I make most of our food from scratch, and the one thing that keeps me sane in the kitchen is having a well-stocked pantry, fridge and freezer. Keeping plenty of whole food ingredients in my kitchen makes coming up with meals at 5 pm during the week much easier. Here’s a list of the food I regularly keep stocked in my pantry. You’ll notice that it’s probably not much different from what non-vegan cooks keep in their pantries.
Canned beans (garbanzo, black, refried and kidney) – Add to soups and salads for extra protein. Add to burritos or vegan nachos. Make vegan bean burgers.
Canned tomatoes (diced and whole) – Add to soup or chili. Make a simple pasta sauce with basil and olive oil.
Jarred pasta sauce – Not just for pasta. Use as pizza sauce or for vegan meatball subs.
Ready-made polenta – Grill it, saute it, broil it.
Olives – Put on pizza, saute with veggies, eat out of the jar.
Roasted red peppers – One of my favorite pizza toppings, but there are a ton of other uses.
Green chiles – Add to burritos or quesadillas.
Coconut milk – Thai curry or Indian curry. It’s all good.
Curry paste – I prefer green curry paste, but red is just as tasty.
Dried pasta – Get both Italian (spaghetti, penne) and Asian (udon, soba and ramen) pastas.
Soy sauce – Make quick stir fry sauces and fried rice.
Peanut butter – Add to everything. Eat with a spoon.
Rice (brown, arborio and basmati) – Rice is nice for curry, stir fry and risotto.
Lentils – Red, brown, green. All are good.
Quinoa – I prefer red. Always cook with broth instead of plain water.
Couscous – Simple, easy grain to cook on a busy night.
Ready to eat soups – We love Amy’s vegan soups. The Spicy Chili is amazing!
Tahini – Used to make hummus.
Oil (canola and extra virgin olive oil) – I use both for cooking. I also use some flavored extra virgin olive oil to dress salads. Truffle oil is expensive, but so worth the money.
Vinegar (white, cider and balsamic) – I also use flavored balsamic vinegar to dress salads.
Salt, pepper and other spices – I buy my spices in bulk from a local spice shop, that way I’m able to buy only what I will use before it gets stale. We use a lot of curry powder and cumin.
Hot sauce – Tabasco and Cholula are our favorites.
Agave nectar and maple syrup – I use the agave to make a killer agave mustard sauce. For maple syrup, I always choose grade B.
Breakfast cereal – Makes weekday breakfast quick and easy.
Oatmeal – I like Mom’s Best Cereals instant oatmeal and Trader Joe’s quick cook steel-cut oats.
Chips, crackers and pretzels – Tortilla chips and pretzels are typical snacks in our house.
Larabars or other granola bars – I love the Peanut Butter Cookie Larabars.
Nuts and trail mix – Pistachios and dried cranberries are my favorite combo.