Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, or simply trying to eat more plant-based meals, there are several things you can do to make the whole cooking process easier. While a refrigerator with fresh fruits and veggies is obviously a must, 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. Or maybe when you’re tired after a hard day’s work and just want to whip up something quick and easy. 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! Here are 20 meatless and dairy-free pantry staples that we think you should always have on hand!
Palouse Brand Chickpeas
Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, are a great protein-rich staple to keep around the house. They’re versatile, tasty, and add creaminess to whatever dish they’re added to. While you can find canned chickpeas in any grocery store, to save a bit of money you may want to invest in a bagged version. Palouse Brand Chickpeas are non-GMO, kosher, and are not irradiated (a process that exposes food to radiation for sterilization). They also come in a reusable bag made out of jute that comes with a code so that you can track and see where exactly your chickpeas came from. Pretty cool! Reviewers are saying that these chickpeas are good quality, cook up tender, and are tasty whether you leave them in full form or grind them into a hummus. You can get one five-pound bag for $15.
Zinke Orchards Creamy Almond Butter
Almond butter is a pantry must-have. It’s protein-rich, easy to use, shelf-stable, and very nutritious if you make sure to buy a brand that doesn’t pile on extra sugar or additives. Zinke Orchards Creamy Almond Butter, for instance, is free from additives and preservatives, is manufactured in a peanut-free facility, and is made from just one ingredient: dry roasted almonds. Each serving (one ounce) has five grams of protein, one gram of fiber, and nine percent of the daily calcium recommendation. Reviewers are reporting that this almond butter is “nice and creamy” even after a while in the pantry, is possibly the “cleanest almond butter” on the market, and some are even saying it is the best almond butter they’ve ever tried! You can a pack of three 16-ounce jars for $30.
Bob's Red Mill Rolled Oats
Rolled oats are one of those pantry staples that seems a bit boring and only good for breakfast, but with a little research, you will find that oats are very versatile! You can use them as a base for desserts, use some to create heartier veggie burgers that stay together, and create granola bars with them. Bob’s Red Mill Rolled Oats is a non-GMO product made purely from whole grain oats. Reviewers are saying that these oats are tasty, very economical, and are very high quality. Reviewers have been warming these oats and topping with fruit for an easy breakfast, have pulverized them into oat flour, and even used them for a facial mask! You can get a pack of four 32-ounce bags for about $14.
Now Foods Flax Seed Meal
Now Foods Flax Seed Meal is a cold-processed product that, according to the company, has a high amount of omega-3s, fiber, and magnesium, in each serving. Reviewers are reporting that this product is good quality and fresh tasting and have been using it as a healthy smoothie addition, as well as to make flax eggs. To try it out for yourself, you can get one 22-ounce bag for $9, just remember to store it in an airtight container after opening and refrigerate to maintain freshness.
Bragg Nutritional Yeast Seasoning
While nutritional yeast seasoning is mostly known for providing cheesy flavor to whatever you add it to, which is awesome on its own, what some people might not know is how nutritious this seasoning actually is. For example, just one tablespoon of Bragg Nutritional Yeast Seasoning has three grams of protein, one gram of fiber, and pretty impressive amounts of vitamin B2, B6, B1, B12, thiamine, and zinc. It is also gluten-free, salt-free, and kosher. Reviewers are saying that this product is tasty, healthy, and a great way to sneak vitamins into your meals.
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. 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.
Bob's Red Mill Textured Vegetable Protein
While tofu requires refrigeration, textured vegetable protein (also made from soy) does not! Bob’s Red Mill Textured Vegetable Protein is a gluten-free product consisting of soy protein crumbles. Bob’s Red Mill shares that like blocks of tofu, these soy protein crumbles can be added to virtually any dish since they absorb the flavors you are already cooking with. They also have four grams of fiber, 12 grams of protein, and zero grams of fat per serving. Reviewers report using this product to make veggie burger patties, chili, and even meatloaf. You can get four 10-ounce packages of this textured vegetable protein for a little over $15.
So Delicious Almond Milk
Whether it’s for your morning coffee, your bowl of oatmeal, or simply to enjoy a glass, bringing having shelf-stable almond milk in your pantry is super useful. So Delicious Almond Milk does not need to be refrigerated until opened and this particular bulk package is made up of four eight-ounce containers so that you can enjoy the beverage instead of racing against time with huge cartons. Each eight-ounce carton has five grams of protein and is fortified with vitamin D-12, vitamin A, vitamin B-12, and folic acid. Not bad! Try out a pack of four eight-ounce packages for $7.
Eden Organic Black Beans
Beans are a great food staple because they are nutritious, easy to prepare, and inexpensive. If you buy canned beans, make sure to get brands that have no additives, preservatives, or added salt. Eden Organic Black Beans, for instance, are salt-free and flavored with a bit of kombu seaweed instead. While reviewers are saying that these beans are a little pricey, they are also saying that the fact that these beans are non-GMO, salt-free, and packed in BPA-free cans justifies the price. You can get one of 15-ounce can for a little under $2.
Just Tomatoes Just Veggies Mix
In an ideal world, we would always have a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables in the fridge. Unfortunately, sometimes busy schedules can keep you from going to the grocery store or from eating your food before it spoils. As an alternative, consider keeping a bag of Just Tomatoes Just Veggies in your pantry. Made with vine-ripened tomatoes, peas, carrots, corn, and bell peppers, this mix is all dried and ready to be snacked on. Just Tomatoes even suggests adding this gluten-free mix to soups, baked potatoes, and sauces for some extra flavor. Reviewers have enjoyed this mix as a way to get picky eaters to eat vegetables and even as pet food! You can get two eight-ounce packages for a little over $13.50
Braggs Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is often celebrated in the health community as one of the healthiest vinegars available, no pantry should be without it! The healthiest kind of apple cider vinegar to get is raw, unpasteurized, and organic. A number one best seller in Amazon’s apple cider vinegar section, Bragg’s Raw Apple Cider Vinegar has all three of these qualities and is made from just two ingredients: raw apple cider vinegar and purified water. Reviewers have reported using this vinegar for various health benefits by mixing 1-2 tablespoons with a glass of water. There are various claims among the reviews about lowered blood sugar, decreased cravings, and weight loss. To see if the product lives up to the hype, you can get one 32-once bottle for a little over $10.
Arrowhead Mills Green Lentils
Did you know that just a 1/4 cup serving of green lentils has 10 grams of protein? This protein-packed pulse may be tiny in size, but it’s pretty impressive nutritionally! To reap all the benefits lentils have to offer, consider keeping a bag of Arrowhead Mills Green Lentils in your pantry. Reviewers are saying that these lentils are good quality, very filling, and are a great protein alternative to meat. You can get one 16-ounce bag for about $2.25.
Healthworks Chia Seeds
Similar to flax seeds, chia seeds can be added to your cooking endeavors in a multitude of ways. For example, reviewers are mixing these Healthworks Chia Seeds into smoothies, melting them in hot teas, and using them to create chia gel, a binding agent in baked goods. Reviewers have had success making vegan cookies, cupcakes, and cakes, and report that the chia gel doesn’t change the flavor at all and adds a nice texture. These chia seeds also pack a pretty hefty nutritional punch with antioxidants, calcium, magnesium, and iron. You can get one five-pound bag for $20.
The Spice Hunter Chef's Shake Blend
Everyone needs an all-purpose spice blend in their kitchen. One that can be used in dishes that don’t call for a specific blend of spices, but could still benefit from a boost of flavor. According to a number of reviewers, The Spice Hunter Chef’s Shake Blend, is definitely worth looking into with many describing it as their “go-to spice blend.” It contains many ingredients but is primarily composed of onion, black pepper, garlic, carrots, orange peel, and tomato. Reviewers report using this mix on salads, dinner entrées, and classic breakfast dishes, with many stating it “goes great on everything.” You can get one two-ounce jar of this salt-free blend for a little over $7.
Pacific Foods Vegetable Broth
Vegetable broth is an easy way to add flavor to your meals. Pour some into a pan while stir-frying vegetables for a savory touch or boil it along with lentils for a flavorful soup. Pacific Foods Vegetable Broth is a low-sodium, vegan broth made from water, carrots, onion, celery, tomatoes, leeks, mushrooms, garlic, sea salt, and bay leaf. You can get a pack of four eight-ounce packages for $6.
Bob’s Red Mill Garbanzo Bean Flour
Chickpea flour, also called garbanzo bean flour, acts so much like all-purpose flour it’s pretty much magic. Made from ground chickpeas, the flour is high in protein, fiber, and iron. Chickpea flour, such as Bob’s Red Mill Garbanzo Bean Flour, can be used to make pizza crusts, crackers, bread, and cakes. According to reviewers, this flour is also a “perfect” egg substitute and can be used in batters for cookies, waffles, doughnuts, pancakes … the list goes on. At less than $3 for 16 ounces, this flour is a total bargain!
Hikari White Miso Paste
Miso paste is an easy way to add rich, umami flavor to your dishes. Hikari White Miso Paste is made from water, organic soybeans, organic rice, salt, yeast, and Koji culture. Since it contains cultures it is rich in probiotics. The Japanese product is also free of gluten, MSG, GMOs, and additives. Reviewers report that this tasty miso is mild and a nice addition to soups, salads, and dressings. You can get one 17.6-ounce tub for about $9.
Ancient Harvest Lentil and Quinoa Pasta
One of the most useful items to keep on hand is dry pasta. Pasta is inexpensive, lasts a long time, and can be used in a variety of ways. While regular pasta is delicious, you can get more energy for your buck by investing in a nutritious pasta, like Ancient Harvest Lentil and Quinoa Pasta, for instance. This product combines green lentil flour with organic quinoa flour to create a protein-packed pasta. Each serving (two ounces) contains 14 grams of protein and seven grams of fiber. This product is also wheat-free, gluten-free, yeast-free, and non-GMO. Reviewers are reporting that this product is a bit starchy but is otherwise a solid gluten-free option. To try it out for yourself, you can get a pack of six eight-ounce boxes for $27.50.
Eden Organic Tamari Soy Sauce
Even if you like to make all your own sauces and dips from scratch, you need to have some basic items in your pantry. You will want a bottle of low-sodium soy sauce or tamari which is used in a variety of sauces and marinades. 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.
Mori-Nu Silken Tofu
Silken tofu that is shelf-stable lets you make tofu omelets, sour cream, and desserts. Silken tofu, like Mori-Nu Silken Tofu has a smooth and airy texture, which reviewers report is a great addition for smoothies, dressings, and even desserts. The protein-rich product is low-fat, has no preservatives, and is naturally gluten-free. Unlike some other tofu brands, this product has a very long shelf life and doesn’t have to be refrigerated until opened. With this bulk-purchase, you can get 12 packages for almost $25.
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