A well-stocked pantry means you're well prepared, and your options are endless! Read on to find out about our favourite vegan pantry essentials.
Building a pantry is perhaps one of the smartest things to do. Say it's the end of the month, money is low and you're craving something hearty and filling; if you have a well-stocked pantry, you'll never have a moment where you're thinking, "all I have to eat is a pack of old biscuits and some lentils". Many assume that a vegan pantry is hard to build, but it's really not! Many items you can stock are vegan and fantastic to have around for last-minute suppers or as a way to accompany the beautiful fresh ingredients you want to work with.
This list is by no means a complete one. These are simply some universal favourite vegan items to stock in your pantry. We hope it will inspire you to build and maintain your own pantry so you never come home to a sad, empty kitchen — only one with tonnes of delicious possibilities!
Beans and Lentils
This one is pretty obvious, but any kind of bean or lentil you enjoy will keep for a long time in your pantry! From red kidney beans (rajma) to chickpeas (chhole), the options are endless. Moong beans are great to keep in your pantry for making bean sprouts whenever you want a nutrient-packed food that's easy to digest!
Grains and Pasta
Pasta, rice, and oats, faro, whole millets are all fantastic elements to have on hand. You can have all manners of shapes at the ready. One quick sauce and 12 minutes of boiling later, you're sure to have a stunning meal. Rolled oats are also good to have on hand. Fibre-rich and delicious in a myriad of recipes, oats also have a long shelf life. You can also stock various kinds of rice depending on your preferences. Brown rice, red rice, basmati... your options are endless!
Flours and Baking
Having a range of flour on hand means you can cook and play with many kinds of cuisines. Chickpea flour or besan is used in many Indian recipes and also works as an egg replacer in many dishes. It's protein-rich and can be mixed with other flour too! Almond flour, bread flour and all-purpose flour are also fantastic to have around if you love to bake and have a sweet tooth. Just remember to stock your almond flour in the fridge! Baking powder, baking soda, cornflour and cream of tartar are also always good to keep stocked when the desire to bake arises. Baking soda is also a fantastic cleaning agent!
Raw Nuts and Seeds
Keeping raw nuts and seeds stocked at home means you can make nut butter or vegan cheese at the drop of a hat. You can toast them as needed and make a variety of things. Add them to baked goods, make candied nuts, add toasted nuts to your salad... the options are endless!
FYI: Chia and flax seeds are great egg replacements.
Canned and Boxed Goods
While many might eschew canned products as they are high in sodium or sugar for preservation purposes. It is prudent to have canned beans, lentils, fruit and veggies on hand for "just in case moments' '. Canned chickpeas, for example, can be washed (to get rid of some of that extra salt) and be used to make hummus right away. Tetra packs or cans of coconut milk/cream among others are also handy to keep stocked. If you're going camping, or you're in an area where natural disasters have happened before, having canned or boxed items stocked in your pantry could be extremely useful! Just be sure to check expiry dates while stocking.
Sweeteners and Salts
Now, almost everyone has sugar and salt at home, but having a variety of salts and sweeteners gives you amazing versatility! Maple syrup, kackwee (sugarcane molasses), stevia, and dates are all easy to keep stocked. As for salts, you can give your food a whole new dimension of flavour by either making infused salts at home or buying them from the store! Some great infusion ideas are herb salt and chilli salt.
Ketchup, vegan mayo, and mustard are all simple go-to condiments that are good to have on hand. But some other great items to keep are soy sauce and really any range of vegan sauces that you enjoy! Dried mushrooms are also great and can be revived with a bit of boiling water. Olives, pickles and jalapenos are also long-lasting preserved products that work well in a pantry. Nutritional yeast has a long shelf life and can be used directly in dishes or with nuts to make vegan cheese! And if you're a salad nut, you cannot skimp on vinegar. Be sure to have various types of vinegar at home to make a wide range of dressings. Dried herbs and spices are also great to have on hand and last forever!
Having multiple types of oils on hand in a vegan kitchen means versatility in not just flavour but also function. For example, coconut oil makes for a fantastic replacer in certain baked products due to its ability to set at room temperature. Sesame oil is great for Japanese inspired cooking, while good olive oil will bring Mediterranean and Italian dishes to life. A variety of oils also mean a wider number of salad dressings that you can make!
We know that this all sounds like a lot of food, but we've simply categorised pantry ingredients so you can organise them easily and pick out your favourites in each category for an easier pantry stocking experience! What are your favourite vegan items to stock? Feel free to write in your own Jeevoka article!