Stocking A Vegan Pantry — A Case For Plant Based
My pantry stock looks quite a bit different after converting to a plant-based diet. Gone are the boxes of sugary granola bars, jars of honey, and packages of white rice. In its place are whole grain oats, nutritional yeast, and lots of dried beans, nuts, and whole grains. This is what you’ll need to stock a vegan pantry:
This is an absolute must. I was very skeptical about it at first, but now I have to buy it in bulk because I use it all the time.
Unlike yeast used in baking, nutritional yeast is inactive due to undergoing an added heating and drying process. Nutritional yeast is low in calories, contains no fat, is packed with vitamins and minerals, and even contains protein. It is an excellent source of vitamin B12 as most manufacturers fortify with B12. (Always check the label to make sure.)
You can buy nutritional yeast in the form of flakes or powder. It has a nutty, cheesy flavor, so it is really good in savory dishes. If you don’t like the taste at first, trust me, it grows on you. And you’ll end up loving it! Now I even crave it! 😋
Some ways to use nutritional yeast include:
- mixing directly into pasta dishes or on pizza
- stirring into creamy soups or chili
- adding to mashed potatoes
- using in salads and dips
- adding to tofu scramble (especially for scrambled “eggs”)
Another must! Kala Namak, also called Indian black salt or Himalayan black salt, has a distinct taste and smell due to its sulfur content. It tastes very similar to hard boiled egg yolks, so it is often used in vegan replications of egg dishes.
I use it for breakfast, such as in tofu egg scrambles or baked casseroles. Given the fact that tofu has a texture similar to scrambled eggs, mixed with the flavor of kala namak, you won’t even miss those breakfast egg dishes!
Grains, Beans, Nuts, and Seeds
These are an absolute staple in the pantry!
Also worth noting, I recommend stocking up on cashews. They are used a lot as the base for many vegan creams and sauces.
For the healthiest options, buy whole grains and organic, raw, unsalted nuts and seeds. And, dried beans are a lot more cost effective than canned.
Some of my personal favorites are:
- Brown rice
- Wild rice and black rice
- Black beans
- Garbanzo beans
- Kidney beans
- Pinto beans
- Chia seeds
- Flax seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
While it is the healthier option to use fresh or frozen produce and dried beans, stocking your pantry with canned goods is still a good idea. Let’s be real, who actually remembers to soak the beans overnight? Or has time after a long day at work to cook them for an hour?
I like to spend some time on the weekends making large batches of various grains and beans. That way when you’re too tired to even think about making dinner, the most time consuming parts are already done.
Chop up a tomato, avocado, and green onions, and you’ve got yourself a burrito bowl. Or grab a box of vegetable broth and throw in some vegetables, spices, and beans and you’ve got an easy soup.
Some things that are always stocked in my pantry include:
- Beans (especially black and garbanzo for making hummus)
- Coconut milk
- Jackfruit (an amazing substitute for shredded pork or chicken)
- Miso broth
- Refried beans
- Vegetable broth
By using a wide array of spices, your plant based meals will be packed full of flavor! Some of my go-to spices are:
- Salt and pepper (obviously!)
- Cayenne, crushed red pepper
- Chili powder, cumin, curry
- Chinese five spice
- Chives, dill
- Garlic powder, onion powder
- Lemon Pepper seasoning
- Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
- Old World Spice (manufactured close to the Kansas City area!)
Garlic, Ginger, Onion, and Potatoes
Potatoes are incredibly versatile: roast in the oven to serve alongside a veggie burger, add to soup, make mashed potatoes, grate for breakfast hash browns, etc.
Ginger, garlic, and onion are a great way to enhance the flavor of a dish. Or grate on a microplane to use in tofu marinades.
As an added bonus: ginger, garlic, onions, and potatoes keep for a long time. That’s a huge perk these days since we aren’t grocery shopping as often. (Refrigerate for an even longer shelf life.)
Oils, Vinegars, and Condiments
Try to use all oils sparingly as they are high in saturated fat and contain very little nutritional value.
In order to cut back on oil consumption, I use non-stick silicone baking mats. I place them on cookie sheets and after baking, food just slides right off, eliminating the need to use cooking oil. I use them for everything from roasting vegetables to baking veggie burgers and cookies. Pop them in the dishwasher and use them over and over again. Plus, it cuts down on aluminum foil and parchment paper usage!
My essential vinegars and condiments include:
- Apple cider vinegar
- Balsamic vinegar
- Red wine vinegar
- Rice vinegar
- White wine vinegar
- Vegan bouillon (chicken and beef flavor)
- Pure maple syrup
- Panko (for making veggie burgers)
- Tabasco sauce
- Vegan worcestershire sauce
Easy, go-to meal basics
One of the easiest vegan meals is pasta and tomato sauce. I like to use different flavors of pasta to change it up. (Note: while fresh pasta contains egg, most dried, packaged pastas are vegan-friendly. Always be sure to check the labels though.) Make jarred tomato sauce your own by adding sauteed onion, garlic and preferred spices. I always have on hand:
- Whole grain pasta
- Chickpea, black bean, or red lentil pasta
- Jarred tomato sauce
Curries and Asian noodle dishes can be super easy as well. Coconut milk, curry paste (check the ingredients to make sure it’s vegan), chickpeas, and vegetables make a wonderful curry. Or try noodles mixed with miso broth, veggies and spices. Stocked in my pantry regularly are:
- Soba noodles
- Udon noodles
- Vermicelli noodles
- Green curry paste
- Red curry paste
- Miso broth
I love Mexican food, but it usually entails a lot of prep time and chopping vegetables. After a long day, I like to make refried bean quesadillas. Add vegan cheese, salsa, and corn, and you’ve got yourself a meal. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, chop up some fresh tomato and avocado to top it off. 😉 Keep on hand:
- Refried beans
Keeping your pantry organized
I like to keep dried beans and grains in labeled glass jars. And because I just can’t deal with disorganization, I keep all of my spices, vinegars, and condiments in alphabetical order. It takes more time initially, but it’s much easier to find exactly what you need.
Because we are eating more varieties of nuts and seeds, they started taking over my pantry space. 🙈 I put all of the packages together in one large container so they’re easier to find and the space is less cluttered.
What are some of your must-have pantry staples? How do you keep your pantry organized? I’m always looking for new ideas, so send me your tips! 😁 And don’t forget to subscribe 🥰
Originally published at https://acaseforplantbased.com on April 28, 2020.