Staples to Store in Your Pantry for a Plant-Based Diet

Always keep these foundational items stocked in your pantry, cupboards, and the like when you are eating a plant-based diet. Some of these foods have a short shelf life, but you can keep others around for longer periods of time.

Goods with a shorter shelf life: Pastas, milks, and more

Make sure you buy these items in small amounts, and rotate your inventory frequently:

  • Baking goods: Baking powder, baking soda, and vanilla (and other) extracts

  • Dried beans: Black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, pinto beans, and white beans

  • Egg replacements: Ground flaxseeds or ground chia seeds

  • Flavorings: Carob, cacao powder, sea salt, and wasabi powder

  • Flours: Buckwheat flour, brown-rice flour, oat flour, kamut flour, or spelt flour

  • Herbs and spices: Allspice, basil, bay leaves, chili powder, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, curry powder, five spice powder, garlic powder, ground ginger, ground mustard, marjoram, onion powder, oregano, paprika, rosemary, sage, thyme, turmeric, whole black pepper, and whole nutmeg

    Store your herbs and spices away from heat and light sources. (In other words, don’t store them over the oven or in the window, because the heat and light cause them to lose their flavor more quickly.) Replace herbs and spices that are older than one year. You can substitute one teaspoon of dried herbs for one tablespoon of chopped fresh herbs.

  • Milks: Almond, carob, hempseed, oat, or chocolate or vanilla rice (store in the fridge after opening)

  • Natural sweeteners: Coconut nectar; blackstrap molasses; brown-rice syrup; maple syrup; or whole, unrefined cane sugar

  • Nuts and seeds: Almonds, cashews, pecans, popcorn kernels, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, shelled sunflower seeds, and walnuts

  • Pasta and noodles (whole grain): Buckwheat soba noodles, spelt, kamut noodles, and brown-rice noodles

  • Pseudo grains: Amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa, and wild rice

  • Sea vegetables: Arame, dulse, hijiki, kombu, nori, and wakame

  • Teas: Green, rooibos, and herbal

  • Thickeners: Agar, arrowroot, and kudzu

  • Unsweetened dried fruit: Apricots, cranberries, dates, figs, and raisins

  • Whole grains: Barley, brown rice, millet, and spelt

  • Whole-grain products or sprouted grains: Cereals, breads, pita breads, and wraps

Foods with longer shelf lives: Canned goods and condiments

Although these items have a long shelf life and make cooking and eating convenient, purchase them only when necessary:

  • Canned, BPA-free, organic tomatoes in diced, crushed, pate, or whole form

  • Dijon mustard

  • Unsweetened fruit jams (strawberry, blackberry, or raspberry) and apple butter

  • Naturally brewed soy sauce, such as liquid amino acids, shoyu, and tamari (wheat free)

  • Naturally sweetened ketchup — sweetened with agave or coconut nectar, which is much better than high-fructose corn syrup

  • Nut and seed butters, such as almond, cashew, walnut, and tahini

  • Oils, including olive, flaxseed, coconut, grapeseed, and toasted sesame

  • Pineapple, mango, or yam puree (not ideal, but may be required in some baking)

  • Salsa

  • Tomato sauce

  • Unsweetened coconut milk

  • Vinegars, such as balsamic, brown rice, coconut, red wine, and unpasteurized apple cider

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