How to stock your plant-based pantry
by Dr Leila Dehghan, www.drleilad.com
Having a well-stocked pantry makes it easier to follow a healthy plant-based diet. It also saves you time and effort and can help you to easily whip up a quick meal.
It’s best to think of our kitchen as having two types of foods. First, there are item that have a long shelf life. It’s smart to buy these foods in bulks because that helps us save money.
Second, there are fresh items we need to buy on a weekly basis.
Having a varied selection of the items in the first group helps you to easily prepare plant-based recipes and add variety to your diet.
Below is a list of some of the essentials that are frequently used in plant-based recipes. The list is not exhaustive, but serves as an inspiration. You will add to it as you try new recipes and build up your pantry.
Choose whole grains over the refined white grains.
Oats, brown rice, bulgur wheat, millet, barley, buckwheat, sorghum, rye, quinoa
Even if you don’t intend to do any baking, it’s a good idea to stock up on flour.
oat flour, chickpea flour (gram), wholemeal (whole-wheat) flour
Pasta & noodles
Look for pasta made from whole grain flour. Pasta is versatile and because it comes in different types (macaroni, linguine, penne, fusilli, gnocchi) it never gets boring. Also, don’t forget Asian noodles.
– whole wheat pasta -spelt pasta -buckwheat noodles -red lentil pasta
-rice noodles -soba noodles.
Even if you prefer dried legumes to canned ones, I’d still recommend having a few cans handy for when you need to quickly create a meal. Also, always look for low sodium options.
-chickpeas -black beans -kidney beans -pinto beans -black eyed peas -split peas -red lentils -green lentils -yellow lentils -Mung beans -Navy beans -soya beans
Nuts & seeds
Nuts and seeds add flavour to salads and also make great snacks. Opt for raw, unsalted nuts, and make sure to keep the nuts and seeds refrigerated.
-Almonds -cashews -peanuts -walnuts -hazelnuts -Brazil nuts -pecans -sunflower seeds -sesame seeds -pumpkin seeds -flax seeds -chia seeds -hemp seeds
Choose nut butter without added salt, sugar or oil.
-Almond butter -peanut butter -cashew butter -walnut butter
Frozen fruits & vegetables
Frozen fruits and vegetables are as nutritious as fresh ones, and keeping a selection of your favourite frozen items on hand significantly cuts down on your meal preparation time.
-Green beans -edamame beans -broccoli -spinach -Brussels sprouts -cauliflower -mixed berries -cherries
Spices & herbs
Add flavour to your dishes with a selection of spices and herbs.
-anise -basil -turmeric -ginger -cumin -cinnamon -cayenne pepper -black pepper -garlic powder -fennel -dill -thyme -oregano
Condiments are another great way to enhance flavour. Always, opt for those with no added sugar or salt (or which are low in added sugar and salt).
-Lemon juice -tahini -vinegars (balsamic, apple cider) -hot sauce -mustard -pesto -sauerkraut -kimchi -soya sauce -date syrup -maple syrup
You will come across nutritional yeast in some plant-based recipes. It is deactivated yeast packed with minerals and vitamins. It has a cheesy, nutty flavour and can be used in sauces or sprinkled on sandwiches. Give it a try!
Plant-based dairy alternatives
Keep a few shelf-stable/friendly dairy alternatives in your pantry for those times you run out of plant-based milk and/or a recipe is asking for it.
-Almond milk -oat milk -coconut milk -soya milk -rice milk -cashew milk