Having a well-stocked and organized pantry is the foundation to building simple, healthy, and nourishing plant-based meals. Now more than ever, I have been relying on vegan pantry staple ingredients of all kinds: rices, vegetables, pastas, flours, fruits, and some surprising items you would never guess were shelf-stable (check the protein section below)!
Knowing what you have on hand and being able to see what you have at a glance will help with meal planning, meal prep, and shopping. When you can: buy in bulk, and buy on sale. I get a lot of questions about what ingredients I personally use in my recipes on TheHerbeevore.com, so I’ve included links to the exact items that I keep in my cupboards.
Keeping vegan pantry staple ingredients on hand is great for any family meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert. I usually start my meal planning by picking a pantry staple (oats in the morning, beans for lunch, spaghetti dinner, etc.) and buidling the rest of my menu around that.
Breakfast & Baking Pantry Staples
I’m adding these in a section together as I tend to bake quite a bit for breakfast: pancakes and muffins are often in our weekly recipe rotation. In our house, breakfast and baking go hand-in-hand. You can build simple and health breakfasts using vegan pantry staple ingredients as well as any fresh produce you have. Oatmeal, pancakes, muffins, breakfast bowls, and even breakfast burritos are fantastic ways to start the day!
Aunt Ruth’s Pancakes utilize vegan pantry staple ingredients for an amazingly delicious breakfast that the whole family will love!
Pantry Staple Breakfast Ingredients
- Oats: rolled oats, quick oats, and organic instant oatmeal are all varieties we have in our cupboards. Oats are great for more than oatmeal, you can make these Jammy Blackberry Oat Bars, or even Chocolate Oat Milk using oats as the base.
- Cereal: OG Rice Krispies are my personal favorite
- Pancake or Waffle Mix: here is a vegan version that you can just add water too!
- Maple Syrup: we make our own from tapping our maple trees, but I’d recommend a Pure Maple Syrup from Vermont or Canada lke this one here, none of that fake pancake syrup stuff.
My simple 4 Ingredient No Knead Bread recipe uses only flour, salt, yeast, and water! That is it. This is THE one recipe my friends always ask me to bring to brunch… its so easy, anyone can make it!
Pantry Staple Baking Ingredients
- All Purpose Flour: King Arthur brand is my go-to flour, I always have some on hand! I actually bought a giant 50lb bag in bulk (because hello carbs!) that I keep in an airtight container.
- Yeast: Active Dry yeast is a baking go-to!
- Coconut Flour: a great gluten free baking alternative
- Chickpea Flour
- Sugar: we go through a LOT of sugar, I use an organic cane sugar for most of our baking. The sugar isn’t only for us: we feed our bees sugar in the spring and fall to get them ready for the winter!
- Baking Soda
- Baking Powder
- Corn Starch: aside from flour, this is one of my most-used baking ingredients. I use it to make crispy potato wedges and perfect crispy baked tofu!
- Sea Salt: always pink Himalayan
- Vanilla Extract: the real deal, not fake extract flavor
- Raw Cacao Powder
- Canned Coconut Milk: full fat, unsweetened
Pantry Staple Fruits
Jarred, canned, and dried fruits are a fantastic addition to your well-stocked pantry. While I normally prefer fresh fruit, there are some great vegan pantry staple ingredients for getting the nutrients from fruit that you need. I make smoothies with banana and papaya powders, and add canned and dried fruits in desserts and baking recipes.
A quick note on canned fruit: if you do buy canned fruit aim for a no sugar added variety, or one that is packed in juice. Avoid canned fruit that is packed in heavy syrup… that way you can control the amount of added sugar you are bringing to the table.
My Apple Cinnamon Walnut Muffins use pantry staple ingredients like apple sauce and cinnamon to bring amazing fall flavors to the breakfast table!
- Canned Pineapple: I like Del Monte brand
- Cranberry Sauce
- Apple Sauce: I use apple sauce mostly in baking – its a great substitution for eggs in recipes!
- Canned Pears
- Banana Flour: OK this banana flour is a fantastic addition to any smoothie! Banana flour is just dried and crushed organic bananas, and I love adding a spoonful to my smoothies for flavor and extra nutrients when I don’t any fresh bananas on hand.
- Papaya Powder: I bought this papaya powder as its great for smoothies, and also useful to put on bee or wasp stings to nutralize the effects of the venom
- Dried Fruits: dried apple rings, dried apricots, and raisins always have a place on our shelves!
Vegan Pantry Staple Proteins
This is one category I get super excited about. You can build a healthy protein-rich diet with a few classic pantry staples. There are more than just beans here! I love adding shelf-stable tofu to soups and stir fries. And TVP is the foundation for our weekly taco nights. You can even get some extra protein in with your breakfast, here are some great vegan pantry staple ingredients below.
These Aloha BBQ Tofu Bowls utilize one of my favorite pantry staple ingredients protein: tofu! Add some canned pineapple, jarred red peppers, BBQ sauce brown rice, and you have yourself a bright and healthy meal in no time… using mostly ingredients from the cupboards.
- Tofu: Shelf-stable tofu is a total game changer! I love this MoriNu Extra Firm Silken Tofu. Its great in soups and curries… plus you can get a 12 pack for under $20, so its a great protein to stock up on!
- Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) is out go-to filling for tacos. Like tofu, its a very neutral protein and takes the flavor of any spice you cook it with. Great with a little chili powder and cumin. I even use TVP in shepherd’s pie and vegan bolognese sauce. I always keep about 5-10 lbs in my pantry.
- Soy Curls
- Protein Powders: I like Vega brand best for plant-based protein. Vega comes in a lot of different flavors, but I LOVE both their chocolate and mocha powders for smoothies!
I am breaking out beans into their own protein category becuase there are so many amazing options! Beans are the building blocks of soups, stews, and taco nights for us. Super versatile, beans can be eaten for any meal of the day: in a breakfast burrito, in a wrap at lunch, or in a thick and hearty soup for dinner.
You can stock either canned or dried beans. I tend to focus on dried as I cook a weekly batch of beans up on my Instant Pot in under an hour. If you do get canned beans, make sure to get a low sodium variety.
This Vegan Pumpkin Lentil Chili recipe uses 2 kinds of beans (lentils + kidney beans) plus a variety of other amazing vegan pantry staple ingredients: canned tomatoes, pumpkin, and vegetable stock.
Here are some legume varieties I always keep on hand:
- Black Beans: an awesome cost effective protein for your kitchen!
- Kidney Beans: I like both light red and dark red varieties
- Chickpeas: my favorites are a low sodium organic version
- Navy Beans: low sodium canned beans here, super great for salads too!
- Pinto Beans: also known as chili beans
- Red Lentils: These Bob’s Red Mill Heritage Lentils are a fantastic add-in to soups
- Brown Lentils: I always use this varieties for lentil soups
- Green French (Puy) Lentils: these lentils hold their shape when cooked, which makes them perfect for salads or soups and won’t get mushy.
- Black (Beluga) Lentils: I use these black “beluga” lentils in my double lentil soup, SO good!
- Split Peas: because what’s better than a homemade split pea soup?
Canned and Jarred Vegetables
Canned vegetables tend to get a bad wrap… but as you will see below, there are some fantastic options for shelf-stable vegetables. These yummy and nutritious additions to your pantry will brighten up your plate. While I tend to cook with a lot of fresh and frozen vegetables when they are available, my pantry is always stocked with the below vegan pantry staple ingredients!
My BEST 5 Ingredient Marinara Sauce is made with vegan pantry staple ingredients, and uses San Marzano tomatoes for an amazing flavor and taste!
- Fullgreen Riced Veggies: OK, Fullgreen gets top spot on my list because are an awesome invention: shalf stable riced vegetables for those days when you need some extra green in your life! They have a fantastic texture and are great to use in place of rice. And are keto, low carb, and shelf-stable veggies you’ll actually want to eat.
- San Marzano Tomatoes (whole in basil): these are my “special occassion” tomatoes, for when I want a flavorful and sweet tomato for sauces and soups. I only use San Marzanos when I make my signature 5 Ingredient Marinara sauce... so yummy!
- Diced Tomatoes: I like these boxed tomatoes best, because they don’t have any BPA and last as long as canned varieties!
- Crushed Tomatoes: same as above, boxed crushed tomatoes are my go-to tomato
- Tomato Paste: a no salt added variety like this is always best
- Pumpkin Puree: no joke, I am so obsessed with pumpkin I eat it year round. I found that buying these bulk cans are awesome for when I want to cook a few pies for the freezer.
- Jars of roasted red peppers, packed in water
- Jars of marinated artichoke hearts, packed in oil
- Pickles: Kosher dill is where it’s at!
- Olives: I love adding kalamata olives to pastas, hummus, and salads. And when I’m buying black olives for a recipe, I always buy this tasty low sodium variety.
- Canned Beets: Because this is one vegetable that I like to eat canned rather than fresh! And Aunt Nellie’s Pickled Beets have been a life-long favorite of mine 🙂
Pantry Staple Spices
OK my list of spices could probably be about 100 items long, so I’ll narrow it down to my top 10 most-used spices. I’ll skip some of the basics and feaure fun spice blends that we love!
Pantry spices are great for adding to recipes like my Vegetable Demi-Glace, which uses bay leaves, garlic, thyme, and tellicherry peppercorns! Demi-glace is like a falvor bomb for your soups, and is the perfect addition to stews, sauces, and savory recipes.
- Herbes de Provance: this is my favorite and most used spiced blend! This is a wonderful savory French mix of arormatic herbs and spices. I use it in soups and for roasted vegetables.
- Montreal Steak Spice: another favorite blend that goes on everything! Fantastic on roasted potatoes, hash browns, or veggies. This version here has a little less sodium than others, so I’d start with this one if you are new to Montreal Steak Spice!
- Chili Powder
- Onion Powder
- Garlic Powder
- Mustard Powder: I like this classic Colman’s brand, excellent flavor
- Adobo Spice: a low sodium version like this one is great on fajitas and queso!
- Garam Masala: a classic spice for Indian curries and ayurvedic dinner recipes
- Low Sodium Boullion: this no sodium version is perfect for when you need a quick soup broth but don’t have any on hand
- Terricherry Pepper corns: the best flavor for freshly ground pepper!
Pantry Staple Grains and Rice
Rices and grains are the one area of the pantry where you can really buy in bulk! We normally buy rice in 20 lbs bags, and keep the rice in airtight containers for quick usage. Rices are great as a standalone meal (hello fried rice!), make a healthy and spicy side for Taco Tuesday, and go great with stews and curries. We use grains in the same way, I love adding quinoa or barley to a soup to thicken. Rices and grains can be nutrient-rich and healthy additions to any diet… plus are inexpensive vegan pantry staple ingredients that you can stock up on and buhy in bulk.
My Simple Lemon Quinoa salad is the pefect way to highlight your pantry staple grains! Mixed with some fresh herbs, veggies, and a bright vinaigrette, this summer salad is great for a crowd.
Pantry Staple Grains
- White Quinoa: a fantastic grain to buy in bulk – great for salads or soups.
- Red Quinoa: has a richer and more complex flavor than red quinoa, one of my absolute favorite salad grains!
- Cous Cous: Regular and pearled
- Barley: this barley is delicious and great to throw a handful into any soup.
One Pot Chickpea and Rice Soup is a great way to get those grains (and beans!) together in one healthy dish. A fantastic light lunch or dinner option, made from vegan pantry staple ingredients and a few fresh veggies!
Pantry Staple Rice
- Jasmine Rice: we buy this rice in bulk as it is perfect for stir fries, Thai curries, and crispy tofu!
- Basmati Rice: another favorite brand of ours is Royal: so great with roasted veggies or indian dishes like saag aloo!
- Sushi Rice: for when you are on a roll
- Arborio Rice: great for risottos and thickening soups and stews
- Wild Rice
- Brown Rice
Pantry Staple Pastas
I love mixing and matching my pastas with different sauces and soups that I make. I always make sure to have an assortment of fun pastas on hand to match any sauce I feel like having. White wheat, whole wheat, veggie pasta, rice pastas, and bean pastas all have their own place in my kitchen. Here is a good guide for what to have on hand- if possible, try to have one from each category.
My White Wine Pasta with Garlic & Herbs is a 20 minute pantry staple weeknight savior! A great meal when you want to get a little #fancy without spending all day in the kitchen.
- Short pastas: Macaroni, Ditalini, Orzo
- Medium pastas: Penne, Rotini (especially tricolored for pasta salads), Medium shells
- Long pastas: Bucatini, Fettuccini, Linguini, Spaghetti, Lasagna noodles
- Fun and unusual pasta shapes: Radiatori, Gnocchi, Rigatoni Cavatappi for a good time
- Thick Rice noodles for Pad Thai
- Thin Rice noodles for pho or my Mason Jar Ramen noodle soup recipe
- Udon noodles: a thick starchy noodle that is great for Asian inspired soups and stir frys
- Soba noodles: a thin buckwheat noodle, my go-to noodle for asian noodle salads
- Ramen: I cannot forget the classic pantry staple ramen noodle soup! A lot of ramen soups are vegan (like this Maruchan soy sauce flavor, YUM) or plant-based so these definitely should have a place in your pantry. I like to throw a little fresh chopped green onion or parsley in mine for extra flavor.
- Mac and Cheese: along with ramen, a classic pantry staple (and absoluely delicious treat)! There are some great vegan and plant-based macs out there on the market.
What About Canned Soups?
I left out canned soups on this list for a few reasons. First off, I don’t buy them. They are loaded with sodium and are generally not something I want to eat on a regular basis (ramen is the exception!). And second, when I want to make a big hearty pot of soup, I can do it with using plenty of pantry staples on this list. By adding beans, rices, pastas, vegetables, vegetable stock and spices, you can easily make your own soup instead of buying canned. I have some great soup recipes here on TheHerbeevore.com, so I’d recommend trying a few out instead of reaching for that canned soup.
Condiments and Sauces
Jazz up any recipe with the addition of a flavorful sauce or condiment. I’d say that just about every meal we eat comes with an accompanying condiment or sauce. They are great for any meal of the day, and add a bright and rich flavor to an otherwise plain dish. Kick up your pantry recipes wth some of these sauces and spices.
My recipe for Roasted Root Vegetables has a bright and fresh dressing which uses both whole grain mustard and capers (plus other pantry staples like maple syrup and olive oil!)
- Whole grain mustard: This Maille is my favorite mustard, I love the way the whole grains taste in salad dressings and on roasted vegetables!
- Relishes: I love this sweet relish on veggie dogs or veggie burgers, and it’s a great secret ingredient in a lot of my macaroni salad recipes too!
- Capers: a dressing favorite, goes great with roasted root vegetables to give them a sophistcated flavor
- Mayo: plant-based mayo has come a long way, there are so many amazing versions out there.
- Sriracha: We put this on everything!
- Nutritional Yeast: Great for “cheesy” flavor, we put nutritional yeat on pasta, popcorn, and in sauces.
- Gardinera: the perfect spicy Chicago condiment, great for veggie dogs and burgers, a great summer grill condiment!
These Loaded Vegan Nachos are a great way to use that last little bit of salsa in the jar!
- Nando’s Peri-Peri Sauces– I like this great 2 pack of flavors, this stuff is so good on protein!
- BBQ sauce: I like a naturally sweetened sauce, great for BBQ Tofu bowls 🙂
- Jarred Salsa: We only get the Green Mountain Gringo Salsa kind, its low in sodium and tastes really fresh!
- Soy Sauce: considering how much rice is on our list, you better believe that we go through a lot of soy sauce, I like the Kikkoman brand because it has a great classic flavor and is low sodium. Oh, and I buy it in bulk bottles to keep the cost down.
- Chili Sauce: this chili sauce is great for a little sweetness in stir fries!
Vinegar and Oils
A little goes a long way with vinegars and oils! I love adding a splash of balsamic to my Instant Pot Penne recipe or drizzling some olive oil over a hot bowl of soup. Vinegars and oils are a great addition to any recipe – giving your meal a little extra flavor. Here are a few acids and fats on the list that are always in my pantry!
My Dad’s Classic Coleslaw recipe (seriously the BEST I have ever had) uses one secret ingredient: white balsamic vinegar! That is one pantry vinegar I am always stocked up on.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Bragg’s is our go-to ACV, I love the taste and flavor of this brand.
- White Balsamic Vinegar – this may seem like a very specific addition to my pantry but it is my FAVORITE vinegar! It’s the secret to the perfect coleslaw or kidney bean salad. When I can find this on sale, I stock up! I usually buy Colavita.
- Rice Vinegar: both seasoned and unseasoned
- Red Wine Vinegar: this kind is paleo and gluten free!
- White vinegar: great for more than cooking! I add a splash to our cleaning liquids or when I am mopping the floor. And we use a lot of white vinegar for making a homemade poison ivy spray too. Also great for pickling, so I always keep a few gallons on hand.
This Rosemary Olive Oil Focaccia Bread recipe uses olive oil as one of the simple ingredients in this bread! I always keep olive oil and a few others in the cabinet for a quick dressing!
- Olive Oil: I usually buy the Terra Delyssa brand, has a great flavor!
- Sunflower Oil: our go-to oil for sauteing or baking! Sunflower is a high oleic oil, so its great for high tempratures.
- Peanut Oil: another high oleic oil, great for stir fries, frying, or cooking at a very high heat.
- Toasted Sesame Oil: this goes into every Asian dish that I make – it gives any recipe a hint of savory flavor. You only need a few drops at a time, but this is one delicious addition to my fried rices and homemade ramen soups.
- Coconut Oil: great for cooking, baking, or sauteeing. I also use this organic coconut oil outside the kitchen as a skin moisturizer. Its one of 2 ingredients in my Favorite Homemade Body Scrub!
Pantry Staple Nuts and Seeds
One of our favorite snacks! I love a handful of nuts in the afternoon when I am feeling a little hungry. Nuts are great to add to baked goods (brownies + walnuts are the best combo!), to savory meals (topping a homemade Pad Thai with some peanuts adds crunch), or great to turn into nut milks. The only caveat is that nuts have a slightly shorter shelf life than other ingredients on this list because of their high oil content. So make sure to store these in a cool dry place, or in the refrigerator.
My Cinnamon Toast Crunch-y Granola recipe has both peanuts and cashews for an awesome healthy addition to your breakfast bowl!
- Walnuts: I love this bulk bag from Amazon… such a great value for the amount you get. Perfect snack too! I grabbed a handful earlier today.
- Almonds: Also, a fantastic value bag from Amazon, yum! I only buy whole unsalted almonds so I can make my own almond milk if I want… or I can toast my own almonds with some cinnamon and spices for a quick treat!
- Peanuts and peanut butter
- Cashews: once again, raw unsalted cashews for the win! I use these cashews to make cashew cream to add some richness to vegan dishes and make them creamy.
- Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Pepitas
- Trail Mixes
- Chia Seeds: a great addition to smoothies or snacks!
- Ground Flaxseeds: I use these ground flaxseeds in so many baked goods, and throw a spoonful in smoothies. Flaxseeds are supposed to help lower blood pressure too! They are a staple in our cabinet year-round.
Pantry Staple Drinks & Beverages
There are a lot of great beverages and drink options to keep in a dry pantry! Coffee, teas, juices, and almond milk all have delicious shelf-stable options. And I’m adding wine to this list too because I love cooking with wine (and I even use some in my recipes too, ha). Below are some great options that we always have on hand in our pantries and cupboards.
My Homemade Chocolate Oat Milk recipe is made entirely with pantry staple products: oats, cacao powder, water, cinnamon, and maple sryup!
- Shelf Stable Almond Milk: such an awesome product! You can get 6 quarts of shelf stable almond milk that will last you for over a year. We have this almond milk in our fridge now 🙂
- Coconut Milk Powder: OK, I aleady covered canned coconut milk in my baking section, but you can also get powdered coconut milk (mind blown)! which is so great for soups, smoothies, or curries! A great value and alternative to canned.
- Teas: I like a lot of different teas, but a few favorites are Teapigs Chamomile, Blueberry Green Tea, and especially Vahdam’s Turmeric Ginger tea, mmmmm 🙂
- Coffee: Foursigmatic’s coffee blends have been a personal favorite lately. We also roast our own beans, so we do buy a lot of green coffee too!
- Hot Cocoa: nothing better for a cold evening.
- Wine: White, Red, Sparkling… some for cooking, but mostly drinking!
- Juices: lemon juice, lime juice, and apple cider
- Gatorade Powder: this is such a fantastic electrolyte replacer for long work days on the homestead. Personally I am team Lemon Lime and Glacer Freeze. One can of the powder can last us for months, and tastes just as good (if not better) than the bottled stuff. Powder is the best value for Gatorade!
(Bonus Life hack: Lemon Lime Gatorade secrely makes the best margaritas! Which leads me to….)
- Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritavilla Singles: not even going to lie, these are great for a quick marg or daquir! I bought this variety pack here, and these make a great mixer anytime. It’s 5 o clock somethere 🙂
A sneak peak into our pantry! Full of tons of amazing vegan pantry staple ingredients.
Bonus Kitchen Products I Use to Stay Orgnanized!
- Ball Mason Jars, all sizes! Wide Mouth preferred!
- Airtight Dry Food Storage: We have a few sets of these airtight BPA free storage containers for dried pastas, rices, and beans.
- Anchor Batter Bowls: I also have a few of these amazing batter bowls, perfect for storing my sourdough starter! Or any batch soups I’ve cooked.
- Meal Prep Containers: I have a set of these great meal prep containers, which are spill proof, for taking salads or sandwiches on the go.
Anything I missed? What are your favorite vegan pantry staple ingredients? Let me know in the comments below.
Get Some of these Vegan Pantry Staple Recipes!
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