Vegan pantry recipes feature easy-to-make meals from stuff you already have in your kitchen. Canned goods, frozen vegetables, pasta, grains, and shelf-stable vegetables. No need to make a trip to the supermarket!
What Is A Pantry Meal?
A pantry meal is any meal made mostly with ingredients that are shelf-stable.
Shelf-stable ingredients include canned goods like beans, lentils and canned fruits and vegetables; dry goods such as pasta, grains and rice; frozen vegetables and fruits; and even some long-lasting fresh ingredients such as potatoes and winter squash.
Ingredients such as these can be stored for several months or years without going bad.
If you don’t have the time or the energy to get to the grocery store, you may think to yourself “what can I make with stuff I already have?”.
That’s where vegan pantry recipes come in!
A can of beans, a cup of rice and some herbs and seasonings can make a delicious and satisfying meal even when your fridge is bare.
What Are Pantry Staples?
Pantry staples are basic and versatile ingredients that you use often and like to keep on hand in your kitchen.
Pantry staples normally have a long shelf life and are usually inexpensive.
Each person’s pantry staples will be different depending on your tastes and what kind of recipes you like to cook.
You can make a vegan pantry recipes composed entirely of pantry staples, or your pantry staples can form the base of a meal to which you add a few fresh ingredients.
Vegan Pantry Staples
A lot of people think that veganism is expensive because fake meat and cheeses are expensive. Other people complain about not having “vegan options” where they live.
In fact, most of my meals start off with basic pantry staples that are easily accessible and very economical.
Below are some suggested ingredients that you can use to build your vegan pantry.
Of course, this list is non-exhaustive and will vary from person to person depending on your personal tastes and preferences.
In the cupboard
Beans and legumes: Any type of beans and lentils. Canned beans are convenient to just open and use, while dried beans are much cheaper but take longer to cook.
Grains, pasta and noodles: Keep a bag or two of your favourite type of pasta or noodles on hand for a quick and easy meal. Rice, couscous, barley and quinoa are versatile grain options. Oats are great for breakfast as well as baking and binding veggie burgers together.
Canned fruits and vegetables: I see a lot of people on social media saying that it’s hard to go vegan when the price of fresh produce is so expensive. Why are canned vegetables so overlooked? Mixed vegetable medley, whole or diced tomatoes, corn, green beans, beets, carrots, peas, pumpkin puree, etc. Keep a few cans of your favourite vegetable on hand to toss into a soup, stew, curry, pot pie or whatever.
Baking ingredients: If you like baking, you’ll want to keep flour, baking soda, baking powder, white and brown sugar, and yeast on hand.
Spices, seasonings and oils: A selection of your favourite herbs, spices and seasonings. I most often use smoked paprika, cumin, basil, curry powder, and chili powder. Olive oil for low-heat cooking and dressings, canola oil for stir fry. Peanut butter and tahini are good for breakfast as well as for making sauces and dressings. Balsamic, white vinegar, sriracha and soy sauce are staples in my cupboard.
Vegetable stock: Either jarred, canned or in cubes, vegetable stock is handy to have for a quick soup, stew or chilli.
Fresh produce: Potatoes, sweet potato, onion, garlic, squash and pumpkins can all be stored in a cool, dark place outside of the fridge for several weeks up to several months.
In the freezer
Fruits and vegetables: Just like with canned fruits and vegetables, frozen fruits and vegetables are often overlooked but are very versatile for a multitude of vegan pantry recipes. I like to keep a good stir fry mix for a quick dinner. Many, if not most, fresh vegetables can be blanched and frozen for another day if you’re not going to be able to eat them right away. Frozen berries are cheaper than fresh and great for smoothies and desserts.
Bread and baked goods: Bread, muffins, scones, cookies and biscuits can be frozen.
Freezer meals: Freezer meals are meals you prepare ahead of time with the intention of freezing for another day or any leftovers of a large meal you’d like to keep. I compiled a list of over 50 vegan freezer meals to give you some ideas.
In the fridge
Sauces and condiments: Vegan mayo, mustard, bbq sauce ketchup, sweet and sour sauce, chili sauce, or teriyaki sauce. These can be kept in the cupboard until opened and then refrigerated after opening.
Tofu, seitan, tempeh: Unopened in the fridge, these will usually keep for a couple of weeks. Just check the expiration date when you buy it.
Fresh fruit and vegetables: Whichever fresh fruits and vegetables you use the most often will be a staple in your kitchen.
Plant milk: There are so many different kinds of plant milk available nowadays. Choose your favourite!
How To Organize Your Vegan Pantry
How often have you discovered something at the back of your pantry that you didn’t know that you had?
When we’re unpacking groceries, it’s easy to just place everything on the front of the shelves and push the older items to the back where they get forgotten.
Try to get into the habit of pushing older items to the front and placing the newer items behind.
Also, don’t forget to check the expiration dates from time to time.
Have you ever seen those social media videos where the grandkids try to find the oldest, most expired item in their grandma’s pantry? Don’t be featured in the next one!
Try to group ingredients together. For example, keep pasta and pasta sauce in close proximity. Or keep all your grains together and all your beans together so you’ll know exactly where to reach when you need them.
If you want, you can transfer your grains and dried goods to storage containers that are easy to stack to help save space. It also makes your pantry more Instagram-worthy!
Keep your most-frequently used items at eye level. If you’re not a super avid baker, more the flour and yeast to a higher shelf. Keep your beans, rices, pasta and sauce where they’re easy to see and reach.
Vegan Pantry Recipes
I've scoured the Interwebs to find more than 60 of the very best vegan pantry recipes featuring canned good, frozen vegetables, pasta, grains and shelf-stable vegetables like potatoes and pumpkin.
No matter what you've got in your cupboard, you're sure to find a recipe here! Plus, I've included a bonus smoky lentil bolognese recipe at the bottom. Check out there recipes here:
Beans and Lentils
Pasta and Noodles
Vegan Pantry Recipes: Smoky Lentil Bolognese
- 1 medium onion diced - $0.15
- 4 cloves of garlic minced - $0.32
- 2 cups (480 ml) tomato sauce - $0.90
- 2 cups (340 grams) cooked lentils, canned or cooked from dry - $0.68
- 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika - $0.15
- 2 teaspoons oregano - $0.10
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar - $0.04
- ½ teaspoon salt - $0.02
- A few grinds of pepper - $0.03
- Pasta of choice
- Heat a pan over medium-high heat and add the onion, garlic, and a splash of water (you can use oil if you prefer). Sautee until soft then add the remaining ingredients and cook for a few more minutes to heat the lentils through.
- Cook pasta according to the package directions. Serve pasta with the lentil bolognese sauce on top.