When I was a meat eater, I always had last minute dinner fixes in my pantry — canned tuna fish, beef-flavored Top Ramen, mac n’ cheese (reflective of my college diet, huh?).
When eating vegetarian, it requires a slightly different set of pantry items than you may have already, so here’s The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Vegetarianism‘s list of bulk food pantry staples:
(since I live in a tiny apartment with only two cupboards, I’m really conservative with that I have on-hand at all times, so I have bolded my essentials)
- Raw nuts (cashews, almonds, or pistachios) – I always have cashews, almonds & walnuts, but when I can get a good deal I also like to have hazelnuts and macadamia nuts
- Grains (rice, couscous quinoa, barley, oats)
- Granola – if you eat porridge or oatmeal regularly, I don’t see granola as a necessity
- Nutritional yeast flakes – I’ve seen this in a variety of recipes, mainly my favorite hummus recipe, but I usually skip it
- Textured vegetable protein (TVP) — I have yet to use this
- Sesame and sunflower seeds
- Dried beans
- Bean flake powders
- Hummus mix — make your own, mixes are less tasty
- Tabbouleh mix – same sentiment as above
- Organic spices – don’t feel guilty if you can’t afford organic spices, I only buy organic spices when they’re on sale or not that much more expensive than the non-organic alternative
- Sesame sticks
- Carob chips or flour (in place of chocolate) — I prefer real chocolate, as I almost always have nice chocolate on hand to make Mexican chocolate tofu pudding, but also to throw on top of frozen yogurt, sorbet or a small chocolate fix
- Dried fruit – I’m a big proponent of dried fruits, as they’re great source of iron (a nutrient most Americans are deficient in, but the Mayo Clinic notes that vegetarians should be especially weary):
“Because vegetarians don’t eat meat, they’re at greater risk of iron deficiency anemia. Iron that comes from grains and vegetables isn’t absorbed by the body as well as is iron that comes from meat.”
While I will elaborate on iron in a future blog post, do know that not all dried fruits are good sources of iron — figs, sultanas (golden raisins) and apricots are all good sources — (The Vegetarian Society put together a nice list of iron sources for vegetarians).
In this series, part two will detail what TCIGtV recommends every vegetarian’s pantry should have in terms of prepackaged and dried goods.