If you plan to cook regularly at home, it helps to have a well stocked pantry. A well stocked Vegetarian pantry, in my mind does not need to vary all that much from a non-vegetarian one. Having ingredients to throw together a fast and easy meal are becoming more necessary.

We are all busy people and sometimes we can be just plain lazy, but whether you are vegetarian/vegan, health conscious or thrifty, or any combination of the three you should consider meal planning.

Below I have created a list of what I try to keep on hand that has helped me through the years. Keep in mind, I love to bake as well as cook, therefore if you do not have an interest in baking you can skip the flours and sugars and such. Most of the things I will list are vegan friendly, any items containing milks, eggs or honey will have an Astrix to indicate it’s not suitable for vegans.

Dry Goods

  • organic red lentils
  • assortment of enriched pastas
  • basmati and jasmine rice
  • flours (white and whole wheat)
  • wheat germ (add to granola, breads and dog treats)
  • flax and sesame seeds
  • organic oats
  • cereals (instant oatmeal, bran flakes, rice puffs, cream of wheat)
  • organic quinoa, couscous, bulgar (for cold salads, thickener for soup/stews)
  • coarsely ground cornmeal (use for polenta, baking or grits)
  • sugars (demura for coffee and tea, white/brown/powdered for baking)
  • textured vegetable protein (comes in many forms choose what best suits you)
  • yeast and nutritional yeast (nutritional yeast aka nooch is good for making vegan items taste cheesy)
  • low sodium vegetable broth (bouillon cubes/packets and tetra packs)
  • cornstarch
  • assorted teas
  • vital wheat gluten (mostly for making seitan or veggie sausages)
  • popcorn and tortilla chips
  • sweet cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, cardamon, allspice
  • savory thyme, rosemary, basil, tarragon, summer savory, mint, herbs de Provence, garlic & onion salt/powder, parsley
  • spicy cayenne, chile powder, cumin, chili flakes
  • seeds fennel, cumin and mustard seed, saffron, bay leaves
  • smokey (earthy) paprika and/or smoked paprika, coriander, turmeric
  • staples whole peppercorns and sea salt
  • extracts (vanilla, peppermint, maple and almond are handy if you bake)
  • exotics garam masala, Chinese 5-spice, jerk (all similar and can usually be substituted for each other)
Canned Goods
  • plum tomatoes
  • tomato paste
  • chickpeas, black beans, red and white kidney beans (red for chilies and white ones are good for dips, broth based soups or thickening into a puree)
  • coconut milk (for curries and as a dairy substitute)
  • prepared salsa and pasta sauce
  • artichoke hearts (pizza, pasta, dips – can be packed in oil, canned or frozen)
  • olives
  • chipotle peppers (for adding spicy, smoky flavor to sauces, dips and chili)
  • tofu (extra firm/firm for most dishes, silken for desserts)
  • tempeh
  • fruits and vegetables
  • ginger root, spicy peppers, onions and garlic
  • butter* or vegan margarine (I recommend Earth Balance)
  • soy, rice or almond milk (soy and almond are better for consumption as is, but rice milk is good for vegan baking)
  • free run eggs*
  • rennet and lipase free cheeses*
  • pickles
  • coffee
  • wholegrain breads including tortillas, pitas, and bagels*
 Condiments/ Oils
  • nut butters (peanut and almond are my favorite)
  • tahini (ground sesame seed butter, good for making sauces and hummus)
  • honey* or agave nectar
  • jams (read the label to ensure there is no gelatin)
  • olive, vegetable and sesame oil
  • curry spice paste and chutney for Indian cooking
  • salsa
  • hot sauce
  • assorted salad dressings*
  • mustards (I like both grainy and dijon)
  • mayonaise* or veganaise
  • maple syrup
  • berries (smoothies, pancakes or topping for granola, oatmeal or ice cream)
  • frozen veggies (corn is a good one to have)
  • quick meals like veggie pizzas or frozen fresh pasta
  • juices
  • wholegrain breads

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