Are you considering a vegan or plant-based lifestyle? That’s a great choice. But it’s not something you can rush into haphazardly. Your health is essential, and a key factor will always be making sure you have a balanced diet. Some people may feel comfortable making the change overnight, whereas others may take some time and slowly transition themselves into this new way of eating. Both options are completely understandable. This has always been a safe space. No judgement. But, if you’re trying to save money at the store. You’re going to want to keep these budget-friendly vegan pantry staples on hand.
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When I first went vegan, I did it overnight with very little thought. I had seen some videos and decided that this was for me. I had absolutely no nutritional knowledge, an incredibly low food budget and was starting at rock bottom. With absolutely no support, and like most. A whole lot of judgement. I had no idea what to have on hand or anything about pantry-safe protein options. I very rarely ate beans and had never had lentils before. Basically what I am saying is, don’t do what I did.
So, what do you need on hand in a budget-friendly vegan/plant-based pantry? I’m so glad you asked. The most important items will come in both canned and dry forms. Let me explain why. While canned products are great, quick and convenient, they are not always the best price-wise (unless they are on sale). Whereas with dry beans, lentils etc. You have a much better price point. You can buy them at your store or in bulk if you happen to have a zero-waste shop or a bulk shop. Your dried beans and legumes are going to have a longer shelf life (if you can keep them in stock that long) than your canned goods would. Basically, you can count on canned convenience to cost just a bit more than dried. That’s why you want to focus on dried goods regularly and get your canned products when they come on sale.
Legumes are defined as Beans, Peas and Lentils. Beans and Lentils will honestly be some of your best ingredients. Especially if you are new to these ways of cooking. So let’s start with beans. If you know what kind of beans you like, you’re already partially there. If you don’t however. Then I recommend you start with Chickpeas. Lots of them. There are so many great vegan/plant-based dishes that use them, Other than that, I suggest cannellini and black beans to round them out. But, feel free to add others in as you wish.
Lentils are super easy to use and very versatile. You can get red, brown or green lentils. They are used in Sloppy Joes, meatloaf, burgers etc. A super versatile ingredient.
This may seem obvious, but not a lot of people remember what an awesome staple this is to have around. And how versatile it is. Those burgers I was talking about above! Yeah, they can use rice as a kind of binder. It also gives a great texture to your veggie burger as well. You are going to want to find rice in large bags. When you can get them on sale. Because they can be a little expensive.
I think this is pretty self-explanatory. All-Purpose Flour is a go-to in my home, but if you can afford whole wheat or even unbleached. Absolutely, by all means, go for it. Flour is used in so many things. Loaves of bread, desserts, it’s used as a thickener for different sauces etc. This is another obvious must-have.
Seasonings are your friend regardless of what you eat. But, the ones you will probably use the most! Garlic powder (not garlic salt), Onion Powder (again, not onion salt), Nutritional Yeast (It gives a nutty flavour, helps thicken your dish, and some even say it tastes cheesy).
Herbs and spices are the variety of life in your food. You should always have a good selection of them in your budget-friendly vegan pantry staples.
Carrots, Onions & Potatoes
Great fresh Pantry staples. Root vegetables are great options, but they do need to be checked on and used as much as possible. But, these three lovely ingredients could sometimes be the only fresh produce you have. While that is totally fine for some. Others tend to crave the freshness of vegetables. This can help with that. And yes, I don’t refrigerate my carrots. They are root vegetables. So I keep them in my pantry area.
Carrot, Onion & potato Recipes
This is definitely a variety of options. You will probably want to keep whole canned tomatoes on hand at the bare minimum. These can easily be pureed into a sauce or chopped down for stews, chilis, etc. You will also want to get some tomato paste. This too can be used as tomato sauce. You just have to water it down.
Now, while you can definitely make your own pasta. Most pasta (especially on sale) is super inexpensive. Usually around $1 or less, depending on where you shop of course. As well as where you live in the world. But it’s honestly so versatile, cold or hot. I don’t really think I need to sell you on this one.
Do you know how many options you have here? There are so many amazing grains to choose from. All of which are very reasonably priced. Choose from oatmeal (sweet or savoury?) bulgar, popcorn, rice, couscous or barley. So many options, all of which are absolutely delicious. They make great additions to soups, salads, and so much more.
Tag me on Instagram @thediscountvegan and hashtag #thediscountvegan or #thediscountveganrecipes if you recreate these budget-friendly vegan pantry staples dishes. I can’t wait to see your photos!