26 things I always have in my pantry

These are the items that are essential to my vegan life.

1. Beans, beans, beans: I always have at least 4 kinds of beans – 2 canned, and 2 dried. For canned beans, I prefer garbanzos (chickpeas) and cannellini. For dried, at the moment I’ve got loads of black beans, plus kidney beans, coco beans, and adzuki beans. I’ve also got some borlotti beans & yin yang (a.k.a. orca) beans from my garden. I use more black turtle beans than anything else, so I maintain a sizable supply of those in particular. I’m growing my own, so that will help, but I don’t have enough space in my garden for a year’s worth.beans-1001032_640

2. Buckwheat: I really wasn’t kidding in my review of buckwheat when I said it’s my new favorite thing. I now add toasted buckwheat to every salad.

3. Whole grain rice: I like to keep a variety – black & red are my favorites.

4. Potatoes: I check my potato supply every week and make sure I have enough for at least 2 spontaneous meals. I usually have both sweet and white potatoes on hand.

5. Cashews (raw): These little guys form the foundation of the most wonderful vegan cream, sour cream, cheese and cheese-based sauces and spreads.


6. Corn: This might sound ridiculous, but, as of this writing, I have 23 cans of corn in my pantry. What? It was on sale. Plus, my partner and I both love corn, and we add it to every salad we make, so we go through a lot.

7. Corn tortillas: I use these for lunch all the time – just toss on some lettuce, beans, a veg, salsa or other dressing, and bam – hearty, healthy 5-minute lunch.

8. Cornmeal: One of my favorite breakfasts is cornmeal mush with maple syrup & berries. And who doesn’t love chili with cornbread??


9. Flaxseed: Aside from the fact that one of the Daily Dozen checklist items is 1 T ground flaxseed, they also make the best egg replacers for burgers, patties, brownies, etc.

10. Ketchup: Because black bean burgers & oil-free baked fries!

11. Lentils & split peas: I typically keep black (beluga), red, & puy lentils, though I don’t use them as often as beans. And I love split pea soup with smoky tempeh, so the split peas are also a must-have for me.

12. Lettuce: Okay, I don’t keep lettuce in my pantry, but I always make sure I have some. In the summer it’s easy – I keep it in my garden. The rest of the year, I buy a large head of lettuce every week, and it’s never lost.


13. Maple syrup: This is my favorite sweetener, and I use it in dressings, desserts, and, of course, on pancakes & waffles!

14. Miso paste: Because you never know when you’re going to want to have a miso soup lunch.miso-934742_640

15. Mustard: For dressings, burgers, and much much more!

16. Nutritional yeast: Simply a must-have for, like, everything.

17. Oatmeal: Another one of my favorite breakfasts, but also an essential ingredient in the best veggie burgers ever.

18. Olive marinara: Oddly specific, perhaps, but there’s a reason. It’s amazing. And I make a vegan pizza every Saturday night using this brilliant marinara.


19. Pasta: I try to keep at least 3 full bags/boxes of whole grain pasta. I prefer whole wheat because it’s the cheapest and cooks very well, but sometimes I’ll be in the mood for something different (see my review of corn pasta).

20. Pesto: You can’t ask for a better quick & easy pasta dinner! There’s a vegan pesto available at a shop near me, but I prefer to make my own using the basil & nasturtiums from my garden. I always have a batch in the freezer.

21. Spices: I have a crazy spice collection. They don’t all fit in my spice cupboard. But the ones I use the most are black & szechuan peppers, paprika, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper, turmeric, coriander, cardamom, & cinnamom.


22. Sriracha (a.k.a. Rooster sauce): I used to keep this around for deviled eggs before I was vegan. Now I use it in soups, sauces, and stir-fries.

23. Sun-dried tomatoes: I also put these on my vegan pizza, but they’re also a great addition to salad dressings, sandwiches, spreads, dips, etc.


24. Tahini: Essential for both my favorite salad dressing, and my favorite hummus.

25. Tamari/soy sauce: I use this stuff a lot – in stir-fries, in my favorite salad dressing, pretty much anytime I eat garbanzo beans, with avocado, the list goes on…

26. Veggie stock/bouillon: I don’t keep this in my pantry, either, because I don’t buy it, I make it. I save the leftovers from herbs & vegetables in the freezer. When I have enough, I make a stock and freeze it.



Black raspberries & black rice: loading up on antioxidants

Breakfast_textFun fact: black raspberries have higher antioxidant levels than blackberries or red raspberries. And black raspberries are just coming into season!blackberries-1541314_640 Just in time, because I ate the last of the blueberries from my little blueberry bush 3 days ago.

  • 1/4 santa claus melon
  • 1/2 c. black raspberries

The melon I have today is huge, so 1/4 of it is easily 2 servings. Perhaps 3, but I was too excited to eat it to measure, so I’ll say 2 just to be on the safe side. Eating an extra serving of fruit later in the day is certainly not going to hurt!

Checklist items: berries, 2 other fruits (3 out of 18 servings)

lunch_textWhat do you do when you’re hungry from running (or some other form of exercise) but also too hot to really want to eat? Hummus & veggies, of course! Click this link for the perfect oil-free hummus. With lunch, I’m also going to have a little homemade date & nut milk.

  • heaping 1/3 c. hummus
  • 1/4 c. broccoli
  • 1/4 c. cauliflower
  • 1/4 c. red bell pepper
  • 1/2 c. pickles or pickled beets

And a heads-up: for the milk, you’ll need to boil water and pour it over 1/4 c. dates and 1/4 c. nuts 1 hour in advance. Follow the link above for recipe & instructions.

Checklist items: 1.5 beans, 1 other fruit, 1 cruciferous, 1.5 other vegetables, flaxseed, nuts, spices (8 out of 18 servings)


I’ve been dying to share this recipe because it’s so simple and yet so tasty! It’s a healthier and, in my opinion, much more interesting version of a French classic: petits pois a la francaise. I serve it with black rice, also called forbidden rice. The one I use is a Thai jasmine black rice and has an amazingly floral fragrance that adds depth to the petits pois. Black rice is loaded with antioxidants! According to Wikipedia, it has one of the highest levels of anthocyanin antioxidants found in any food.

  • wp-1471341773962.jpg1 1/2 c. cooked black rice
  • 1/4 c. onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 c. fresh peas
  • 2 c. lettuce, shredded
  • 2 c. vegetable stock or bouillon
  • salt, to taste (if using commercial bouillon, you may not need to add any)
  1. cook black rice separately, just as you would any rice
  2. saute onions in 2 T veggie stock until soft
  3. add lettuce and the rest of the stock, and cook until wilted
  4. once the lettuce is wilted, add the peas and let simmer until everything is cooked and the liquid is slightly reduced
  5. Serve over the black rice with plenty of cooking liquid

Checklist items: 1.5 beans, .5 other vegetables, 2 greens, 3 whole grains (7 out of 18 servings)

Taking account of the day:

18 servings in total.

We got at least the minimum recommended servings of everything today.