The Vegetarian Pantry
Here’s a list of ingredients that I use the most. Of course, this post is by no means exhaustive (or do you need to have all of these items in your pantry), but they are the ingredients that I rely on almost daily. I haven’t included any vegetables or fruit as those change on the seasons.
- Whole grain pasta: Pasta may be my most-relied upon pantry item, and I eat it at least 3-4 times a week. I discuss all of my favorite shapes in my upcoming cookbook, but I prefer varieties like Dreamfields, whole-grain and legume based.
- Rolled, Old-Fashioned Oats: Perfect for overnight oats, homemade granola and muesli bowls.
- Wild & Brown rice: I’ve completely changed my tune on brown rice after making it in my rice cooker. Perfectly steamed rice, overtime. This, sautéed vegetables, baked tofu and sauce is my dinner at least weekly.
- Farro: I’ve really come to love faro over the past year. If you’re looking for a yummy grain alternative, especially in salads, try farro.
- Whole-wheat flour and white wheat flour: For baked goods.
- Quinoa (technically a pseudo grain, but since we eat it as a grain, I’m including it here).
I purchase these beans/legumes both dried and canned. If I have time, I’ll cook a big batch of dried beans in my pressure cooker to freeze in individual portions. I throw them into salads, grain salads, soups or pureed into hummus.
- Green Lentils: my favorite, especially in cold salads
- Red Lentils: since they break down so easily, they are great in sauces and soups
- Black Beans: for a minimal dinner, try cooked brown rice, black beans, salsa and some roasted vegetables.
- Organic tofu (firm or extra firm)
- Tempeh. Once you learn how to prepare it, tempeh is one of my favorite protein sources. I love it most as bacon, sausage crumbles or baked in sauce.
Nuts & Seeds
- Pistachios: great for snacking, I will often buy the individual packs of flavored pistachios to keep in my purse.
- Cashews: great for snacking, even better pureed into cashew cream.
- Chia seeds: I love these in puddings, jam and yogurt bowls
- Hemp seeds
Canned & Dry Goods
- KURA protein powder: BL and I drink this almost daily (the vanilla is my favorite). I love it since it’s not only a great source of protein (14g), but also contains antioxidants, probiotics and omega-3s. I love that I get a bit hit of nutrition first thing in the morning.
- Tomato sauce and chopped tomatoes: Chopped tomatoes are my base for quick salsa, sauces and soups. I doctor up prepared tomato sauce with herbs and spices for a fast marinara to cover pasta.
- Dates: one of my favorite natural sweetener options, especially in my vegan milkshakes and raw energy balls.
- Maple syrup: I stock 100% maple syrup for most of my sweeter needs.
- Peanut Butter, Tahini & Almond Butter
- Almond Milk
- Canned coconut milk & full-fat coconut milk for baking
- Low-sodium vegetable broth
- Nutritional yeast: For cheesy flavor, without the cheese!
- Sprouted grain bread
Favorite Inexpensive & Healthy Meals
- Smoothies and Smoothie Bowls using KURA protein: this kiwi smoothie bowl is hands down my favorite thing to eat after a workout. Smoothie bowls are not only satiating (thanks to all that protein and fiber), you tend to eat it slower than a smoothie, which can increase satisfaction. Leftover smoothie or smoothie bowl? Pour it into a popsicle mold for a sweet, frozen treat!
- Avocado Toast: plain, with sliced tomatoes, smashed white beans or drizzled with maple syrup
- Muesli bowl: make a big batch overnight to eat throughout the week
- Tofu Scramble with in-season vegetables
- Egg sandwich with avocado, sliced tomatoes, and whole-grain toast
Lunch & Dinner
- Quick Indian chickpeas: ready in just 15 minutes
- Whole-grain pasta with white beans, spinach and tomato sauce
- Lentil Tacos
- Red Lentil Soup: I always double (or triple) the batch to freeze for later
- Burrito Bowl: Brown rice, black beans, roasted in-season vegetables and avocado sauce
- Stir-Fry: brown rice, baked tofu, frozen stir-fry vegetables and teriyaki sauce
- Buddha Bowl: brown rice, sautéed tempeh, steamed spinach, tahini drizzle
- Hummus quesadillas
- Leftover bowl: any leftover grain, vegetables, canned beans and dressing of choice
- Trail Mix: mix of dried fruit and nuts/seeds that I get from the bulk bin
- Popcorn: I cook dried kernels in a bit of coconut oil and seasoned with nutritional yeast, salt and pepper or cinnamon
- KURA smoothies: Favorite snack smoothie; KURA vanilla powder, 1/2 frozen banana, nutmeg/cinnamon, vanilla almond milk and a splash of vanilla extract. It tastes like a snickerdoodle cookie, without the added sugar.
- Yogurt with granola and fruit
- Sliced fruit
- Apple and almond butter
- Brown rice cake with peanut butter, pear and drizzle of honey
- Sliced vegetables and hummus
Maximizing Nutrition on a Vegetarian Diet
What’s in your vegetarian pantry? What are your favorite quick and healthy vegetarian meals? What other vegetarian nutrition topics would you like see addressed?