll have to buy frequently. A bottle of olive oil lasts us at least a couple of weeks, for example, and we don’t have to restock on grains and beans every week, either.
Next: Click here for a few days of vegan meals to get you started!
Image Credit: photo by Becky Striepe
3 thoughts on “Eating Vegan: Creating a Vegan Meal Plan and Stocking Your Vegan Pantry”
This is such a great informative post! Very helpful for people who are just starting out on this pathway! I will definitely forward this on!
I think when you first start out, like anything, it is a bit overwhelming. I just found myself back in the “overwhelming” bucket with a container of sourdough and a complete lack of knowledge of what to do with it… I think the best thing to do is head off and do a few solid stints researching online. Just because we become vegan doesn’t mean that we have to eat things that we don’t like. Veganism is just as customisable as any other diet and once you get started you find a wealth of information and support online if you need it. I found that I make most of my “fake” things myself now. I get to customise the recipes and am able to obtain things that we just can’t get here in Australia. I also know what goes into these recipes and get the satisfaction of being able to pick the healthiest ingredients. One thing that you find out very soon about veganism is that it opens up the whole world of cookery to you. Just about every cuisine has vegetable/vegan recipes, you just have to dig down a bit (below the meaty surface ;) ). Like gardeners, vegans are completely willing to share what they know and are very generous with recipes, helping people who are interested in adding more vegetable recipes to their repertoire and in transitioning between eating meat and living meatless. It isn’t hard if you are able to find an amazing array of recipes and they are out there just waiting for you to find. I love this series of posts that you are posting at the moment. Vegan is bleeding over into mainstream now and rather than feeling like a freak, we vegans can hold our heads up and live how we choose with impunity :). Cheers for another great post :)