Use this list to ensure that your kitchen is stocked up with all of your vegan essentials! This post is super helpful for both aspiring and veteran vegans alike.

When I decided to go vegan this year, I dove in head first. Luckily, my husband decided to start eating a mostly plant-based diet too, so it’s made it a lot easier on me in terms of grocery shopping and cooking.


However, I knew I needed to learn how to make tasty meals that would keep full and energized, and I needed to learn quickly. I began experimenting in the kitchen, and started reading vegan blogs to see how they incorporated certain ingredients into their meals.


While many people may assume that being vegan must mean that you’re hungry all the time, that’s just not the case. It’s all about knowing what ingredients to buy and how to make a meal out of them.  If you keep certain things in your kitchen pantry at all times, you’ll never feel deprived. Simply stock up each time you’re at the grocery store, and you’ll be able to whip up a quick meal in no time.

Must-Have Vegan Ingredients for Beginners

I’ve divided the ingredients into categories, which I think will make it easier on you. The ingredients that I simply cannot live without are highlighted in red. Happy shopping!


Grains and Pasta
Brown Rice
White Rice
Dry pastas






Sunflower Seeds (*These are great for adding to salads or on avocado toast!)
Flax seeds *for baking, and fiber
Chia seeds *used in overnight oats
Pepitas (Raw Pumpkin Seeds)



Beans (*A staple in so many vegan meals. I buy canned for convenience.)

Chickpeas aka garbanzo beans
Black beans *for making burgers
Pinto beans *great for making refried beans that you can spread on a tortilla or tostada
Cannellini beans *for pasta dishes

Milk Alternatives

Almond milk
Soy milk
Cashew milk *My husband loves this in his coffee
Hemp Milk
Coconut Milk
Rice Milk

Butter Alternatives
Earth Balance Original Buttery Spread
Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks *perfect for baking!

Olive oil
Sesame Oil *for Asian-inspired dressings
Coconut Oil



Brown sugar
Maple Syrup


Nut butters:

Peanut butter
Cashew butter
Almond Butter


Breads and tortillas

Whole wheat bread
Large flour tortillas
Corn tortillas
Tortilla chips
Pita Bread


Meat Alternatives

Soy Chorizo*great for making breakfast burritos



Canned diced tomatoes
Tomato paste
Tomato sauce
Canned olives
Jarred Pepperoncini Peppers
Nutritional yeast *is great for replacing cheese!
Soy sauce
Better Than Bouillon *adds a ton of flavor and it’s even better than chicken bouillon cubes!



Avocados *technically a fruit!
Red Onions
Romaine Lettuce
Cillantro *fresh herb
Frozen potato hashbrowns *really good in breakfast burritos!


Once you have some of these staples in your kitchen, you’ll begin to get more comfortable with cooking vegan meals, and you’ll even start to add your own ingredients to your must-have list. Remember, this is just a basic list to get you started.  If you’re looking for some vegan breakfast recipes, check out a few I make for my husband here. If you have a sweet tooth and can’t fathom not having your favorite desserts, check out my dessert recipes that taste amazing but don’t contain milk, butter or eggs!