When it comes to dietary preferences, whether you’re trying to eat more vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, raw, or paleo, there are several things you can do to make the whole cooking process easier. While a refrigerator with fresh fruits and veggies is pretty much the basis of any diet (should be, at least) it’s also important to keep your pantry stocked with basic staples. A well-stocked pantry will give you more options for cooking nutritious and delicious meals even when the fridge is looking rather empty. Pantries should be filled with ingredients of dishes you can see yourself making over and over again. There’s no reason to fill a pantry with stuff that you never use.
Instead, you should compile a list of shelf-stable items that are nutritious, versatile, easy-to-cook, and of course, tasty! For people trying to eat more gluten-free and vegan, the list is a bit more specific, like always having gluten-free and dairy-free snacks, flour bread, condiments, grains, baking essentials … the list goes on. Here are 15 gluten-free and vegan items we think you should always have in your pantry!
Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
Enter any bakery or cafe in the morning, and you will likely feel like all of your choices have gluten. Between the muffins, scones, bagels, and pastries, it can certainly feel that way. If you need an option that is gluten-free but is as hearty as these options, consider checking out Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Old Fashioned Rolled Oats. This product does not have any added sugars or preservatives, it is simply made from whole grain oats. Each 1/2 cup serving is 190 calories and provides seven grams of protein, five grams of fiber, and 15 percent of your daily iron. Reviewers are sharing that these oats are delicious, safe for people with celiac since it is produced on wheat-free machinery, and even works in making oatmeal cookies. To try this product out yourself, you can get one 32-ounce bag for $6.
Pacific Natural Foods Low-Sodium Vegetable Broth
Vegetable broth may seem like an innately gluten-free product, but it is actually one of those products where hidden gluten can exist. This is because certain ingredients are derived from grains like caramel color or malt. Your best bet is to stick to a brand that outright labels their broth as gluten-free. Pacific Natural Foods Low-Sodium Vegetable Broth, for example, is a corn-free, dairy-free and gluten-free broth. It is made from filtered water and the following organic ingredients: carrots, tomatoes, celery, onions, garlic, leeks, sea salt, bay leaves, parsley, and thyme. Reviewers are saying that this broth is tasty, is a much more convenient alternative to making broth from scratch, and is healthy, especially since it does not contain MSG or other undesirable ingredients like others do.
Chebe All-Purpose Gluten-Free Bread Mix
Finding a tasty and good quality gluten-free bread is pretty much one of the main goals of a gluten-free eater. If you haven’t found a favorite product yet, consider making your own with Chebe All-Purpose Gluten-Free Bread Mix. This product is soy-free, egg-free, sugar-free, and non-GMO. It is made from tapioca flour and starch, cream of tartar, iodine-free sea salt, and sodium bicarbonate. Reviewers are saying that this mix is good quality, easy-to-use, and does not require a lot of additional ingredients (egg replacer, oil, non-dairy milk). Some do feel that the sodium content is a bit high, though. If you’d still like to try it out, you can get a pack of eight 7.5-ounce bags for about $27.
Eden Foods Organic Tamari Sauce
Want the delicious flavor of soy sauce but don’t necessarily want the wheat? Consider checking out Eden Foods Tamari Soy Sauce. This gluten-free and wheat-free sauce is made from water, whole organic soybeans, organic grain alcohol (to preserve freshness), and Koji, an edible fungus often used in Asian cuisines for fermentation. Reviewers are reporting that this product is a healthier alternative to store-bought soy sauces, is great quality, and has a nice full flavor. You can get one 20-ounce bottle for $15.
Ancient Harvest Organic Quinoa
While rice, potatoes, and corn are naturally gluten-free, if you’re looking for a side dish that packs a bit more of a nutritional punch, check out Ancient Harvest Organic Quinoa. This product is gluten-free, wheat-free, organic, and kosher. Each 1/4 cup serving is 172 calories and provides six grams of protein, three grams of fiber, and 50 percent of your daily riboflavin (vitamin B2). Reviewers are saying that this quinoa is very healthy, is convenient (especially because it comes pre-washed), and is great for people looking for an alternative to brown rice (since it has more amino acids than rice and a lower glycemic index). If you’d like to try it for yourself, you can get a pack of 12, 12-ounce packages for about $75.
Yes, cornstarch is naturally gluten-free, but did you know that a lot of gluten-free baking recipes require cornstarch? That’s why keeping a tub of cornstarch in the pantry is a great idea, and you can usually find this kind of product for cheaper online. A 36-ounce tub of Argo Cornstarch, for instance, is sold on Amazon for around $10, a price reviewers are saying is very economical, good for the amount of product that you receive, and cheaper than what you’ll find at supermarkets.
Ian's Gluten-Free Panko Bread Crumbs
Breads crumbs are great for livening up dishes. Whether you’re crusting onion rings, breading seitan cutlets, or battering soy chicken tenders, eating gluten-free doesn’t mean you can’t add a delicious layer of crispy breadcrumbs to whatever you’re cooking. Ian’s Gluten-Free Panko Bread Crumbs is made with rice flour, xanthan gum, salt, leavening (sodium bicarbonate, gluconolactone) canola oil, sugar, yeast, and ascorbic acid. Reviewers are saying that these bread crumbs are good quality, is great for adding bulk to (veggie) meatballs and loaves, have the “same mouthfeel” as regular bread crumbs, and even brown in the oven like traditional crumbs. To try these out, you can get a pack of eight seven-ounce packages for about $55.
Pro-Teen Chickpea Crunch Cereal
Putting protein inside of cereal is not exactly a new idea, but have you ever seen cereal made from chickpeas? Freedom Foods Pro-Teen Crunch Cereal is made from chickpea flour, a protein-dense flour that has become popular, as of late. The flour creates a cereal that is fluffy and airy texture, packs a generous amount of protein (10 grams for two cups), and is free of nuts, gluten, wheat, dairy, and artificial flavor. Reviewers are reporting that this cereal is crunchy (and remains crunchy even with milk), tastes great (“even for a gluten-free” cereal), and is sweet, but not overly so. You can get one 10.6-ounce for a little under $5.
Gluten-Free Mama Mama's All-Purpose Almond Blend
Considering almond flour is used as an alternative in many gluten-free circles, it’s no surprise that many gluten-free brands will make a point to include this versatile flour in their product line. Gluten-Free Mama Mama’s All-Purpose Almond Blend is easy to spot for gluten-free consumers, and is actually made with a blend of gluten-free flours. Specifically, this blend is made with white rice flour, tapioca flour, potato starch, almond meal flour, and sweet rice flour. This bag contains 32 two-ounce servings, and each serving is 210 calories and provides two grams of protein. Reviewers are saying that this almond blend has a nice variety of flours (especially the sweet rice flour which apparently helps baked goods not crumble), does not contain unnecessary sugar like some other gluten-free flour blends do, and does not require any measurement adjusting. One reviewer did point out, however, that she had to add a little bit of xanthan gum to most baking recipes but that the chart on the back of the bag makes it very easy to do so. To try this blend out for yourself, you can get one four-pound bag for about $12.50.
Gluten Free You and Me Xanthan Gum
Gluten is the part of the wheat grain that makes it “sticky” so that baked goods don’t fall apart. So when you use flour without gluten, you need to add something back in to make the finished product stick together. That is where the gums come in. Xanthan and guar can be interchangeable, so you can use either one that you find. Gluten Free You and Me Xanthan Gum is made in a dedicated gluten-free facility. Reviewers are saying that this product works as advertised, makes great baked goods, and is handy for thickening sauces and gravies, as well. You can get one eight-ounce bag for $9.
As many different gluten-free wraps as there are on the market, it can be nice to stick to a plain, simple product. Rudi’s Gluten-Free Plain Tortillas, for instance, are made primarily with a mixture of whole grain flours – sorghum, brown rice, corn, amaranth, quinoa, millet, teff – corn starch, tapioca flour, rice flour, water, and canola oil. Reviewers recommend these wraps and are calling them delicious and sturdy enough for big wraps. You can get a pack of eight wraps for about $6.
Home Free Vanilla Mini Cookies
Now, some people may say that cookies are not exactly a pantry staple, but we think otherwise. When chosen carefully, having a moderately wholesome cookie at home comes in handy in a lot of ways. Not only does it prevent you from spending money on a (likely) expensive gluten-free dessert from a restaurant or cafe, but it’s nice to have them around if you know people are going to be having dessert around you and you’d like to indulge in something a little sweet, as well. Home Free Vanilla Mini Cookies are gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, and non-GMO cookies. They are made primarily with gluten-free whole oat flour and the following organic ingredients: evaporated cane sugar, safflower oil, pear juice from concentrate, tapioca starch, buckwheat flour, lemon juice from concentrate, and pure vanilla extract. Reviewers are saying that these cookies are much healthier than typical vanilla wafers, are light and crispy, and are a great crunchy addition to puddings. One reviewer even said that these cookies were “one of the best gluten-free products out there.” To see if you feel the same, you can get a pack of six, five-ounce boxes for a little more than $20.
Simple Mills Almond Flour Crackers
Almond flour isn’t just being used for grain-free home cooking anymore, now you can buy crackers made from it! Simple Mills Almond Flour Crackers is made with a nut and seed flour blend (almonds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds), tapioca, cassava, organic sunflower oil, organic onion, organic garlic, and rosemary extract. These crackers are gluten-free, soy-free, paleo-friendly, and non-GMO. Each serving (17 crackers) provides three grams of protein and 10 percent of your daily vitamin E. Reviewers are saying that these crackers are deliciously crispy, healthy, lower in carbs than other gluten-free crackers which use rice or bean flours and make a very satisfying snack. Some felt the sea salt flavor was a bit strong. To see how you feel, you can get a pack of three 4.25-ounce boxes for $17.
Tolerant Red Lentil Penne
When you look into it, there are actually a large number of gluten-free pasta options on the market today. Not all GF pastas are created equal, though. Some are gluten-free but basically add zero nutrition to a meal, while others are pretty impressive in the nutrition department! Tolerant Red Lentil Penne, for instance, is a single-ingredient, gluten-free pasta that delivers 21 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber. This pasta is also soy-free, egg-free, and non-GMO. Reviewers are reporting that this pasta is delicious, tastes very similar to regular pasta, and has an impressive protein content. You can get six eight-ounce boxes for a little under $26.
Kirkland Signature Unsalted Mixed Nuts
Nuts are a quick, easy, and tasty way to include protein and healthy fats in your snacking. You can eat them by the handful, top dairy-free parfaits with them, or incorporate them into your cooking creations. As for gluten-free eaters, nuts can be ground into different flours, can be used to make your own gluten-free granola bars or homemade pie crusts. Kirkland Signature Unsalted Mixed Nuts comes with four nut varieties: cashews, almonds, pistachios, and pecans that are tossed in just a bit of peanut oil. Reviewers are saying that this nut mix has a nice balance between the four types, “tastes great and fresh,” and since it’s salt-free, “allows the true flavor of each nut to come through.” You can get one 2.5-pound tub of this nut mix for $25.
Lead image source: wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock