What is the most opened door in your house? Mine is definitely our kitchen pantry. I don't even know how many times during the day I just open it aimlessly staring, hoping something jumps out and feeds me! Hahah I hope I am not alone in that situation?
Cooking with only plant-based foods is not as difficult as it seems, it simply takes some time to learn new techniques and embrace a new world full of flavors. However, in order to explore new eating habits, it is essential to have ingredients on hand in order to avoid those desperate “there is nothing to eat!” moments. While adjusting takes time and learning, a plant-based diet becomes more than just a change on your plate, it becomes a lifestyle!
When it comes to stocking your pantry, there are many options, however, I am going to start with a list of the canned and other dried goods that we keep on our shelves.
Beans and legumes are the foundation of many great vegan meals and an essential in any plant-based pantry. Look for good-quality beans, without additives, or better yet, organic canned or jarred beans from natural food stores. Some of our favorites include the following:
- Black beans
- Black-eyed peas
- Chickpeas (garbanzos)
- Great northern beans (cannellini)
- Refried beans
- Pinto beans
- Red or kidney beans
Canned tomatoes are another go-to ingredient in our house. We use them for spaghetti sauce with added chickpeas and veggies, or they can be added to a curry to bulk it up and provide some flavor. We tend to keep a variety of diced, pureed, paste and chopped tomatoes in our vegan pantry.
All of the canned foods were placed on tiered shelves for easy viewing.
WHOLE GRAINS AND WHOLE GRAIN FLOURS
We go through pounds of couscous, wild rice, and quinoa. They are staples in our pantry. Whole grains are healthier because they contain higher amounts of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, antioxidants, protein and fiber, which will help you feel full.
- Rice (long-grain brown, basmati, arborio, quick-cooking, jasmine, etc.)
- Wild rice
- Whole wheat flour
HERBS AND SPICES (dried)
Keep a good range of commonly used varieties on hand; seasoning blends, especially an all-purpose salt-free herb-and-spice blend, nutritional yeast (we dump that on everything!), curry powder, as well as an Italian herb seasoning blend, are especially useful.
- Coconut oil (organic, extra-virgin)
- Dark sesame oil
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Safflower, sunflower, or other light-flavored oil
- Balsamic (dark and/or white)
- Red wine or white wine vinegar
- Rice vinegar (for Asian-style cooking)
- Organic apple cider vinegar
PASTAS AND NOODLES
Keep a good supply of different sizes and shapes of pasta in your pantry. Some useful shapes to have on hand include angel hair, thin spaghetti, rotini, penne, fettuccine, and linguine.
About once a week we use Asian noodles, such as udon, soba, rice noodles, and bean thread noodles.
NUTS, SEEDS, AND NUT AND SEED BUTTERS
I tend to keep sesame, sunflower, flax, and chia seeds available. Flax seed mixed with water can also act as a binding agent, taking the place of eggs in baked goods. We like to snack on peanuts, cashews, almonds, walnuts, pecans, and we use sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds for our avocado toasts and salads.
As far as nut and seed butters, grab some natural, organic peanut, cashew, almond, sunflower, and tahini (sesame paste).
I worked with Tracy from Organize Simply. She was my saving grace in helping me organize my pantry! She is a certified home organizer. Luckily for us The Container Store was having their kitchen/pantry sale and we snagged almost everything at 25% off! We also purchased a few baskets and bins from Home Goods and Target. I wanted a clean look with a mix of clear containers and wicker baskets.
Tracy came into my home and started pulling everything out from my pantry and kitchen sink. By the time everything was spread out, all of my countertops and tables were covered in food. She then removed all the packaging and boxes, to avoid taking up unnecessary space. We would be replacing them with the clear containers to make it easier to see what you actually have in stock. She organized my pantry by sections; Baking, breakfast, dinner, pasta and snacks ect. It helps when items have a place of their own so they are utilized more and wasted less. I put the paper & plastic ware on the bottom floor because we don’t use it that often. I divided it into two separate baskets: Napkins & Straws, Utensils (which I grouped into plastic bags according to type & the mount I would need for a small party), and Plates, Bowls, & Cups.
Next we moved over to the kitchen sink and straightened it up.
Things get hidden easily in a dark cupboard under the sink, so we used clear bins to organize and see what's happening in there. Tracy blew my mind when she added the door hooks. She attached a couple hooks, so I could hang my washcloths and gloves neatly.
Once your pantry is stocked, you’ll want some ideas and inspiration to get you started! Here are some of my favorite vegan recipes, click here.
My favorite organization products:
Stackable clear bins
Clear Lazy Susan divider
Under the sink kit
Large Expand A Shelf
Large Storage Bins with Handles
Pop canister set