Maintaining a plant-based diet can take a bit more planning than a standard diet since what we can eat is limited. Personally, I know that I have to be on my game if I want to eat healthy and vegan. What keeps my head in the game is a stocked pantry!

One rule I have for myself on this lifestyle is that I always need to have some foods that can easily be stored on the shelf or tucked away in my purse. Here are 10 items to help you get started to build a healthy vegan pantry.

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1. Whole Grains

Having a few different whole grains in your pantry can give you a boost in creating countless vegan dishes. Choose barley, millet, brown rice, amaranth, oats, rye, spelt or teff – the list goes on. Use amaranth for this Easy Veggie Pot Pie and barley for Barley Risotto with Fava Beans, Corn and Mushrooms.

Barley Risotto

2. Flour

Make healthy baked goods and breads with flour like whole wheat and chickpea flour. Use chickpea flour for these Herbed Chickpea and Sesame Crackers and Chickpea Fries.

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Chickpea Fries

3. Raw Cashews

You can use raw cashews to make cashew cream, which you can use in countless recipes such as Zucchini Fritters with Lemon Basil Cashew Cream or Raw Carrot Cake with Cashew Cream Cheese.

Cashew-Cream

4. Quinoa

Quinoa is a rich protein source and the dry grain cooks similar to rice. One cup of quinoa has 8 grams of protein. It is considered a super food, containing several essential vitamins and minerals such as manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, folate, and copper. You can use it for breakfast in porridge, bake it in cookies, or mix it in salads and sushi.

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QuinoaRoastedVeg2

5. Dry Legumes

From black beans and kidney beans to green peas and lentils, the world of legumes is vast and colorful. You can buy dry legumes in bulk and have them in you pantry, on hand to be used as a staple in countless vegan dishes. Try Red Lentil Burgers with Kale Pesto and Simple Lentil Dal.

Vegan-Red-Lentil-Burgers

6. Nutritional Yeast

This product looks like little golden flakes and is known as “nooch.” It gives you a boost of vitamin B12 and a burst of cheesy flavor and texture. Try sprinkling this stuff atop anything you’d eat with cheese, like pasta, popcorn, pizza, or on casseroles. Use it in this cheesy vegan mac n’ yeast.

Cheesy Vegan Mac n' Yeast

7. Dried Fruit

Instead of keeping vegan junk food in the pantry, satisfy your sweet tooth with dried fruit instead. You can also make delicious trail mixes with it.

Quinoa Date Nut Truffles

8. Cold Pressed Olive Oil

Make sure your oil is cold pressed, and be sure to keep a bottle on hand for frying veggies, tempeh and making dressings.

TOMATO CUCUMBER SANDWICH on ONION & CORN BREAD with OLIVE & KALE TAPENADE

9. Fruit and Nut Bars

Sometimes, you have to rely on quick, on-the-go sources of protein, which is why fruit and nut bars are so convenient. Always keep a box on hand in the pantry to throw in your purse or gym bag. There are dozens of varieties on the market and can easily be found at most grocery stores, gas stations and bodegas. Whenever possible, by these bars in organic variations to avoid any nasty variations, and be sure to check the sugar count on every bar you buy.

Raw-Vegan-Almond-Fig-Bars

10. Seeds

Chia and flaxseeds are great to have on hand to throw into smoothies, while sunflower seeds are excellent to throw atop smoothies. Seeds have several used for a vegan diet, and they will help full you up for a quick snack, too. Try these Raw Hemp Chia Seed Bars.

No-Bake-Superfood-Energy-Bars

Image source: No Meat Bare Feet / Creative Commons