Starting a plant based diet can be very intimidating! But in fact it is very easy once you have the necessary basics. Here is a list of vegan pantry staples that you can buy for quite cheaply to make simple vegan meals. By stocking up on dry goods, you can also make delicious meals even if your fresh food is running low!
Following a vegan diet should not be a function of time, income or skill level. In fact many people want to eat vegan but simply do not know how to start! Hopefully this starter guide can help you start (or continue) your plant-based lifestyle in the cheapest, easiest and most efficient way!
I like to buy the majority of these ingredients in a bulk food store, this makes it significantly cheaper, though the ingredients might sound fancy. For specialty ingredients, they can be found in most health food stores and some grocery stores. I have also included Amazon links, which are sometimes quite cheaper. I often do a big Amazon order of more rare ingredients to reduce the shipping costs!
Whole or quick oats – for baking, oat flour
Steel-cut oats – oatmeal (I like the instant steel cut oats)
Lentil Pasta – found at bulk food stores, favourite brand is also linked
Soba Noodles – (Japanese Buckwheat noodles), found in grocery stores, brand is linked
Try: Amarmath, Millet, Teff for more diverse grains
Beans & Legumes
Chickpeas (canned or dried)
White Kidney Beans
Green Lentils – for soups, stews, bowls & salads (I prefer dried)
Red Lentils – for curries and flour
I don’t have all of these at all times, but try to pick some up when shopping to have on hand. Here are common ones you will see used on the blog. I try to use whole grain flours.
Oat Flour – Usually make a big batch myself by blending oats
Brown Rice Flour
Arrowroot Starch – used for thickening
Psyllium Husk – Used as a binder in bread recipes
I use these for making milks and cheeses, plant-based sauces, baking and topping salads and bowls.
All-Natural Peanut Butter – duh
Cashew Butter (As a special treat)
Tahini – Used in hummus, sauces and dressings
Coconut Butter – Used to make icing, baking, or on toast
Oils and Vinegars
Avocado Oil – These are both oils with high smoke points, making them healthier to use in cooking and baking than other vegetable oils
Apple Cider Vinegar
Coconut Aminos – A healthy alternative to soy sauce made with less sodium and only 1-ingredient!
See: Tofu Poké Bowl
Nutritional Yeast – Used to create a cheesey flavour (I top everything with it).
See: Cashew cheese or Easy Vegan Pesto
Dates (Medjool and regular)
Shredded Coconut – Used in baking and granola
Raw Cacao Powder (or cocoa powder) – Try Peanut butter balls, Peppermint Bark, or 4-Ingredient Chocolate
Dried Figs – Not necessary, but I love them; see Chai Fig Granola
A note on superfoods: Despite what you might see on Instagram, you do not need these to follow a plant-based diet! They are simply extras you can use to enhance your diet. Do not feel like you have to spend lots of money of fancy powders and “superfoods” just to be a vegan! Just keep calm and eat your veggies 🙂 I think of them as the equivalent to buying vitamins or supplements.
These are the few “superfoods” I invest in but feel free to do your own research and try some on your own. I find chia and hemp to be quite inexpensive when bought in bulk and a great way to add extra protein and healthy fats to my morning smoothies! I add acai to smoothies and bowls (because it is delicious, especially with berries), spirilina when I’m feeling extra healthy or maca when I want something extra decadent.
Majority of my food is made with your average joe kitchen equipment. However I do have a few staples (which are quite inexpensive) that I cannot live without!
Spiralizer – Used to make veggie noodles such as zoodles, carrot noodles and cucumber noodles! You can get fancy ones which do all vegetables, but I find this one does the trick and they are usually <$10.
Nut Milk Bag – To make homemade nut milk (also a great fine strainer)
Vitamix – Not inexpensive, but investing in a high-power blender seriously makes all the difference!
Reusable Straws – Save the oceans! A super easy way to reduce plastic I keep some at home, work and in my bag so I never have to get a plastic straw.
Reusable Produce Bags– Another easy way to reduce plastic, and a great way to store fruits and veg in the fridge.
You do not have to be a zero-waster that makes their own shampoo and keeps a mason jar of trash to help the environment (although props to those that do, that is amazing)! By making little changes in our daily routines, such as the ones above we can all make a difference!