If you’re wondering what this plant-based person fills their pantry, fridge, freezer, and root cellar with… look no further. I am about a year into my shift, and feeling pretty content with how I stock my kitchen these days. Let’s take a peak at what I try to have on hand at all times.
I aim to eat as seasonally and locally as possible – meaning from my own backyard – but it remains a lofty goal. Many of these items have come from my garden (especially those that are frozen or root cellared), but many of them are store bought, or ordered online.
I currently buy a bit outside of the seasonal/local scope for nutritional reasons, as well as selfish ones (I like variety!). This trend will likely continue until the garden is robust enough to provide more of what is needed to sustain year-round eating.
I have tried to categorize everything in a way that makes sense, highlighting what is most important to me, and most used. This post quickly got out of control (photo dump ahead), but I wanted to be as transparent as possible about what goes on in my kitchen, which appears to be a lot!
Salad greens, dark leafys like kale, spinach, collard greens, beet greens… you name it, I always have some on hand. I like to add a handful or two to nearly everything.
Other vegetables. Nothing is off limits!
These are Top 5 groups that I use all the time:
1. Alliums: Leeks, onions, and garlic.
2. Roots: Carrots, parsnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and radishes.
3. Tomatoes: All kinds.
4. Brassicas: Cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage.
5. Peppers: All kinds.
As you can see there’s a lot of frozen goodies from the garden, which I’ve been plowing through all winter. It’s always exciting to smell the aroma of a frozen summer tomato or pepper once it hits the pan!
Parsley + cilantro are always on hand and added to just about everything, as they’re the perfect finishing touch. In the summer there’s nearly every herb imaginable out in the garden, but there’s plans to extend the growing season so that there’s a bigger bounty throughout the winter next year.
Citrus. There will always be limes and lemons in my kitchen, as I use several of each daily. If I’m not cooking with them, I’m squeezing them into water for drinking, or atop a finished dish for an extra boost. Oranges make an occasional appearance as well.
Still can’t believe all these berries came from the garden!
If only I could grow avocados in SW Pennsylvania. Sigh.
Also always on hand, but not pictured: bananas.
I always have standard mushrooms on hand, like these cremini. They add flavor and texture to so many dishes.
Chances are I also have oyster (pictured), or shiitake as well.
This is a big one. Chickpeas, black beans, and many from our own garden are always on hand. They take a bit longer, but with the help of a pressure cooker, I can have fresh cooked beans in no time. I make weekly batches of hummus as well, so I need garbanzos galore!
Yellow Split Mung Beans for Kitchari, which I’ll talk more about another time.
It’s basically a party in my pantry.
The pantry is chock full of a plethora of goods including grains, rice, powders, seeds, syrups, elixirs, oils, vinegars, flours, nuts, and much more…. Too many to name all of!
The longer I go plant-based, the more expansive the collection becomes. I love my mason jars, masking tape + Sharpies.
Powered mushrooms – learn more here.
Gluten free made easy with these things on hand.
I use tempeh and tofu once or twice a week, in many ways. They’re both quite versatile and are perfect for that “meaty” flavor and texture. Included with “soy” would be a couple different miso pastes.
Homemade almond milk is a must (there’s never enough!), enhanced with a couple dates and a hint of vanilla and maple syrup.
Also always in the fridge:
- Briny: Olives, capers
- Spicy: Cholula, sriracha
- Sweet: Maple syrup, sun-dried tomatoes, dates, coconut
- Saucy: Tamari (soy sauce), mustard
- Spreads: Peanut butter and almond butter, tahini
- Seeds: Chia, flax, pumpkin, sunflower, etc.
- Fermented: Homemade kimchi, kombucha, kraut, etc.
I try to have them all! Here’s a sampling. I also have lots of pickling spices, and dehydrated/ground garlic and onion from the garden. When you’re plant-based, spices are one of your most important friends!
Green tea, peppermint, oolong, herbal blends…. I keep a good variety of loose leaf tea around. It’s a bit more work, but brewing up a pot is a satisfying ritual.
Not to mention enjoying a cup in a mug I created!
I have coffee as well, which I will touch on in my next post about gadgets.
Already alluded to above, the makeshift root cellar down in the basement holds the bounty of potatoes, squash, and alliums from the garden. It’s always a great feeling to just hop downstairs to grab an onion or potato when I need it.
Garlic and shallots for days.
Sweet potatoes in a loving coat of dirt.
There you have it! An overall look at my kitchen.
Keep in mind this collection throughout my pantry, basement, fridge, and freezers has taken over a year to develop. If you’re making the switch, go slow! It can seem very overwhelming (and expensive), and I intend to break down some of these categories in the future to explain some of the more mystifying things, and what to do with them.
I realize this post seems like a lot of food, and I suppose it is. But as someone who makes nearly every meal from scratch, I can honestly say that I use all of these items regularly and would be lost without them. I also feel as if I am meeting all of my nutritional needs, and thriving more than ever, with all of these items on hand.
Are you plant-based? Anything you think I’m missing? I’d love to hear!
This post is part of my Plant-Based Life series.
If you are interested in transitioning to plant-based, or just want to eat healthier, these posts will be helpful in facilitating those changes.
A plant-based diet is not for everyone, and I am not qualified to administer advice on what you should be eating. This series is merely a breakdown of what I have learned over the past year, and what has worked for me after much experimentation, research, and trial by fire. I hope you will seek out the best diet for your individual constitution so you can thrive as well.