A well-stocked vegetarian pantry is the basis of any great meal. Plus it means there are the ingredients on hand for quick and healthy snacks, when time is short. I like to keep a good variety of grains, nuts, seeds, dried beans, lentils, oils, noodles, pasta, spices, and dried fruits on hand rather than just standby favourites. Eating a varied combination of foods is key to enjoying a healthy vegetarian diet and having a vegetarian pantry well stocked with lots of different ingredients, makes creating tasty and nourishing food simple, fun and delicious.
In my pantry I use large glass jars for storing grains, dried beans, and lentils, nuts, and seeds and I like to divide things up using large plastic containers in my vegetarian pantry. Separating my baking goods from my spices and cooking oils from my dried fruits and nuts etc. It makes it easier to find what I’m looking for and to know when something has run out. Plus, with a well-organised vegetarian pantry, I’m more likely to use everything on offer rather than simply what has worked it’s way to the front.
a practical list of everyday plant-based ingredients to stock a healthy vegetarian pantry
Dried Beans and Pulses
Split peas, different types of lentils, chickpeas, cannellini beans, black eyed peas and many more can be brought in bulk and stored almost indefinitely.
unbleached baking flours, rye flour, spelt flour, almond meal, buckwheat flour, raw sugars, cacao powder, yeast and baking powder are great to have on hand and store for long periods
Sauces, Spreads and Condiments
tomato paste, authentic curry pastes, mustards, tamari (soy sauce), chutneys, relish, tahini, peanut butter, nut butters, seed butters, vinegars like red wine, apple cider and balsamic and bottled pasta sauces for a quick meal, be sure to check for preservatives and additives and try to choose products that have natural ingredients.
Cereals and Grains
Quinoa and quinoa flakes, burghul, polenta (corn meal), wholemeal couscous, buckwheat, barley, oats, millet, rolled spelt, different types of rice, noodles and pasta.
coconut cream and coconut milk, different varieties of beans such as haricot, butter, kidney, black and also tinned chickpeas and lentils for quick meal solutions. Try and choose organic where you can.
Herbs & Spices
paprika, turmeric, cayenne pepper, mustard seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, curry powder, dried chillies, bay leaves, curry leaves, star anise, cinnamon sticks, saffron, and dried herbs are essential to creating authentic and tasty meals. I like to buy in small amounts as their flavour will fade over time.
Nuts and Seeds
almonds, brazil nuts, sesame seeds, linseeds (flax seeds) chai seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, cashews, peanuts, pine nuts, hazel nuts, pecans and more
peanut, sesame, sunflower, rice bran, canola (rapeseed) for cooking and olive, avocado and nut oils like hazel nut and macadamia for dressings. Also coconut oil for cooking and adding to baking and smoothies.
Raw honey, maple syrup, blackstrap molasses, coconut sugar and syrup, rapadura sugar, dark brown sugar, brown rice syrup and palm sugar are all great substitutes to white and refined sugars. Store them is jars in the pantry or in plastic bags and containers in your freezer.
dates, apricots, pears, sultanas (raisins), figs etc. are great for bulking out salads, breakfast cereals and smoothies or as a quick snack or lunch box addition.
Good quality vegetable stock cubes and/or liquid always check the label to guarantee the product contains no animal content as some store brought “vegetable stocks” may not be vegetarian.
Fresh Fruit and Vegetables
Look for the freshest in season produce. Buy a variety and only enough that you can use within about a week. Check Veggie num num’s Quick Guide to Seasonal Fruit & Vegetables for more information on what to buy and when.