What to stock in your plant-based pantry —plus, 10 must-make recipes
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If you’re like us, staying home to practice social distancing is giving you more time to focus on homebody-type activities you may not usually have time for. Like reading, listening to podcasts, knitting, and cooking.

With farmers markets closed and grocery store trips being kept to a minimum, now’s a great time to practice plant-based cooking with pantry staples. Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve got you!

Here’s your go-to guide on stocking up for staying in. Plus, 10 plant-based recipes that use pantry staples. 

What to stock in your plant-based pantry 

cooking vegetables

Make the most of your next grocery trip by stocking up on the items on this list. Having these basic items on hand will make cooking during self-isolation much easier. 

Chances are, you have many of these ingredients already in your pantry. 

Beans and legumes 

  • Black beans 
  • Chickpeas 
  • Lentils 

A note about canned beans: When selecting canned beans, always look for BPA-free on the label, and be sure to drain and rinse beans before using them. 

If you’d prefer to use dry beans, soak them in a large bowl of water for 8 – 12 hours prior to using them. This will make them easier to digest and reduce bloating.

Flours and grains

All-purpose flour  Brown rice
Gluten-free flour (preference) Old fashioned rolled oats 
Pasta Tortillas
Whole wheat flour Quinoa

Nuts and seeds 

Almonds   Cashews 
Chia seeds Flaxseed 
Pecans  Walnuts

A note about nuts and seeds: Where you store your nuts and seeds depends on when you plan to use them. If you expect you’ll use them within two – four months, store them in airtight, non-permeable containers in a cool, dark place. If you’ll be storing them for longer than four months, put them in the fridge or freezer. 

A note about flaxseed: Ground flaxseed offers the most nutritional value. Store whole flaxseed in the fridge or freezer and grind just before using. 

Oils and vinegars

Apple cider vinegar  Coconut oil
Olive oil Seasoned rice vinegar
Sesame oil  Soy sauce
Vegetable oil White vinegar 

Herbs and spices

Bay leaves Black pepper
Chili powder Cilantro
Cinnamon Cocoa powder
Cumin  Curry powder
Garam masala Garlic powder
Onion powder Paprika
Parsley Salt
Smoked paprika Turmeric 


Organic brown sugar  Organic cane sugar
Pure maple syrup  Raw agave

To have on hand for baking and cooking 

Baking soda Coconut milk 
Cornstarch  Dates
Hot sauce Nutritional yeast
Miso paste Tomato sauce
Vegetable broth 

A note about vegetable broth: To save money and prevent waste, consider using vegetable bouillon cubes. Simply add boiling water to make the exact amount of broth a recipe calls for. 

A note about nutritional yeast: You may not be familiar with this delicious ingredient if you’re new to plant-based cooking. Nutritional yeast adds a cheesy, nutty flavor to plant-based dishes. It’s also very nutritious, providing plenty of protein and B vitamins. You can find it in the bulk aisle at most natural food stores.

For more on mysterious plant-based ingredients, here’s everything you need to know about 10 “weird” vegan ingredients.

Fruits and vegetables

Bell peppers Broccoli
Carrots  Cauliflower
Celery  Garlic
Lemons Limes
Red onion Shallots 

For the fridge

Protein and dairy alternatives 

  • Vegan butter
  • Extra firm tofu

Natural nut butters 

  • Almond
  • Peanut

A note about nut butters: We’re obsessed with both peanut and almond butter, but it’s not necessary to keep both on hand all the time. Pick your favorite! 

Plant milk alternatives 

Almond  Soy 
Coconut  Oat
Pea Hemp

A note about plant milks: Most recipes encourage you to use your favorite plant milk, so there’s no need to stock up on all the types we’ve listed. Some recipes require unsweetened milk, so be sure to double check before you buy.  

New to plant milks? Take our quiz to find out which plant milk is right for you.

10 delicious plant-based recipes you can make with pantry staples 

  1. Chocolate Peanut Butter Overnight Oatmeal

Chocolate Peanut Butter Overnight Oats from The Wholesome Culture Cookbooks

This super easy (and ultra-creamy) breakfast recipe from the Wholesome Culture Cookbook is perfect for the home office. 

Makes 2 servings 

Prep time: 5 minutes 

Cook time: 6-8 hours 

  • 3-4 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 3-4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 5 oz container (equivalent to 2/3 cups) of vanilla or plain vegan yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 and 1/3 cup milk alternative of choice 
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt


  1. In a large jar or bowl, mix peanut butter, cocoa powder, yogurt and maple syrup until smooth. Then, add in oats, milk, ground flaxseed meal, vanilla and salt. Mix thoroughly. If using a bowl, add to jar(s) or container(s). 
  2. Seal and refrigerate overnight or for 6-8 hours. 

2. Buffalo Cauliflower & Chickpea Casserole (Dump-and-Bake)

With only 10 ingredients, From My Bowl has essentially made cauliflower chick’n wings a simple and delicious comforting main dish. 

3. 1-Pot Curry Lentil Soup 

This subtly spicy soup from Minimalist Baker couldn’t be simpler: it requires only one pot and comes together in 30 minutes! 

4. Garlicky Fettuccine Alfredo 

Who Needs Salad has put together a perfectly creamy, cheesy fettuccine dish —no dairy required. We’re making this one on repeat. 

5. Vegan power salad with lemon dill dressing 

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{NEW POST} My 28 Plant Based Recipes Made With Pantry Staples, Frozen Food and Sturdy Produce roundup is on the blog this weekend! 👩🏻‍🍳👩🏻‍💻 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Happy Saturday, friends. How’s everyone doing? These are certainly strange and uncertain times. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine blogging about this topic, under these circumstances! But like many of you, I’ve been reflecting on how I can best serve my community in this time of need — and its been so heartening reading stories of individuals and businesses stepping up to care for one another. 💛🙏🏼 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I’ve always taken great comfort in preparing nourishing meals for myself, my family and my friends — and that extends to all of you! In light of recent world events and the different realities we’re all currently facing in this unprecedented situation, this week I focused on what I could do to help. 🧐🌎 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ As we spend more time in our homes over the next few weeks (or months) and adapt to a new normal, we’ll inevitably be cooking and eating more meals at home — something I’m very passionate about. So, today I’m bringing you 28 Plant Based Recipes Made With Pantry Staples, Frozen Food and Sturdy Produce — the ultimate resource in feeding yourself and your family well, and economically, during this challenging time. 🍴👨‍👩‍👦‍👦 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I’ve scoured my virtual recipe box to compile 28 extensively tested, plant-based, inexpensive, easy to prepare, immune boosting recipes from breakfast through dinner (with snacks in-between!). Each of these recipes are free of dairy, gluten and refined sugar, but many also yield large batches — which are perfect for families, meal prep or freezing to ensure you have nutrient dense meal options on hand. 🍛❄️ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Although we may be socially distanced, we’re all in this together — so if you’re craving some time in the kitchen cooking, baking and recipe making, I’ve got you covered: bit.ly/2QxaJ68 🤗🧡 #justinecelinarecipes

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Protein-packed, super-simple, and ultra-fresh, this power salad from Justine Celina is our new go-to for lunch. 

6. Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Bites 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Bites from the Wholesome Culture Cookbook

Prep these energy bites from The Wholesome Culture Cookbook in minutes, freeze them – and then eat them as a sweet protein-rich snack whenever you need a quick energy boost. 

Makes 10-15 bites

Prep time: 5-7 minutes

Cook time: none

  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons raw agave
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons flax meal
  • 2/3 cup rolled oats


  1. Roughly chop dates then add them to a blender or food processor. Add in peanut butter, cocoa powder, and raw agave. Blend or process until mixed.
  2. Add to a bowl and mix in flax meal and rolled oats.
  3. Using your hands, roll the mixture into balls, roughly 1 inch in diameter.

7. The Best Quinoa and Black Bean Salad 

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This Vegan Quinoa Salad is my FAVORITE make-ahead lunch! It keeps well in the fridge for days if you’re the type who can eat the same thing several days in a row. 🙋‍♀️ • What I love about this salad is you can chop the veggies and make the dressing while the quinoa cooks— making you ultra-efficient with your time. It’s all done in less than 30 minutes, and you can eat it for days! 🙌🏻 • I use the @instantpotofficial to make the quinoa so it’s 100% hands-off, but I’ve included stove top directions for you in this recipe, since that’s how I’ve been making it for years prior to owning my pressure cooker. • And just because you may eat this several days in a row doesn’t mean you can’t change up the toppings to keep things interesting! I like to add Chickpeas sometimes for extra #plantbased protein, and other times I’ll add a sprinkle of feta for a non-vegan lunch. (Any protein can be added, really, just like any other salad!) • I hope you’ll give this recipe a shot soon, and make sure you have FRESH herbs on hand. They really take the flavor over the top! Head to my profile 👉 @detoxinista for a direct link to the recipe. • • https://detoxinista.com/quinoa-pasta-salad/ • #quinoarecipes #quinoasalad #quinoa #quinoabowl #makeaheadmeals #makeahead #veganmealprep #easymealprep #sundaymealprep #mealprepmonday #saladrecipe #packedlunchideas #plantbasedmeal #plantbasedrecipes #healthyrecipes #healthylunchideas #healthylunches #saladtogo #potluckfood #glutenfreerecipes #glutenfreelunch #glutenfreevegan #glutenfreemeals #detoxinista #dairyfreerecipes

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This hearty and healthy salad from The Detoxinista is an excellent prep-ahead weekday lunch idea. 

8. Quick and Easy Noodle Soup 

With this quick and easy noodle soup, Forks Over Knives has made the perfect vegan version of everyone’s comfort food favorite. 

9. Vegan Goulash (American Style)

This easy weeknight dinner by The Simple Veganista is pure pasta goodness! 

  1. Vegan Buffalo Chickpea Quesadillas

Spicy: ✔️Cheesy: ✔️Delicious: ✔️

This recipe from RainbowPlantLife checks all the boxes.


Looking for more plant-based recipes? 

The Wholesome Culture Cookbook contains 80+ nourishing plant-based recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and dessert! 

Plant-based recipes in the Wholesome Culture Vegan Cookbook


And for more ways to keep busy while staying at home, check out these other posts:


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