How to Stock Your Pantry

“Oh my goodness! I’ve stopped eating meat and now I don’t know what to eat or how to shop!!!!”

No shade meant… okay a little shade was meant, but I mean you’ve got Google at the tips of your fingers. In addition, there’s no way that your diet consisted of 100% meat.

It’s okay though! I’m here to throw a few tips your way. I’m going to focus on the pantry today, the stuff in the cabinet that doesn’t get old for like years. Stuff that will become staples in every dish you make, items that you buy even if you don’t need them; you’ll thank yourself later when you don’t have to run out to the store in the middle of a recipe.

Here’s a list of things that you should DEFINITELY stock up on (it’ll save your life).

  • Grains: oats (for breakfast, baking, or even to add to your lentil loaf or veggie burgers to help them bind), rice (when paired with beans you’ve got a complete protein and a cheap meal to last you to the next paycheck), cornmeal (cornbread, dust the bottom of a homemade pizza, make some dumplings for a stew), and barley (I love barley in stews, soups, my seitan roast, and mushroom veggie burgers)
  • Noodles: pasta (along with rice and beans will definitely help your paycheck stretch, but don’t be afraid to try different shapes because they all taste the same, and different bases like quinoa or chickpea), ramen (I don’t truly mean cup of noodles/oodles of noodles type ramen, I mean straight up ramen noodles so that you can make your own ramen at home when you’re feeling fancy), udon (literally one of my favorite types of noodles, you just need variety in your noodles sometimes), rice (I believe right now these are my favorite stir fry noodles), vermicelli (I love these mung bean noodles because their great for cold noodle salads as well as spring or summer rolls)
  • Nuts: of course if you’re allergic to nuts you’d skip this… but if you’re not? YOU NEED THEM IN YOUR LIFE!!!! Cashews (for creamy sauces, cheezes, dressings, cremas, thickeners, mylk, smoothies, yogurt, creams! The possibilities are literally endless!), almonds (another super versatile nut that’ll change the game. Anything you can do with cashews, you can pretty much go with almonds), walnuts (a great alternative to meat especially when paired with mushrooms and are great in baked goods and smoothies), Brazil nuts (super expensive but hands down one of my favorite nuts and my go to for nut mylk), macadamia nuts (amazing raw, roasted, as a nut butter, with anything coconut, paired with dates to make a raw pie crust), pecans (I’ve got some muffins that’ll change your life and how you feel about pecans. I swear they’re amazing! They’re an amazing addition to date balls and nice cream)
  • Seeds: sesame seeds (you better go head and make your own tahini!), flax seed (an amazing egg replacer), sunflower seeds (the start to making an amazing breakfast, sunflower butter on banana with spicy sweet potato hash, and sautéed greens… or just a sandwich), chia seeds (the beauty of chia seeds is that a little goes a long way and they can be used in anything; puddings, water, baked goods, smoothies, it’s extra lit)
  • Beans: Before we start I would like to profess my love of beans in all their versatility! Black beans(burgers, brownies, chili, soup), chickpeas (stew, soup, blondies, pie, pasta, hummus, toonot), lentils (tacos, chili, neatballs, burgers, patties)…. there’s so many more beans but I’ve realized that I low key only use these three.
  • Coconut milk: THE NECTAR OF THE GAWDS!!!!! Keep coconut milk on deck because it will save your life! You can use it in smoothies, whipped cream, oatmeal, baking, curry, dressings, sauces, candy? marinades, you name it! Also, there’s such a thing called condensed coconut milk get on it because it’ll change your life.
  • Tomato sauce: honestly, any form of tomato in a can…. you should stock up on, you’ll thank me later. (Chili, sauce,soup, rice, beans)
  • Canned vegetables: hearts of palm (can be used for vegan ceviche or toona), green jackfruit (not to be mistaken for its ripe counterpart in syrup, the green version in brine can be used in anything from seitan to veggie burgers to tacos, and vegan crab cakes), roasted red peppers (because sometimes you may not get to your fresh red peppers quick enough)
  • Dried fruit: there was a day when I wouldn’t have even looked twice in this category. However, dates are a dried fruit, I just dehydrated some pineapple recently and it’s just an amazing snack AND you can make tea with dried fruits. Tomatoes are a fruit, and a whole different element of flavor arrives when the moisture is removed from a fruit. Whether it’s sauces, salads, breakfast, or baked goods dried fruits will add a little pop or zing of greatness. Dates (raw caramel, low glycemic sweetener, bomb in oatmeal and nice cream) and sundried tomatoes (salad dressings, dips, spreads, sauce) are basically the only dried fruits I stock up on besides coconut. Don’t rely on me go explore.
  • Flour: there’s like a gazillion bazillion different types of flour and there’s options for those who have a gluten intolerance/allergy… but I typically keep all purpose flour and masa harina in my cabinet so that if I run out of any type of bread, I can at least make my own. I totally forgot about vital wheat gluten flour, that’s how I make all my yummo seitan!
  • Sweeteners: you’ve gotta keep different sweeteners on deck evaporated cane juice/raw cane sugar (the unbleached version of white sugar), brown sugar (not the same as turbinado/raw sugar), coconut palm sugar (sugar that comes form coconut palms instead of sugar cane), molasses (you need it more in your life than you think you do), brown rice syrup (my favorite, besides dates, to use in raw treats)
  • Vinegar and oil: apple cider vinegar (great for literally everything!), rice wine vinegar(I heard you wanted to make sushi), balsamic vinegar (create a reduction and your friends are going to start calling you boujie because now… you like the finer things), olive oil (better for raw foods or light sautéing), coconut oil (wherever you would use butter, I’d use coconut oil), safflower oil (because I like roasted veggies), peanut oil (fried stuff is a gift from the heavens)

I believe I was able to provide you with at least somewhere to start for when you go stock your pantry.

Buy bulk!!!! If you’re low on funds but need certain non perishables, check if they’re in the bulk section. That way you can get what you need at a price that’s not outrages. Sometimes you don’t need a whole pound of quinoa… you’re not sure if you really even like it and you only need it for this one recipe.

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