Stocking A Vegan Pantry: A Guest Post

I have for you today a guest post from Preeti Bhatt, the Zengirl, who blogs at Happy Heart and Mind about, in her own words, “finding simple harmony in life including health and food.”

I have been ambushed with work these last few days, and unfortunately blogging has had to take a backseat. Preeti was kind enough to offer to tide me over by writing a post on stocking a vegan pantry. Since this is something I’d thought of doing in the past but never got around to, I jumped at her offer.

As Preeti points out, the list may not be a surprise to someone who is already vegan, but it can be a great resource to someone who, like Preeti, is a lacto-vegetarian trying to become vegan. It is also a great resource for just about anyone looking to create healthy and delicious meals.

For those who don’t already know Preeti, she and her husband, Parag, gave up hectic jobs and lifestyles to embark on a simple life free of most material trappings, along with their two sons. Preeti’s  life is a daily experiment in how living on less can make life richer and more meaningful.

This month she has been blogging about living on $300 for the whole month. I also enjoy reading her inspiring, recurring series like 10 Life Lessons I Wished I’d Learned Earlier and  101 Changes.

Here’s her post. Enjoy!

Vegan Pantry Basics
 By Preeti the Zengirl

Having the right and basic ingredients in your pantry means you can cook a healthy meal, hopefully in a short time after you come home from a busy and tiring workday.

I am not an expert, I bet many of readers here will know more than me already. What I have is a willingness and eagerness to learn and love all vegan and vegetarian food and live and eat healthy within a limited budget.

Holy Cow! was one of the few blogs I started reading a few years ago, even before I knew what a blog was. I was searching for a vegan recipe and landed here and got hooked ever since. Even though I have not met Vaishali, I felt connected with her right away because she has a zest for life, compassion for all animals and the creativity to create beautiful and imaginative stories that go well with her yummy vegan recipes and even yummier images. I usually salivate as I read her articles and then rush in my kitchen to make something similar right away based on what I have in my pantry.

I must confess I am not 100 percent vegan yet– I am a vegetarian who is almost a vegan. I still eat yogurt and occasionally cheese. For those of you who are vegan for a long time, this list may not have any surprises. I have created it for those who are at the beginning stage of becoming a vegan, like me. I hope regardless of where all of us are in life, you will find something useful in this post for healthy cooking.

I was a silent vegetarian for some time before I became vocal about being vegetarian and working on being a vegan. Being vegan is not difficult but it takes a little effort on our part, especially when we are starting out. A vegan pantry does not contain any animal products, yet you can make wonderful meals with what you have on hand. Here are some of the basic ingredients you will need in addition to groceries you might already have in an Indian or Asian kitchen.

Whole Grains:

* Whole Wheat Couscous

* Brown Rice

* Quinoa (Pronounced Keen-wah)

* Amaranth

* Barley

* Oats

* Millet

* Spelt Flour:

* Whole Wheat

* Wheat Pastry flour (Good substitute for Maida or while flour)

* Teff Flour

* Soy Flour

* Besan (Gram flour)

* Rice Flour

* Beans flour (Any beans)

* Grains flour

* Semolina (Rava)

Pasta (check labels because pasta can contain eggs):

* Various pasta shapes, like fettucine, linguini, angel-hair, spaghetti, penne, ziti, orechiette, farfalle, elbow pasta, lasagna noodles,  orzo, among others.

* Spinach pasta

* Gnocchi

* Rice noodles

* Soba noodles

* Potatoes Pirogies

Non-dairy products:

* Soy Milk (Plain, Vanilla and Chocolate)

* Rice milk

* Almond milk

* Soy yogurt

* Vegan sour cream

* Vegan cream cheese

* Soy and other Vegan Cheeses

* Earth Balance or other vegan butters

* Peanut butter

* Tahini (Made with Sesame Seeds)

* Cashew butter


* Chickpeas

* Peas

* White beans (Cannelloni)

* Red kidney beans

* Pinto beans

* Various lentils

* Black Beans

* Black-eyed peas

* Peas


(Many vegan do not eat regular sugar, as more than 50 percent of cane refineries here in the U.S. and around the world, including India, use bone char (which is a charcoal made from animal bone) in refining and filtering process. Honey is also not a vegan substitute for sugar as it comes from a bee.)

* Vegan sugar (white, powdered and brown)

* Agave Nectar

* Rice Syrup

* Maple Syrup


* Oilve oil (Regular and Extra Virgin)

* Canola

* Flax seed oil

* Sesame oil (great for Chinese recipes)

* Coconut oil (It is good for baking as well for your hair)

* Walnut oil

Nuts and Seeds: 

* Pine nuts (expensive, but great for Italian dishes and pesto)

* Pecans

* Peanuts

* Almonds

* Walnuts

* Sunflower seeds

* Nigella seeds

* Pumpkin seeds

* Sesame seed (while, black)

Canned goods:

* Coconut milk and cream

* Tomatoes (diced, peeled and pureed, with spices)

* Garbanzo beans

* Green beans

* Kidney beans

* Cannelloni beans

* Artichoke hearts

* Olive in Brine

* Fruits such as mango, apricot, mandarin organges, mixed fruit

* Canned vegetables such as green beans, corn, potatoes, pumpkin, yams, and more

* Water chestnut and baby corn

Dry Herbs and Spices:

* Chili Powder

* Turmeric

* Paprika (Spanish and Hungarian, which is sweeter)

* Chipotle chilies in adobo sauce

* Oregano (Mexican and regular)

* Thyme

* Garlic powder

* Ginger powder

* Sage

* Bay leaves

* Cinnamon

* Garam masala

* Nutmeg

* All spice

* Cloves

* Basil

* Cumin

Fresh Herbs:

* Cilantro

* Basil

* Mint

* Ginger

* Garlic

* Thyme

* Lemon grass


(Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables seasonally)

* Chayote

* Onion (Leeks, Shallots, Red, Yellow, White, Scallion)

* Avocado

* Eggplant (various types)

* Cucumber

* Okra

* Bell Pepper or Capsicum  (Green, Yellow, Red and Rare Purple)

* Squash (various types)

* Tomatoes and Tomatillos

* Artichokes

* Cauliflower

* Broccoli

* Cabbage (green, purple, Chinese, bok choy)

* Greens (collard, mustard, spinach, lettuce, watercress, kale, arugula)

* Brussels sprouts (a misunderstood vegetable that can be cooked deliciously)

* Endive and Sorrel

* Radishes

* Beets

* Carrots

* Mushrooms

* Yams, Sweet Potatoes

* Parsnip. Rutabagas

* Turnips

* Potatoes (red, white, regular and Peruvian purple)

* Asparagus

* Celery

* Chard

* Kohlrabi

* Taro

* Jerusalem Artichoke

* Jicama

* Corn

* Zucchini

* Apples

* Grapes (green, purple)

* Peaches

* Nectarines

* Figs

* Apricots

* Cherries

* Strawberries

* Blueberries

* Blackberries

* Mango

* Watermelon

* Plums

* Pears

* Kiwis

* Oranges (mandarin, blood oranges, clementines)

* Tangerines

* Lemons, Limes

* Grapefruit

* Banana (baby and regular)

* Dates

* Lychees

* Persimmons

* Gooseberries

* Gauvas

* Passion Fruit

* Breadfruit

* Sitaphal (custard apples)

* Star Fruit

* Pomegranate

* Cherimoya

* Pineapple

Other Misc.:

* Miso

* Soy sauce

* Thai curry sauce

* Topica pearls

* Vegan Chocolate

* Sea Vegetables

* Seitan

* Tofu

* Soy readymade burger

* Tempeh

* TVP (Texured Vegetable Protein)

Egg Replacer Suggestions:

Baked goods made with eggs come out chewy, moist but they come at a high cost, especially to chickens who live in very inhumane conditions and are subjected to pain and suffering. Eggs also come at a high cost to humans as they are loaded with antibiotics and hormones and are high in cholesterol. Eggs can also carry salmonella.

It is possible to make chewy and moist baked goods without using eggs. The measures correspond to 1 egg. If you’re using more, adjust accordingly:

* 1 teaspoon soy flour + 1 tablespoon water

* 1/2 mashed banana (for baking sweet goods)

* 4 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce

* 1/4 cup pureed tofu with little added water

* 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds (flax meal)  + 3 tablespoons water

* Store bought egg substitutes.

I have used these substitutes in my home successfully while baking cookies, cakes and savory breads so I know they work. For more information check out Vaishali’s Vegan Substitutes page for detailed resources on how to substitute animal products from cooking. Choose what works for you and your family. The ultimate goal is to eat healthy, natural and unprocess food that is good for us and our animal friends.

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

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  1. Anonymous says

    Nice article.
    Thanks Preeti and Vaishali.
    Many times people argue that vegan food is expensive. How do we prove even to vegetarians that it is not.


  2. says


    Thank you again for giving an opportunity to guest post on one of my favorite cooking blog.


    You are welcome and thanks for visiting my blog. That was kind.


    I can imagine many people thinking that vegan and organic means expensive. Making a food from scratch or semi-home made also saves money and health.

  3. says

    What a fabulous resource you’ve created, Preeti. I’m new to veganism so this is extremely useful to me. Plus – I didn’t know about the sugar refining process so that is one more reason for me to exclude sugar from my diet. I try to do that anyway, but this is extra incentive. I so appreciate your work, Preeti! I am head-over-heels in love with this blog now and a brand new subscriber.

  4. says


    Mostly I have made salad with Endive and for artichokes, I have eaten with garlic oil, or in pasta (inner heart par) or in spinach and artichoke dip with tofu also goes well for dipping.

    Maybe Vaishali has more suggestions.

    Note; I am answering all comments because I wrote the guest post, and therefor answer comments but Vaishali is still expert and boss here.

  5. says

    This was a fascinating post, Preeti. I am not Vegan, but my sister is Vegetarian, and we already eat many of these items, but I found many more to try in your very comprehensive list! I didn’t know about the sugar refining process – yuck!

  6. says


    Thanks for visiting here. I already use vegan sugar and maple syrup now. It is also interesting to see how many vaccines and medicines uses animal products! Thanks for stopping by. Hopefully your sister and you will love vegan recipes here.

  7. says

    Vaishai, I have been meaning to come back to this post since I read it. That is very useful information but I am more impressed with Preeti and her husband’s resolve to live a simple life. And living on $300 for a whole month! I have to check her blog out.

    BTW, I don’t usually solicit entrees for my event but this one is perfect for back to basics. No pressure, think about it.

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