Stocking a Vegan Kitchen

Pantry Items


Extracted from the roots of the arrowroot plant, this tuber starch stays clear when added to water and has a neutral taste. Good for puddings, pie fillings and cakes. It gives a silky gloss to the appearance of food.


Look for a double-acting aluminum-free baking powder, like Rumford brand.


Not just for baking, baking soda can be used for cleaning and refreshing a freezer or refrigerator. Arm and Hammer is an old stand-by, but Bob’s Red Mill Aluminum Free Baking Soda works just as well.


Rapunzel brand Vegetable Bouillon cubes (Sea salt with herbs and No-Salt added with herbs) are a favorite substitute for homemade. Mix it with 2 cups of water normally to create a base. Swanson Vegetable Broth also has light flavor and does not change the taste of dishes. Not-Chick’n Natural Bouillon Cubes by Edward & Sons® is the broth used in the Vegetable Gravy.


We have a great home-made breadcrumbs add freshness to dishes, but if using prepared, try Ian’s Panko Japanese Breadcrumbs which are very crunchy. These breadcrumbs are great for covering the tops of casseroles or tossing with vegetables before baking.


Vegan options for breakfast cereals include those such as Grape Nuts®, Post Shredded Wheat, Barbara’s Bakery shredded wheat, and Vegan Granola with papaya cashew mix by Milk & Honey. Old-Fashioned Quaker Oats is also a popular morning staple.


Ghirardelli® unsweetened is great for cocoa and semi-sweet or Double Chocolate chips for baking, as is Ghirardelli® Hot Chocolate in Mocha or Double Chocolate. Ah!laska Chocolate Syrup® works well for topping ice cream or desserts.


Regular and light Thai Kitchen coconut milk in a can be used for a variety of purposes. Keep it in the refrigerator after opening.


Health Valley graham crackers are good for puddings and for pie crusts. Back to Nature brand’s Lemon Cookies, Chocolate Delight Cookies, Chocolate Chunk Cookies and Classic Creams are all vegan; Uncle Eddie’s Vegan Cookies, found in the freezer section, are a crowd favorite. Brown Rice Snaps is a delicious snacking cracker by Edward & Sons®.


This grain starch, made from ground corn kernels, has a cloudy appearance when added to water and a cereal-like taste when cooked. Can be used to thicken soups and gravies.


It is easy to add packaged seasoning to non-dairy plain yogurt, sour cream or cream cheese. Try making  our Chili Peanut Dip or Chive Aioli Dip. For an off-the-shelf option, try Guiltless Gourmet Black Bean Dip which does not contain added oil.


Ground flaxseeds have an earthy, nutty taste that can be used in many recipes and in oatmeal. They can also be used as an egg replacement in baked goods. Try the 365® or Spectrum® brands found in the vitamin section at Whole Foods® for a fresher taste than the bulk variety.


Bob’s Red Mill coarse or medium ground cornmeal and Arrowhead Mills regular yellow cornmeal are the ones I use the most. Masa Harina De Maiz® is the masa I use for tortillas, to thicken soups or for masa dumplings. For baking, King Arthur bleached or unbleached all-purpose and whole-wheat pastry flour seems to work best, often mixing the two in equal parts.


Making homemade hummus, like Roasted Garlic Hummus, is easy, but if you buy hummus, be certain to use brands that are oil-free.


Made from fermented soybeans and the malt of barley or rice, miso is used most often in soups. Milder tasting brands, such as Miso Master Organic Sweet White Miso, work best in most recipes. The darker miso have a heavier, stronger flavor.


A yellow colored yeast that comes in a flake form. It is good sprinkled on top of dishes, added to breadcrumbs for a topping or used in sauces. It has a “cheese-like” flavor.


With all of the different shapes and flavors of pastas available it’s easy to have a pantry overflowing with pastas. Look to stock yours with a variety of rice, wheat or buckwheat.


The Dr. Oetker vanilla and chocolate pudding mixes can easily make a tasty treat. Simply use non-dairy milk, like unsweetened almond milk.


Smooth rich paste made from sesame seeds used in making hummus and sauces. Sold in the dairy section and in the bulk areas of natural grocery stores.


After trying different brands of Mexican vanilla extract, which is a very flavorful type of extract, I always seem to go back to Citlali brand for its complex depth of flavors.


For tofu lovers, try the Wildwood Organics and Mori-Lite brands. Although most brands are pretty good, the refrigerated ones can seem fresher. There are basically two types of tofu, silken and regular. Both can be found in different textures from soft to super-firm. All are made from soybeans, but some are processed differently to achieve different textures.


Silken tofu has a smooth, creamy texture and is used in making sauces, dressings, puddings and creamy pies. It is usually found unrefrigerated at the grocery store in the Asian food section.


These types of tofu tend to be firmer and crispier in texture when cooked. They are best for stir- fry or for baking. They cut well and hold their shape. Extra and super-firm tofu is found in the refrigerated part of the grocery. It is usually packed in water but also can be found in a vacuum sealed package. The water-packed options are better for freshness. Freezing tofu before using makes it chewier.


Sprouted tofu is the same as regular tofu as for cooking and uses. Sprouted tofu is made from sprouted soybeans, so the difference is found in its nutrients. Sprouted tofu has a bit more protein and fat and tends to be a little richer in flavor.

Non-Dairy Products


Wholesoy & Co. and So Delicious plain coconut milk yogurts are good for use in desserts. My grandchildren love most of the flavored yogurts both companies carry.


Tofutti and Soymage cream cheeses.


Unsweetened ALMOND MILK is my non-dairy milk of choice for its creaminess and taste. My favorite brand of almond milk is 365 Brand® from Whole Foods®. Rice Dream Original rice milk is thinner than almond milk, but works well in some batters, like Okra Cakes (page 128). Avoid sweet or flavored milks which can change the taste of baked goods.


There are many choices, but Earth Balance vegan butter has a distinctly creamy flavor and texture.


Daiya cheese is low in fat and melts well. It is a little sweet, but good on pizzas or nachos. The secret to using this product is not to pile it on, just use a small sprinkle.


Healthy Top by Mimic Creme is a brand I have found which has a creamy texture and taste. Unfortunately, it is often difficult to find in the stores, but it can be ordered online.

Frozen Foods


Rice Expressions frozen brown rice is perfect when you need rice now. It comes in pre-measured packages of about 2 cups of rice and it takes 3 minutes to cook in the microwave.


Nuts and seeds of different kinds are always in my freezer. Use them for snacks, salads or stir-fry. Storing them in the freezer keeps them from going rancid.


I usually try to stick with a burger made with beans or grains and avoid processed soy protein. Make your own in batches and keep in freezer for convenience.


Dole makes sorbet in many flavors and Dreyer’s whole-fruit bars are good. Look in your freezer section because more choices seem to show up often.


So Delicious Coconut milk ice cream and Sweet Nothings non-dairy fudge bars are favorites in my house.


Frozen hash browns are quick to prepare without oil, so I usually keep plenty on hand.