How to Stock a Healthy Veg Kitchen

Photo: Diana Rebenciuc / Shutterstock

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The best part about vegetarianism is definitely the eating part. Getting familiar with these basic goods and stocking your veg kitchen makes reaching for a quick snack or the ingredients for any recipe a lot easier—and a lot tastier. For our go-to shopping list, we collaborated with Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, LDN, author of The Flexitarian Diet.

Dry Packaged Items

Brown rice for Mexican dishes, curries, and stir-frys

Lentils for soups, salads, pilafs, and dips

Low-sodium vegetable broth to give depth of flavor to soups and sauces

Nuts and seeds (flax, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower) for snacking, as a toasted salad topper, and for savory patés and spreads

Oatmeal for breakfast and desserts

Quinoa a quick-cook grain for curries, stir-frys, and casseroles

Rice vermicelli quick-prep noodles for soups, stir-fries, and salads

Sprouted whole-grain bread for sandwiches, toast, and an accompaniment to salads

Whole-grain angel hair pasta for a quick Italian lunch, noodle soups, and Asian-noodle stir-frys

Whole-grain crackers for snacking, or a quick lunch with hummus and veggies

Whole-grain tortillas for burritos, quesadillas, and pinwheel sandwiches

Whole-wheat pita for stuffed sandwiches and dipping into hummus

Canned Goods

Black/pinto beans for burritos, soups, and Mexican-inspired salads

Coconut milk for south-Asian inspired curries, soups, and desserts

Garbanzo beans for curries, salads, and DIY hummus

Kidney beans/white beans for salads, Italian dishes, and hearty casseroles
Tomatoes for pasta sauce, stews, and spicy tajines

Related: The Healthy Eater’s Guide to Pantry Staples

Fresh Staples

Avocados Whether smashed into guacamole, stuffed in a sandwich, or sliced in a salad, avocados always satisfy the craving for something tasty and filling

Carrots Great for snacking, in salads, and soups

Garlic crushed raw in salad dressings, sautéed with leafy greens, added to sauces

Hummus for stuffing into pita bread, dipping chips into, and slathering on toast

Kale try it in hearty soups, sautéed with garlic, and chopped in a salad

Lemons/limes/oranges add a bright splash of flavor to salads, sautéed greens, salsas, and sauces

Mushrooms with their “meaty” texture, and “umami” flavor, they add heft and satisfying taste to stir-frys, stews, sauces, and salads
Onions sauté to add flavor to savory cooked dishes, and try purple ones raw in salad

Red bell pepper colorful, crunchy, and full of Vitamin C, try in salads, pasta sauce, and spreads

Spinach sauté it, toss in a salad, toss into soup at the last minute, and blend into dips

Sweet potatoes try them roasted, puréed, or steamed

Tempeh makes excellent taco or sloppy joe filling, or addition to stir-frys

Tofu for breakfast scrambles, stir-frys, barbecued skewers, or tofu “ricotta” for lasagna. When frozen and thawed, tofu becomes chewy and hearty.

Related: 8 Herbs & Spices With Proven Longevity Benefits

Frozen Foods

Berries for your morning smoothie or hot cereal

Corn for chowders, salads, and relishes

Edamame out of the pod, toss in Asian stir-frys soups, or salads; in the pod, heat-and-eat solo as a protein-packed snack

Peas great in salads, soups, and sauce

Related: The Best Frozen Foods to Keep Stocked In Your Freezer

Condiments & Spices

Agave nectar a great sweetener for oatmeal and desserts

Balsamic vinegar adds a tangy depth of flavor to salad dressings, grilled veggies, and sauces

Barbecue sauce try it on sautéed tofu, grilled veggies, and as a dip for sweet potato fries

Cinnamon livens up your morning oatmeal
Curry powder adds pizzazz to whatever you’re making with coconut milk!

Dark sesame oil gives Asian dishes a toasty, nutty flavor

Mustard makes a great addition to home-made salad dressing

Nut butters (almond, peanut, cashew, etc.) use as a salad-dressing base, or sandwich spread

Olive oil is a tasty source of monounsaturated fat for salad dressings or sautés

Smoked paprika add it to soups, stews, and rice dishes for a savory, smoky flavor

Soy sauce more flavorful than salt, but opt for light versions for sodium control

Toasted sesame seeds great sprinkled on grains and grilled/sautéed veggies