10 Vegetarian & Vegan Pantry Staples

vegan pantry staples

When we wanted to create a list of vegetarian and vegan pantry staples recently, we knew just the group to ask!

If you’ve listened to our podcast or followed us for any length of time, you’ve probably heard us talk about our amazing friends in our closed Facebook Group, The Peas and Carrots Society. They’re friendly and helpful, and collectively possess a WEALTH of knowledge.

You can listen to us discuss their pantry essentials recommendations here…

…or read on for a quick summary of what we discuss.

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10 Plant-Based Pantry Essentials

brown wooden spoon with red and brown beans


  1. Legumes

We’ll start with legumes because they are SUPER healthy, and especially good for plant-based folks like us because they pack a lot of protein without all of the saturated fat that comes from meat.

They’re also packed with fiber which, of course, is also really good for you.

Some foods that fall into the legume category are:


The Peas and Carrots say:

Canned beans, especially chickpeas. I like to cook chickpeas once a week but so easy to have a can or two on hand to fill out a salad or mash up with celery pickles and onions for a “tuna” sandwich. Red Lentils cook up so fast and are delicious especially with Indian seasonings. 

several pasta strips


  1. Pasta

Pasta is such a versatile ingredient…and with so many types available these days, the possibilities for pasta-based meals are practically endless. Toss cooked pasta into a cold salad for a filling lunch or serve it hot with vegan sauce for a satisfying dinner. 

Our favorites include rice noodles, soba noodles, and plain ol’ spaghetti.

While most pasta is vegan, some types (like egg noodles) are not, so check the label before you buy.


  1. Grains 

We always have a good variety of grains in our pantry.  One we love to keep around is quinoa.

Back in episode 342, we talked about basic quinoa cooking techniques and shared some recipes that feature quinoa. Click the link to check it out in case you missed it! 

We also always have oats and rice handy. I love to have steel-cut oats for breakfast, and sometimes add Blackstrap Molasses Oatmeal. 


blackstrap molasses


The Peas and Carrots recommend keeping a box of instant oatmeal in your vegan pantry for a quick healthy snack. Back in my corporate days, when I was on the go running from meeting to meeting, my go-to instant oatmeal was Earnest Eats. Just add hot water and enjoy!



  1. Nuts and Seeds

Like legumes, nuts and seeds are also great sources of protein and fiber.

While I’d always been a fan of pistachios, walnuts, pecans, cashews, and Brazil nuts, it wasn’t until I became a vegetarian that I discovered how delicious (and nutritious) seeds can be.

I now enjoy pumpkin, flax, hemp, and chia seeds regularly. It’s so easy to throw a few chia seeds or some flaxseed meal into a smoothie for an extra protein boost. 


The Peas and Carrots say:

Nuts, nut butters, and 70-80% cacao chocolate bars make great snacks!  

  1. Dried Fruits

Dried fruits are very versatile and can add natural sweetness to your meals. They also make delicious snacks all on their own.


person holding orange fruit in shallow focus lens


I like to throw a handful of raisins or chopped dried apricots in my morning oatmeal.  I also sometimes give my smoothies a “tropical taste” by adding shredded dried coconut. Dried fruit is widely available in grocery stores, but you can also make your own. 


  1. Potatoes

Potatoes sometimes get a bad rap (you know…carbs), but they are actually really good for you– especially if you eat the skin, which is a good fiber source. Back in episode 301, we talked about 5 benefits of potatoes.


potatoes on a coach


Potatoes are VERY versatile and can be used in just about any meal to add some B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc.


  1. Condiments and Spices

Vegan pantry staples also include a variety of spices and seasonings.

We discuss many of these in our podcast on spices, but Peas and Carrots members also chimed in with some of their favorites:


  1. A Good Protein Powder

I like having a good protein powder on hand. A smoothie made with protein powder can be the perfect afternoon pick-me-up.  In the past I enjoyed Vega protein powders. My current favorite is Nuzest. I keep a big tub handy and use it at least 3 times a week.

One of my favorite snacks is a smoothie made with spinach, banana, blueberries, chia seeds, turmeric, soy milk, and Nuzest powder, whirled with a few ice cubes in our Vitamix blender. I’ll make a quart and stick it in the refrigerator to have throughout the day.

Protein powder is a valuable vegan pantry staple because it can be used for more than just a smoothie ingredient. Check out these recipes from Nuzest for more healthy and delicious ways to use protein powder.

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Whichever protein powder you use, be sure to read the label. Some contain whey, which is a dairy ingredient.  Remember, the fewer ingredients, the better! 


  1. Miscellaneous Canned Goods

A well-stocked vegan pantry contains a good variety of canned goods. Canned foods are convenient ingredients for quick meals, and are essential during emergency situations. 

We always have the following canned goods on hand. 

      • Enchilada Sauce
      • Pasta Sauce (check the label! Some have whey)
      • Salsa
      • Applesauce (link to our egg replacer article)
      • Tomato sauce
      • Tomatoes (diced, stewed, paste)


Again be sure to check labels. Some canned foods may contain whey or other animal-derived ingredients you wouldn’t expect.


  1. Guilty Pleasures

Some might argue that some of the foods we’re about to mention aren’t exactly vegan pantry staples. We do enjoy having a few treats on occasion, though…who doesn’t?

In episode 286, “Are Fritos Vegan and other Surprisingly Vegan Foods”, we talked about several other vegan guilty pleasures:


Popcorn also makes for a healthy snack. Sometimes, if we eat late, we get hungry before we’re ready for bed. We’d rather not snack on something heavy or sugary, so Larissa will make us some air-popped popcorn. Ruthie (our dog) always gets the first piece!

I like to sprinkle Nooch and chili powder on mine (if it’s not too late in the evening that is).


We hope this post has provided you with a good list of ideas for stocking up on vegan pantry staples.  Having a well-stocked pantry can help you stick to your nutrition goals AND save you money!


Thanks for listening!

Peace and Veggies,
Vickie and Larissa


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