How to Stock a Vegan Kitchen

on February 11, 2015

A well-stocked kitchen is the birthplace of incredible dinner adventures—because when you have key ingredients in bulk, trying a new recipe or experimenting on your own doesn’t seem nearly as risky. The pantries, fridges and freezers of those living (or considering) the vegan lifestyle are no different—well, except for the whole “no animal byproducts” part.

Keep it Vegan |Relish.comÁine Carlin, a dedicated vegan, talented blogger and now cookbook author of Keep it Vegan, is set on debunking the myth that living the vegan lifestyle results in a dismal pantry and lackluster meals. In her cookbook, amongst pages of tips and recipes, she offers a handy list for stocking a vegan-centric kitchen. Below, she shares her must-have pantry picks along with three of our favorite recipes from Keep it Vegan. It was hard to select just a trio—her book is bursting with accessible, beautiful recipes suited for all diets.

Áine’s Pantry Staples

Because I tend to do smaller store trips for my perishables, I like to have a pantry stocked full of cans and jars that can turn a simple selection of vegetables into a delicious evening meal in no time. From Dijon mustard to yeast extract, they all play a pivotal role in my cooking and can often transform a dish from fine to fantastic.

The Vegan Cupboard

I tend to avoid things like egg-replacer and arrowroot because I feel if I can get away with using a banana and some baking soda, then I will. Make life simple. That’s my motto. My style is all about stripping things back to the bare minimum without compromising on flavor.

Beans, pulses, legumes, dried fruit, nuts, and grains


Mark Boughton Photography / styling by Teresa Blackburn

  • Beans and pulses (a selection including chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans)
  • Brown basmati rice
  • Bulgur wheat
  • Couscous
  • Dried legumes (red lentils, split peas, etc.)
  • Oats
  • Pasta
  • Polenta
  • Quinoa
  • Selection of nuts and dried fruit 


Coconut products

  • Coconut cream
  • Coconut milk
  • Shredded coconut


Flours and baking products

  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Cornstarch
  • Flour (all-purpose, whole-wheat, and chickpea)



Mark Boughton Photography / styling by Teresa Blackburn

Mark Boughton Photography / styling by Teresa Blackburn

  • Coconut oil
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Olive oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Sunflower or peanut oil


Savory sauces, seasonings, and flavorings

  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Capers
  • Cider vinegar
  • Dijon mustard
  • Peppercorns
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Sea salt
  • Sushi vinegar
  • Sweet chili sauce
  • Tamari or soy sauce
  • Vegetable bouillon cubes
  • Whole-grain mustard
  • Yeast extract 


Sugars and sweet flavorings


  • Sugar (several types, including
  • confectioners’ sugar)
  • Agave nectar
  • Maple syrup
  • Orange blossom water
  • Rose water
  • Vanilla extract 


Tomato products

  • Canned tomatoes
  • Tomato paste
  • Tomato sauce


The Vegan Fridge

I have a handful of refrigerated goods that I use fairly infrequently, but it’s good to have a few on rotation for those times when you’re in the mood for cake or wanting to whip up an über-quick dip. However, I by no means recommend relying on them—treat them as a fun “now-and-again” alternative to those foods you might occasionally be missing.

  • Dairy-free mayo
  • Hummus
  • Plant milks (soy, almond, coconut)
  • Soy cream
  • Soy yogurt
  • Tofu (marinated and firm)
  • Vegan margarine
  • Vegan wine—not all wines are created equal! Some undergo a fining process that involves the use of animal products. Luckily most major supermarkets make life easy by slapping on a label that says explicitly which wines are vegan and which aren’t.


The Vegan Freezer

We say anything with a homemade butterscotch swirl can't be half bad. Swirl sticky-sweet, slightly salty butterscotch into your homemade vanilla ice cream, and well, you might want to stay seated. Ice cream at its finest, this recipe makes for a bowl of supremely creamy goodness.Get the Recipe: Vanilla Ice Cream with Butterscotch Swirl

My freezer is probably the least stocked of all my food storage areas, but that’s not to say it doesn’t hold some vital components. The frozen veggies are crucial for curries, dips, stews, and more, and while the selection varies from time to time, I always make sure to have peas and fava beans—there is a multitude of dishes that can be saved with some green-pea action. When my bananas fully ripen, I try to keep at least two (peeled and chopped) in the freezer for smoothies and instant soft serve—you’ll not believe how reliant you’ll become on them.

  • Fava beans
  • Peas
  • Sweet corn
  • Vanilla vegan ice cream


Dried Herbs

Some herbs cannot be substituted so easily for the dried variety, which is why I encourage you to stick to the following lest you end up with some very funky flavors.

  • Bay leaves
  • Herbs de Provence
  • Oregano
  • Thyme




Mark Boughton Photography / styling by Teresa Blackburn

Where would we be without a little spice in our lives? I’ve come to fall in love with cumin, have a long-held affection for smoked paprika, and am forever lusting after nutmeg.

  • Cardamom pods
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Chile flakes
  • Chinese five-spice powder
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Cloves
  • Cumin
  • Garam masala
  • Ground allspice
  • Ground cardamom
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Mild curry powder
  • Nutmeg
  • Smoked paprika
  • Star anise
  • Turmeric


Áine’s Vegan Recipes

Sweet Potato and Spinach Sushi

Sweet Potato and Spinach Sushi |

Ali Allen


No-Knead Carrot and Zucchini Bread

No-Knead Carrot and Zucchini Bread |

Ali Allen


Weeknight Noodle Stir-Fry

Weeknight Noodle Stir-Fry |

Ali Allen


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