As a long-time vegetarian and vegan cookbook author, I’m often asked for product recommendations for everything from vegan-friendly food brands, to awesome vegetarian cookbooks, to ethical home and beauty products.
Rather than sprinkle these recommendations throughout the whole site, I’ve created one master list right here for easy reference. That way I can be sure to keep it up to date too!
I typically keep several different types of rice in the pantry. But if you're only going to stock one, I would make it Basmati. It's versatile enough to be used in just about any dish, including ones that call for jasmine rice.
I serve Basmati rice with Indian dishes like vegan Red Lentil Dal or Vegetable Curry, and even use it for Mexican dishes like these vegetarian Burrito Bowls when it's what I have on hand.
Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are a super healthy addition to the pantry. They make a nice little snack on their own. But they're also wonderful anywhere you need to add a little crunch. Try sprinkling them over crisp salads, creamy soups, or baking them into homemade granola.
Almonds are another handy item to have around for healthy vegan snacking. And even better, you can blend them into your own homemade almond milk. Just be sure to buy whole, raw almonds if you plan to use them for plant milk. I like these Happy Belly ones from Amazon - they are a great value.
Raw cashews are great for making your own homemade cashew cream, a great substitute for sour cream or yogurt in many recipes. They're also great for making your own cashew milk, or blending into sauces for a creamier finish.
Lentils are a pantry must-have for vegetarian and vegan cooking. I personally prefer red lentils, like the ones used in my internet-famous Red Lentil Dal. These split red lentils from Rani Brands are my go-to.
The third type of lentils I like to keep in the pantry are French Green Lentils, which have a nice peppery flavor and hold their shape really well when cooked. These are the lentils I use for my popular Lentil Mushroom Salad!
Black Beans are one of my most used ingredients. They're a fantastic source of vegan protein, and versatile enough to work in all kinds of recipes from chilis to enchiladas to buddha bowls. I like Bush's brand, but most supermarket generic brands are also just fine.
Most of my recipes use canned black beans for convenience. If you prefer dry beans, I like these from Iberia.
Kidney beans are super nutritious and full of vegetarian protein. I don't cook with these nearly as often as black or white beans, but I do love keeping them on hand to add to my favorite slow cooker chili.
Daiya makes a really delicious line of dairy-free salad dressings. They come in flavors like Homestyle Ranch, Blue Cheese, Creamy Caesar, Honey Mustard, and Creamy Italian. These are great for tpoping salads, sandwiches, and even pasta salads!
While they are all dairy-free, they are all not completely vegan, so be sure to check the label for your favorite flavor
Pesto is a must have pantry staple. But most brands do contain dairy, typically in the form of parmesan cheese. I'm a big fan of this vegan-friendly pesto sauce from Mantova. It's full of flavor, with no dairy in sight.
Coconut milk is a great vegan substitute for heavy cream in all kinds of recipes. It can be used to add some creaminess to soups, add moisture in vegan baking, and can even be used to make dairy-free ice cream.
Make sure you grab the unsweetened variety, unless a recipe specifies otherwise. And be sure to know the difference between coconut milk and coconut cream (which is much thicker).
Diced tomatoes are a pantry staple for me. I love the convenience of having a can of tomatoes ready to go any time. They're great for making a quick homemade salsa, cooking into chilis, or even making a delicious dip like this Chickpea Tomato Dip.
These kalamata olives are a great way to add some vegan-friendly healthy fats to your diet, and they pack a huge punch of flavor too! I love them with any kind of Greek food - hummus, tabbouleh, feta cheese - you get the idea. These hummus bowls are a great way to show case them!
Green olives are also great to have on hand for adding a bit of healthy fat and flavor to your dishes. They're great on salads or sandwiches, or mixed into pasta salads as well. I especially love these Harissa-infused olives with a little kick of spice!
If you think all olive oils are the same, then you've never had really good olive oil! A high quality oil will make a huge difference to the taste and quality of your dishes. I always look for oils that are packaged in dark bottles or tins, which keep out the light and help keep the oil fresh much longer!
Coconut oil is a wonderful vegan-friendly cooking oil that has a distinct flavor. I really like to use this as a replacement for butter in vegan baking. I use it in recipes like these Anzac Biscuits or these Carrot Muffins.
I love making a balsamic reduction, which is simply cooking down balsamic vinegar until it forms a thick syrup. It's totally delicious drizzled over salads, risottos, flatbread - pretty much everything. But since I don't always have time to make it, I always keep a bottle of this Alessi balsamic glaze in my fridge!
I love cooking with ginger, but the fresh stuff goes bad way too quickly. So I prefer to stock this squeeze ginger in my fridge so I always have the taste of fresh ginger without running to the grocery store.
As far as vegan parmesan substitutes go, this one from Nooch It is one of my favorites. It's made from grated cashews and nutritional yeast, and gives just the right amount of cheesy texture for topping off dishes like pasta or tomato soup!
Nutritional yeast has long been a favorite among the vegan crowd. It gives a nice nutty flavor and cheesy texture that makes it great for replacing parmesan cheese in many dishes. I also use it as an ingredient in some of my sauces to add a bit of cheesiness, without the dairy.
For a shredded parmesan substitute, my current top pick is this one from Follow Your Heart. It's perfect for sprinkling over pasta, and even melts reasonably well so you can use it to top off lasagna or other baked dishes.
These cheddar style cheese shreds from Daiya are my top pick for a vegan cheddar cheese. In my experience, the Daiya cheese and this one from Follow Your Heart are the most meltable vegan cheese available.