Want to try a plant based diet, but not sure where to start? This list of pantry, fridge, and freezer staples will make it easy to get started so an easy meatless meal is always at your fingertips! Bonus: Get a FREE Plant Based Diet Grocery List printable!
Keeping staple ingredients on hand is the key to quick and easy meals. My list below is quite long. You certainly don’t need to stock them all, all of the time! I definitely don’t have room for that (I wish I did!) and I’m sure you don’t either.
Most of them are interchangeable within each category (nuts, beans, plant based milks, etc) so just make sure you have one or two on hand and rotate them when you run out so you don’t get bored.
If you’re not sure if this way of eating is right for you, you can read all about the details of a plant based diet here.
I usually keep canned beans on hand for convenience. Be sure to drain them and rinse them well before using.
If you like to cook your beans from scratch, by all means, buy them dried…they are cheaper that way. Lentils I typically buy dried as they don’t need to be soaked or take as long.
Recipes to try: Vegan Sloppy Joes, Slow Cooker Black Bean Butternut Squash Chili, Vegan Chickpea Tacos, Kidney Bean & Kale Burger, Creamy Lemon Ziti, Baked Red Lentil Quinoa Fritters, Cajun Black Eyed Peas Pasta
Fresh fruits and vegetables
~ full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
Any and all fruits and veggies are a great choice!
Fresh vegetables (some of our faves)
- Bell peppers
- Leafy greens (spinach, kale, arugula, romaine, green/red leaf, chard)
- Brussels sprouts
- Winter squash (butternut squash, spaghetti squash, acorn squash, pumpkin)
- Green beans
- Potatoes (sweet, russet, yellow, red)
Fresh fruit (some of our faves)
- Berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries)
- Melon (watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew)
- Lemons and limes
- Peaches and nectarines
Canned fruits and vegetables
- Tomato products (crushed, diced, sauce, paste, fire-roasted)
- Roasted red peppers
- Artichoke hearts
- Pumpkin purée (pure pumpkin purée, not pumpkin pie filling)
- Pineapple chunks
- Assorted berries (blueberries, cranberries)
- Sun-dried tomatoes
Recipes to try: Vegan Date Bread, Sunflower Fig Balls, Vegan Kolaczki Cookies w/ Almond Apricot Jam, Cherry Chocolate Walnut Truffles, Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies, Blueberry Almond Granola, Sun Dried Tomato Spread
~ high in fiber, B vitamins, and minerals
- Rolled oats
- Rice (brown, white, Jasmine, Arborio, wild)
- Ancient grains (amaranth, bulgur, millet, farro)
- Breadcrumbs (regular and Panko, gluten free if desired)
- Pasta (spaghetti, bow ties, macaroni, penne, rotini, large shells, etc)
- Asian noodles (soba, ramen, udon, etc)
- Bread (whole wheat, sprouted, rye)
- Tortillas (flour, corn) (multiple sizes)
Recipes to try: Spicy Bean Burgers, Lentil Quinoa Salad, Roasted Veggie Rice Bowls, Creamy Leek and Wild Rice Soup, Vegan Stuffed Pepper Soup, Baked Zucchini Amaranth Patties, Lemon Millet w/ Chickpeas & Dill, Arugula Peach Salad with Farro, Blueberry Lemon Cornmeal Muffins, Creamy Vegan Mushroom Pasta, Quick Homemade Vegetable Ramen Soup
Raw nuts and seeds
~ great source of healthy fats
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Flax seeds
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
Recipes to try: Spiced Rosemary Roasted Nuts, Pumpkin Seed Pesto, Flax & Walnut Zucchini Muffins, Classic Vegan Toffee Bars, Chunky Monkey Oatmeal, Cranberry Pistachio Cookies, Crunchy Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, Banana Black Sesame Scones, Overnight Chocolate Chia Pudding, Hemp Tofu Burger
~ Try experimenting to find your favorite
- Milks: rice (my fave for cereal), soy, almond (my go-to for smoothies), cashew, oat (great in coffee), hemp, coconut – canned (full fat and light)
- Yogurts: soy, almond, coconut (Silk Almondmilk yogurts are my fave)
- Vegan butter (Earth Balance and Miyoko’s are good brands)
- Vegan cheese (shreds/slices, cream cheese) (Definitely NOT a necessity, but nice to have every once in awhile)
- Vegan ice cream (Obviously not a necessity, but a delicious treat) (Cashew milk and oat milk varieties are my fave)
Condiments, vinegars & oils
- Coconut aminos (or tamari or soy sauce)
- Liquid smoke
- Worcestershire sauce (Annie’s and The Wizard’s are both vegan)
- Miso paste (I prefer the Mellow White Miso Paste)
- Vegan mayo (I like Just Mayo and Follow Your Heart Vegenaise) or try making your own like this homemade vegan mayonnaise with silken tofu
- Hot sauce (or Sriracha)
- Thai red curry paste
- Raw apple cider vinegar
- Balsamic vinegar
- Rice wine vinegar
- Red and white wine vinegar
- Fresh lemon and lime juice
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Cooking spray
Dried spices and herbs
~ easy, affordable way to add FLAVOR
The sky is the limit here. These are just a few of our favorites.
- Chili powder
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- Garlic powder
- Italian seasoning
- Onion powder
- Paprika and smoked paprika
- Yellow curry powder
- And of course, salt and pepper!
Recipes to try: Cinnamon Chickpea Blondies, Southwest Ranch Dressing, Vegan Pumpkin Chili, Spicy Summer Corn Chowder, Roasted Carrot Navy Bean Hummus, French Onion Dip w/ Dill, Spiced Chickpea Stew, Coconut Curry Soup with Sweet Potato Noodles
*While regular refined sugar is considered plant based, it is not always vegan. Some non-organic sugars are processed with bone char. If excluding all animal products is important to you, look for the vegan label on packages or opt for organic only when using cane sugar, powdered sugar, or brown sugar.
- Pure maple syrup
- Coconut sugar
- Organic cane sugar
- Organic brown rice syrup
- Organic powdered sugar
Recipes to try: Peanut Butter Pancakes with Maple Peanut Butter Syrup, Gingerbread Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal, Brown Rice Crispy Treats w/ Strawberries, Soft Baked Vegan Pumpkin Cookies with Maple Frosting, Coconut Clementine Mini Loaf Cakes, Vegan Apple Crisp
- Whole wheat
- White whole wheat
- Brown rice
- 1:1 Gluten free flour blend
- Chickpea (a.k.a garbanzo bean)
Recipes to try: Whole Wheat Eggless Pancakes, Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bars, Apple Cinnamon Bread, Gluten Free Buckwheat Pancakes, Vegan Cinnamon Cookies, Strawberry Glazed Chocolate Vegan Donuts, Easy Vegan Jalapeño Cornbread, Veggie Potato Fritters
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Arrowroot powder
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
- Dair-free chocolate chips
- Pure vanilla extract
- Unsweetened shredded coconut
- Unsweetened applesauce
Lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, canned or frozen fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, spices and herbs, condiments, and more should be on your vegan grocery list.
This really depends on where you are located. I live in the midwest of the USA, so I can only speak to what is available here. Some grocery stores that I frequent are Trader Joe’s, Target, Costco, Fresh Thyme, Woodman’s, Mariano’s, Whole Foods, Aldi, and Jewel.
If you know of any other grocery stores that have a good selection of plant based diet grocery list items, please leave a comment below with where you are located and the store names!
Here are 7 easy plant based breakfast ideas you’ll love.
And, yes, coffee is vegan!
I hope you found this list helpful! Is there anything you would add to this list? Leave me a comment below with your feedback.
Don’t forget to grab your FREE printable grocery list! You can also follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.