A well stocked pantry is essential for the enthusiastic and creative vegan cook. Here I have shared with you the basics I have in my pantry which I hope you’ll find useful too as I use all these ingredients regularly in my recipes.
As a rule I buy very little ready made products, most foods I have in my pantry are spices, grains, seeds, fruit and veggies. I would definitely recommend that you scrutinise and read the ingredients on any ready-made products you buy from the supermarket such as sauces, condiments etc, you’d be surprised what ingredients are used in some products. I buy most of my goods in the local health food shop (they know me by my first name I’m in there so much!). I buy organic where I can and would definitely suggest you seek out organic too. Items such as nutritional yeast, stevia, date syrup, organic veg stock you’ll find in any good whole foods shop along with all legumes, beans, speciality flours and dried fruit.
Spices and Herbs
Spices and herbs are what brings a recipe together. With careful selection and right amounts spices can really change a dish into something rather special. I keep ample amounts of the following spices in my spice cabinet.
Turmeric, Cumin, Ground coriander, Black mustard seeds, Coriander seeds, Cayenne pepper, Black pepper, Fenugreek, Garam masala, Dried parsley, Dried oregano, Dried thyme, Dried red chillis, Himalayan salt, Black peppercorns
Fresh Herb Pots
I love using fresh herbs in my creations, I grow oregano, different varieties of mint and parsley (when in season). Fresh herbs can be used in recipes and as a garnish to sprinkle on before serving. How your food looks is important too, you want to create simplicity and freshness which fresh herbs help you to do.
Parsley (flat and curly), Coriander (cilantro), Basil, Mint
Grains and Seeds
My favourite seed has to be quinoa, this versatile little seed (which you can buy white or red) you can use in soups, stews and I even use it for breakfast, check out my Quinoa Porridge. Always buy organic where you can, especially seeds as they have a smaller surface area so contain more pesticides when non-organic.
Black rice, Red rice, Brown rice, Chia seeds, Quinoa red and white (a seed), Millet, Buckwheat, Bulghar wheat, Flax seeds (sometimes known as Linseed), Sesame seeds, Sunflower seeds, Pumpkin seeds
A lot of supermarkets now have a gluten free section where you’ll find gluten free pasta and spaghetti.
Gluten free pasta, Spelt spaghetti
Until I became a vegan I didn’t know how many amazing flours there were out there! The ones I use the most are buckwheat and quinoa flour.
Buckwheat flour, Quinoa flour, Gram flour (made from chickpeas), Brown rice flour, Barley flour, Oat flour, Spelt flour
Beans and Legumes
Legumes are complex carbohydrates which are slowly digested and absorbed. The slow release of glucose and energy from legumes is beneficial in regulating blood glucose levels. A diet rich in legumes has shown to help reduce blood cholesterol, lower blood pressure and regulate bowel function. Beans and legumes are an excellent source of protein, fibre, they are low in fat, a good source of folate, iron, magnesium, B vitamins and they’re rich in anti-oxidants. Stock up on these little gems as you’ll use these daily.
Red lentils, Green lentils, Brown lentils, Split lentils, Blackeye beans, Puy lentils (sometimes called french lentils), Mung beans, Red kidney beans, Chick peas, Haricot beans, Adzuki beans, Canellini beans
Nuts are extremely healthy and nutritious. They are an excellent source of protein, nuts have many health benefits as they contain lots of vitamins, minerals and fibre. Nuts are more nutritious if you soak them overnight, by doing this you also clean the nuts of any natural toxins, after soaking rinse thoroughly and use. I don’t use nuts a lot in my recipes however I make a very tasty almond milk.
Almonds, Cashews, Hazelnuts, Pecans, Walnuts
Dried fruits are a healthy alternative to refined sugar, which is a no no in my pantry and they are great as a snack! Raisins are cholesterol free, low in sodium and fat free! yippee! I use dried dates in my raw chocolate creations too! Medjool dates are the best as they are larger and sweeter, they’re an excellent source of fibre and rich in potassium which is good for a healthy heart and blood pressure.
Dates, Raisins, Sultanas, Apricots, figs
I like to have an emergency supply of berries when they are out of season so the ideal solution I’ve found is to buy frozen mixed berries. As a rule I tend not to buy frozen veggies as fresh is always best, however I find it very useful to have a bag of frozen peas on hand for some of my recipes.
Raspberries, Strawberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, Peas
I buy bananas by the dozen! I called these little yellow friends my ‘vegan fast food’, any time I’m out and about I’ll always take a banana or two with me just in case I can’t find anything vegan to eat (which is very often the case). Bananas give you instant energy due to their fructose and sucrose content, they’re high in potassium which helps to control heart rate and blood pressure, so an all round good fruit to have a regular supply of.
Limes, Lemons, Bananas, Apples, Pineapples, Tomatoes
I love veggies. I stock up on organic ginger which I use a lot in my vegan recipes, I also juice it in my morning green juice! Ginger is so good for you, it’s anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and a natural pain killer and brilliant for calming your stomach.
Summer 2013 was the first time I grew my own veggies in Beanies Organic Garden, I would highly recommend anyone giving it a go and start growing your own veggies, there’s lots of information on the internet how to grow things so if you’re a novice like me you’ll find your way. I grew romaine lettuce (last count I grew 54! which kept us going all summer long), beetroot, carrots, runner beans, tomatoes, kale, chard, potatoes, cabbage and even bought my first apple tree! There’s nothing like the feeling you get when you pick your own veggies and cook a meal for your family with them.
Onions, Garlic, Ginger, Kale, Spinach, Avocados, Fresh chillis (I use birds eye or scotch bonnet however I like it hot, buy regular chillis if you don’t), Romaine lettuce (when in season), Fennel, Carrots, Broccoli, Cucumber, Courgette (Zuchinni), Beetroot, Potatoes, Sweet potatoes, Butternut Squash, Pumpkin (when in season), Cauliflower
Fats and Vinegars
Oils and vinegars can add flavour, give texture and add super nutrition to your creations. I use coconut oil, it’s the healthiest of the oils to use in cooking as it’s slower to oxidise and less damaged and altered by heat than other cooking oils and adds amazing flavour. Apple cider vinegar lowers glucose levels, and may be helpful to anyone with diabetes.The enzymes in apple cider vinegar also promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut.
Balsamic vinegar, Apple cider vinegar, Olive oil, Rapeseed oil, Coconut oil, Coconut cream or butter, Tahini, Desiccated or shredded coconut
These aren’t essential, however I use these 2 superfoods in smoothies. You can buy super foods from any good health food or whole foods shop or online, just make sure you buy organic, it might cost a little more,however you are more than worth it! Chlorella is a green algae that grows in fresh water ponds, it’s 60% protein and is the highest protein source on the planet! Ounce for ounce it contains 3 times more protein than beef, chicken or fish. it’s rich in B vitamins including B12 so exceptionally good for vegans. Chlorella also detoxes your body of heavy metals like mercury which is found in amalgam fillings, it binds to heavy metals present in your digestive tract and excretes them. Spirulina is another favourite of mine as it contains B12, is high in anti-oxidants so boosts your immune system.
This is what I have in my larder. I make sure I have plenty of the following as I use them often in my recipes and new creations. Some of these items you can buy in the supermarket, however I’d first try your local whole foods shop as they’ll be sure to have organic.
Tinned chopped tomatoes, Tomato puree, Passata, Tinned kidney beans & Chick peas (for emergency use if you haven’t soaked and cooked a batch), Herb teas (Yogi Liquorice is my favourite), Rooibos tea, Coffee substitute like Caro or Chicory, Stevia (natural sweetener), Tahini (used in Beanies Hummus), Muscovado sugar, Organic veg stock cubes, Nutritional yeast, Capers (in a jar), Almond milk (homemade is best), Coconut milk, Date syrup, Vanilla essence, Miso
I hope you feel inspired and confident to start cooking some great vegan recipes!
love, Beanie x