What to stock your plant-based pantry with (vegan approved!)

Mar 15, 2020 | by Hawnuh Lee

Times are strange my friends. That’s why we need to be prepared with a fully stocked plant-based and vegan friendly pantry! Having kitchen staples on hand is great year-round whether you’re socially distancing yourself or having friends over unexpectedly. Simple pantry staples can help you be prepared any time of the year and give you a solid foundation to create wonderful plant-based and vegan dishes with. You can stock up at your local bulk bins for most of this list. Make sure to bring your reusable bags and containers whenever possible! Pantry staples will keep you cooking throughout the seasons!

red lentils

This is my preferred list of plant-based and vegan staples that I’ve experimented with over the last few years. Each of these items I have on hand in some form or another to use on its own or in one of my favorite, rotating recipes. Feel free to build out your pantry specific to your preferences and what you think you’ll get the most use out of. Things like olive oil, kosher salt, and apple cider vinegar are always present in my kitchen but I can alternate between quinoa, brown rice or pasta depending on what’s available and least expensive. Your pantry is the key to practicing low waste, improvisational cooking. You can easily use up what you have on hand and learn to make the most of the ingredients. By learning how to use what you have in your pantry you improve your cooking skills and technical kitchen prowess. Plus one pal! Kitchen wizardry.

  • Lentils – red, green, yellow (Lentils are a great plant-based protein source that don’t require additional soaking time. I prefer red lentils and use them liberally.)
  • Dried beans – black beans, chickpeas (Usually require 8 ish hours of soaking time with a bit of salt and baking soda to cook with. Dried beans will last a while in your pantry.)
  • Grains – quinoa, farro, brown rice, pasta (Great to have a mix of quick cooking and longer cooking grains.)
  • Oils – olive, coconut, grapeseed, vegetable (Olive oil is a neutral must have for most of my plant-based cooking.)
  • Vinegars – white, red wine, balsamic, apple cider vinegar (Always easy to make your own!)
  • Kosher salt (Doesn’t hurt to have flake salt as well but for most cooking kosher salt is a necessity.)
  • Vegetable stock – bouillon, bouillon base, scrap stock (You can use stock in soups, stews, grain dishes, braising, it’s always great to have at the ready.)
  • Alternative sweeteners – maple syrup, local honey, molasses (You never know when that baking mood with strike!)
  • Spices – turmeric, black pepper, rosemary, nutritional yeast (Stick with your favorites but add in a few unexpected flavors to keep things interesting.)
  • Flours – all purpose, spelt, oat, coconut (A mix is great, I usually have all purpose and spelt and use them up on a regular basis.)
  • Baking soda + baking powder (Waffles, anyone?)
  • Yeast (For making cast iron skillet bread. I prefer the glass jar variety of active dry yeast.)
  • Rolled oats (For making package free granola bars and squash seed granola and other general baking purposes.)
  • Nuts + seeds – sunflower seeds, flax seed, almonds, hemp seeds (For making package-free 5 minute hemp milk, also great for granola add-ins, baking, stir fries, and other dinner fixin’s.)
  • Nut butter or nuts to roast and blend (Great for making sunflower seed butter.)
  • Popcorn (A low waste, package free snack is a must to have on hand. Cook up with some olive oil and loads of nutritional yeast.)
  • Dried fruit – raisins, shredded coconut, apple chips (Another good package free snack you can pack on the go.)
  • Loose leaf tea (I’m always reaching for herbal tea throughout the day or when company is over.)
  • Tinned tomatoes (A solid go-to for soups, curries, pasta, anything that needs an acidic hit.)
  • Tinned coconut milk (You can always find a good use for coconut milk, sweet or savory. Like this apple spelt cake with whipped coconut cream!)

Plant-based, low waste pantry staples to keep you cooking at all times. You’ll make it without that last minute trip to the grocery store when you’ve got a mix of goods on hand. What are y’all cooking with your staple ingredients? #closedloopcooking

Stay hungry,
Hawnuh Lee
Closed Loop Cooking

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