7 Plant-Based Pantry Staples You Can Use to Create Endless Vegan Meals

Stock up on these staples if you want to eat more plant-based foods.

Cooking wholesome, plant-based meals isn't too difficult, but often requires regular trips to the produce section of your local supermarket or farmer's market. Cue: the well-stocked pantry. Even on your laziest of days, or when you just can't make it to source any more fresh greens, a pantry full of plant-based delights can help you easily whip up a vegan meal full of flavor and nutrition, and provide a nice home for your wilted kale. Stock these items in your pantry to make plant-based cooking easier on a daily basis.

Various beans and lentils in jars on bluerustic wooden surface
Westend61/Getty Images
01 of 07

Canned Beans and Legumes

health-benefits-of-pulses: chickpeas, lentils, dry peas, and beans on spoons
Getty Images

Perhaps the most famed source of plant-based protein, at least second to tofu, is the humble bean. And while dried beans are delicious, you don't always have hours on end to simmer up a pot of beans. Keep a variety of canned beans, like white beans, black beans, and even vegetarian refried beans stocked in your pantry for the key to very quick meals, like smashed beans on toast.

Canned lentils and chickpeas are also excellent to have on hand, as meal bases, salad toppers, and even to whip into snacks, like smoky baked chickpeas.

02 of 07

Nutrient-Rich Pasta

Whole Wheat Pasta with Chard and Pine Nuts
Victor Protasio

Pasta is always a perfect quick and easy meal starter, and countless new brands are elevating your pasta night to a nutritious (and delicious) feast. Stock a few shapes of chickpea, whole-wheat, or veggie-enriched pasta to give that go-to weeknight meal an extra boost of fiber and vitamins. Make this cherry tomato sauce with any type of pasta, or go for a real quick and satisfying aglio e olio garlicky pasta.

03 of 07


Roasted Butternut Squash With Tahini Sauce Recipe
Caitlin Bensel

This sesame seed paste is a must in all plant-based pantries, thanks to its creaminess, richness, and ubiquity. Use it as a salad dressing, drizzled over roasted veggies, blended into a smoothie, or to amp up creamy sauces in both sweet and savory dishes. It's also just good on its own as a dip, and even does wonders for various desserts!

RELATED: We Found the Most Delicious (and Surprising) Ingredient Swap for Dairy

04 of 07

Nut Butter

Nuts and seeds butter in glass jars
Getty Images

Your favorite nut butter will go far in plant-based cooking, whether it be peanut, almond, or cashew. Of course, you can stock all three, and even some sunflower seed butter if you're big on variety. These sources of protein, healthy fats, and vitamins are just as tasty licked off a spoon as they are for fast vegan meals like quick nutty noodles, almond pomegranate toast, and more.

05 of 07

Vegetable Broth

Bone Broth Benefits: Cooked hot bone broth with spices and fresh herbs.
Getty Images

Whether you're a bouillon pantry or a stock pantry, keep some nonperishable veggie broth on hand at all times. Not only is it great to have in a bind when you just want to sip on some soup, but veggie broth can infuse flavor in cooked grains or quinoa, be used as a braising liquid for tougher vegetables like mushrooms, and of course, work as a starter or base for heartier recipes like red lentil curry or vegetable soup.

06 of 07

High-Quality Vinegar

Getty Images

Something that differentiates restaurant cooking from home cooking can be the excellent use of acid most chefs are trained to perfect. A squeeze of a lemon or lime can often help with that, but if you don't have fresh citrus on hand, or want a deeper, bolder flavor, vinegar is your best flavor friend. Look for vinegars without sugar or other flavors or colors added, to ensure quality. Use it in vinegar roasted potatoes, to shake up your own vinaigrette, or to make your own pickled onions and condiments.

RELATED: The 9 Best Vinegars for Cooking—and 2 You Should Never Use

07 of 07

Nuts and Seeds

These Are the Healthiest Types of Seeds
Getty Images

Adding texture to plant-based meals elevates a simple pantry dinner to a full-on delicacy. Keep your favorite seeds, like flax, sunflower, or sesame, on hand for decoration, crunch, and a few added nutrients. Nuts are another great way to boost texture, like as a salad topper, or just lightly toasted and chopped to throw on a bowl of soft food, like rice or pasta. Grind up nuts to make a crunchy coating for tofu, or use pantry nuts and blend 'em into a plant-based pesto.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles