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.
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.
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.