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The Smart Shopper: A Beginner Vegan’s Pantry List for Winter


Want to know the secret to saving money and staying healthy and happy all winter long?

Hint: it involves your pantry!

Stocking your home with pantry essentials prevents impulse buying and ordering-in, eating unbalanced meals and running out of ingredients for dinner. Keeping key items on hand, like spices, rice, beans and dried noodles, means you’re always only a few short steps away from a great vegan meal.

It can be difficult though for new vegans to know what an “essential” pantry item is. Remember for both money and spaces purposes, you don’t need a full pantry to have an efficient one. Choose some of the items listed below to stock your pantry with that can be used in a variety of ways. The important thing is not to buy things that you don’t need or might not use. For example, if there’s zero chance of you cooking and eating the item this winter, don’t buy it. Buy what you need and use it up for pantry efficiency and meal (and budget) satisfaction. 

1. Dried Goods


Dried fruits are great to help you round out a variety of dishes, and they provide high amounts of potassium and other minerals. Here are some to use to make raw treats and snacks, granola bars, to top cereal, or mixed into trail mix:

Apple Rings
Shredded Unsweetened Coconut

2. Canned or Boxed Goods

Many boxed and canned goods may not seem like the healthiest choice, but many are actually organic and GMO-free, and some are also BPA-free and allergen-free. These will help you round out your meals and cost pennies per serving. Stock up on some of these:

BPA free canned organic tomatoes to make soups, stews, and even sauces
Nut or seed milk to use in cereal, smoothies, sauces, and a variety of non-dairy dishes
-Dried or BPA-free canned soups to use for quick meals, or additions to other entrees like stews, fajitas, entrees, etc.
Dried cereals to use for quick morning meals, to add to vegan yogurt, mix into trail mix, or just use as a quick snack. Be sure to go for GMO-free and organic, lower sugar brands whenever possible to avoid dangerous ingredients like genetically modified corn and soy, pesticides, and chemicals.

Remember, for optimal health add something fresh into every meal you make this winter. Greens, veggies, nuts, seeds, all make excellent additions.

3. Grains, Pastas, etc.

Wild-rice-pilaf-with-butternut-squash-cranberries-and-pecans-1200x800 (1)

Use these to make a variety of dishes such as entrees, stuffings, breakfast dishes, and lunch options:

Quinoa to make Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers
Oats to make Coconut Overnight Oatmeal
-Organic whole wheat to gluten-free noodles

Keep these complex carbohydrates in stock to make healthy, plant-based, filling meals in a pinch!

4. Beans and Legumes

Beans and legumes are incredibly dense sources of potassium, protein, and fiber. They’ll help keep you full and give your meals a tasty, hearty texture. Use beans and legumes in your soups and stews too, or in entrees, wraps, ethnic dishes, or in vegan tacos. Here are some of my favorites:

Red Beans
Black Beans
Navy Beans
Pinto Beans

5. Superfoods



Superfoods make life more interesting, healthy, and take your recipes to new levels. You can use them in smoothies, raw treats and snacks, or even everyday dishes. Here are some of the ones richest in vitamins and minerals that are easy to keep in your pantry:

Hemp hearts
Ground flax
Chia seeds

Check out our guide to finding superfoods, even if you’re on a budget!

6. Spices


You can use spices in any way, shape, or form to create delicious meals of any kind. They make things tastier, and also bring extra nutrition since many are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. These are some of the most healthy and affordable ingredients to use in all your meals:

Onion Powder
Celery Seed
Garlic Powder
Curries: yellow, green, red

The list of awesome, nutritious spices goes on and on. Don’t limit yourself to this list exclusively – get creative and spice things up!

7. Nuts


Nuts and seeds are packed with vitamins, minerals, protein, and antioxidants. They can be used to make nut butters, sauces, granola bars, or just use them as snacks and toppings. Buy these from the bulk bin to save money, and be sure to store them in the fridge so they don’t spoil:


Again, don’t stop with this list. Why not add some pine nuts or macadamia nuts into the mix, too?

It seems simple, right? Keep great vegan foods in your pantry and you’ll eat great vegan goods all winter long. Enjoy!

BONUS Recommendation: Download the Food Monster App

baked samosa flautas

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Lead Image Source: How to Make Homemade Peanut Butter 

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9 comments on “The Smart Shopper: A Beginner Vegan’s Pantry List for Winter”

Click to add comment
Shauna Elizabeth
1 Years Ago

Marc Fulton

Hanna Jane Soheili
1 Years Ago

Makayla Thomson

Ingrid M. Gonzalez-Castillo
1 Years Ago

Thanks for this!

Sylvia Hart
1 Years Ago

Jorgina Denyer Colyn

Jan Cox
3 Years Ago

I read somewhere that peanuts are seeds.....

Mathew Barbosa
3 Years Ago

Nice list but why do the noodles have to be gluten free? Being "gluten free" doesn't make it healthier. Not all vegans or vegetarians are gluten sensitive. The gluten-free craze is ridiculous--there is small percentage of people who are truly do have a gluten sensitivity but certainly not the massive amounts of people who think they have it. If you choose to eat gluten free for other reasons, that's awesome for you. But if you have been tricked by other people into thinking you have to eat gluten free to be healthy, please do some research so you don't have to spend extra money on gluten-free products.

Anna O'Leary
3 Years Ago

Winter! I live in Australia and we always have a 'white' christmas...a white hot one haha....is 36C here atm (96F)

Barb Overton
3 Years Ago

If you have concerns about cinnamon and the liver, stick to the more expensive Ceylon cinnamon and avoid the cheaper Cassia cinnamon. It is the coumarin that can cause a problem if it is in large amounts and the person is very sensitive to it. Cassia cinnamon has 63 times the amount of coumarin. I buy only Ceylon cinnamon, because I can taste the difference although most people can't. I can also taste the difference between real and artificial vanilla, so I buy real vanilla. Try a bulk food store, or a health food store, and make sure of country of origin. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/260430.php

Andrea Serenity Marcotte
3 Years Ago

Peanuts are legumes according to paleo diet

Celine Tan
3 Years Ago

May i know that cinnamon could destroy liver

Arife Ilter
13 Dec 2014

19 Herbs and Honey for Liver Disease http://www.healthwantcare.com/liver-disease-2/

Celine Tan
13 Dec 2014

Cinammon could destroy liver

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