Going Plant-Based 101 – Fridge and Pantry Essentials

With the recent release of documentaries like The Game Changers available on Netflix and Beyond Meat products launching at a number of Canadian fast-food chains, the popularity of plant-based eating is increasing! So, here you are, trying to make the switch to plant-based eating, you look up a bomb-a$$ vegan/plant-based recipe, but you don’t have half the ingredients and what the heck is tempeh? Like any newbie, you’ve turned to the interwebs to find answers. Well, we’re here to help.

We were new at this whole vegan thing, too. While we’ve been vegetarian for several years, over the last year, we’ve been making the switch to a fully plant-based diet. So, to help others who are making this transition, as well, we are writing series of posts with essential fridge and pantry items, tips on plant-based substitutions and alternatives, our favourite plant-based recipes, the best Instagram accounts and bloggers to follow, and more!

In this first post, we’ll outline some essential fridge and pantry items to stock up on all the goods for plant-based cooking! Having a well stocked pantry and fridge will be a huge benefit when cooking new plant-based meals and will ensure you have a great experience with your new eating habits.

Pantry Essentials

  • Brown Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Rice Noodles
  • Udon Noodles (or any other stir fry noodle without egg or dairy)
  • Whole Wheat Pasta
  • Canned or Dried Lentils (Red, green, or brown)
  • Canned or Dried Chickpeas
  • Canned or Dried Black Beans
  • Canned Diced Tomatoes
  • Coconut Milk (full fat)
  • Nutritional Yeast (Bob’s Red Mill brand found in the baking aisle or at Bulk Barn)
  • Raw Cashews (Bulk Barn or other bulk stores)
  • Rolled Oats, Steel Cut Oats, or Granola
  • Corn Starch
  • Chickpea Flour (also called Garbanzo Flour)
  • Vegetable Oil (Coconut Oil or EVOO)
  • Sesame Oil
  • Natural Peanut Butter
  • Protein Powder (IronVegan or other Soy or Pea based protein powder)

Fridge Essentials

  • Extra Firm Tofu
  • Vegetables of Choice (e.g. Broccoli, Carrot, Bell Peppers, Cucumber, Spinach or Kale, Onion, Zucchini, Mushrooms, Avocado)
  • Fruit of Choice (e.g. Bananas, Apples, Kiwis, Berries (fresh or frozen))
  • Soy Sauce or Tamari
  • Oat Milk (Unsweetened Original – or any other type of plant milk like almond, soy, or pea)
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Chili Sauce/Sriracha
  • Salsa
  • Red Curry Paste (found in ethnic isle of most grocery stores)
  • Maple Syrup
  • Lemon Juice
  • Tahini (found in most grocery stores or in bulk at Bulk Barn/other bulk stores)
  • Vegan Mayo (Hellman’s Vegan Mayo or Earth Island Veganaise)
  • Vegan Becel (make sure you get the one that says “vegan” not just “made with plant-based oils”!)

Making the switch

While we are advocates for eating a plant-based diet, we are also advocates for the environment and reducing waste. We don’t recommend trashing all of your non-plant-based ingredients in favour of the plant-based ingredients listed above. Instead, replace items as you run out. For example, don’t toss out a half full jar of Mayo! Use it up and when it’s time to head to the grocery store, pick up the vegan/plant-based version instead. Food waste is a major problem and we do not want to condone this waste.

Some of you may find it easiest to make the switch “cold turkey”. If that’s the case, find someone who you can give your non-plant-based ingredients to so that they do not go to waste.

Coming up next

Over the next few weeks, we will be writing additional informative posts, which will help you on your plant-based journey. We will include information on our favourite plant-based recipes, substitutions and alternatives, the best Instagram accounts to follow for inspiration, our favourite bloggers and plant-based advocates, and more. Let us know in the comments below if there is a certain topic you would like to see!

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