Vegan food may have once had a reputation for the bland and boring, but a modern vegan diet includes a world of culinary excitement. To make sure you always have the best ingredients on hand, you need a well-stocked store cupboard.
Vegan non-perishables are vegan foods that stay in the cupboard to ensure even on the laziest days you can put together a decent meal. If your default lazy meal is fries followed by a spoonful of peanut butter, a full-store cupboard allows you to have a little variety (not that potatoes and peanuts aren’t good once in a while).
Wondering what vegan foods to stock up on? In this guide, we cover everything you should have on hand for creating quality vegan meals in any situation. From store cupboard essentials to some treats you shouldn’t do without!
What Are Non-Perishable Vegan Foods?
Non-perishable foods are foods that, when unopened and stored correctly, keep for a long time without refrigeration. Having a good stock of non-perishable items is useful for building meals.
The good news for vegans is that many non-perishable foods are vegan-friendly! Pulses, grains, and canned vegetables are all non-perishable!
20 Non-perishable Vegan Items To Keep In Your Home
1. Brown Rice
Brown rice is healthier than white rice, easy to cook, and adds a delightful nutty dimension to any dish. Vegans and non-vegans alike should keep brown rice on hand, to bulk out any protein dish.
Rice is an absolute store cupboard staple, and even if brown rice isn’t your thing, be sure to have some sort of rice on hand.
This recipe for brown rice stir-fry from Simple Vegan Blog is adaptable for whatever you might have in the fridge.
Noodles have become the quintessential lazy day meal, and there’s a good reason for that. Throw them in some vegetable broth, add a can of bean sprouts, and you have a filling and tasty meal ready for you in minutes. They’re also good cold in a salad, making noodles a must-have year-round.
Cookies and Kate’s recipe for sugar snap pea and carrot soba noodles is vegan and adaptable, just be sure to sub agave nectar for honey.
Or, just pick up some packets of vegan ramen to fill you up when time is short.
Protein-packed quinoa is a popular store cupboard item because it’s so easy to cook, and very healthy. Add some to your vegan pantry, and you open up a world of possibilities. This one pan Mexican quinoa recipe from Damn Delicious cooks quickly, and cleaning up afterward is simple.
Quinoa can also be used to make sweet treats! A chocolate quinoa breakfast bowl from Savory Tooth is just the thing for getting you out of bed in the morning. It also makes an easy evening snack when you just crave something sweet.
4. Soy Sauce
If you want to keep rice and noodles on hand, then you need to have the soy sauce to add flavor to them.
Soy sauce is an immediate hit of umami goodness, and it’s a staple ingredient in many sauces and stir-fries. But when you want to keep things simple, shaking soy sauce on your soba noodles is delicious anyway.
Once opened, soy sauce can generally last for a long time without needing to be refrigerated, unlike other sauces. For that reason alone, it’s worth investing in some low-sodium soy sauce.
5. AP Flour
All-purpose flour may never be the superstar of the meal, but any pantry is incomplete without it.
Used for sweet and savory baking, thickening curries, and creating creamy sauces, AP flour is an unsung hero. Buy a bulk bag, and you’ll be surprised by how quickly you get through it.
6. Canned Chickpeas
Canned and dried chickpeas are both worth keeping in the pantry, especially if you’re a fan of falafel. Use soaked chickpeas for this baked falafel recipe by Feasting at Home, which has a fresh taste without the greasiness of fried falafel.
However, canned chickpeas are also worth having to hand in. Although they can’t be used to make falafel, they’re so much quicker to prepare and can be used to create some sophisticated meals.
7. Canned Black Beans
The obvious reason to keep black beans in the pantry is to make black bean burgers. With paprika, cumin, and coriander, this recipe from Loving it Vegan is mouthwatering. Even meat eaters will be happy to bite into these patties.
But black beans have multiple uses, and they’re fantastic for chili, and soup. Black beans are particularly good in Mexican foods, so use them to bulk out fajitas and tacos.
8. Canned Lentils
As with chickpeas, canned and dried lentils are worth having in your store cupboard. The canned option cooks quickly, and with the addition of a few spices, makes an Indian side dish (or main meal), that’s sure to please the taste buds.
If you’ve never cooked with lentils before, this simple lentil curry recipe from Savory Spin is a must-try and makes enough for plenty of leftovers. Or use canned lentils in place of meat in your favorite bolognese recipe. They cling to the pasta and absorb the herbs and flavorings as they cook.
9. Canned Jackfruit
Shredded jackfruit has become immensely popular in the vegan community over the past few years because it has a texture similar to pulled pork.
This makes it wonderful in all kinds of wraps and fajitas, but it’s also useful for curries. If you’ve never tried jackfruit before, the first mouthful is sure to have you hooked.
This pulled jackfruit sandwich recipe from Vegan Richa will put a smile on your face on sunny days. And if you have a packed spice rack (which you really should), make sure to cook this Sri Lankan jackfruit curry by Olive. It’s surprisingly simple, but the flavor will astound you.
10. Canned Corn
Canned corn is essential for the store cupboard because it’s so versatile. It can be added to pasta and stews, tossed through with salads, or mashed and shaped into patties.
The bright flavoring works for so many types of cuisine, allowing you to quickly bulk up the veg count of meals by adding corn.
Throw together some appetizers and snacks using this vegan corn fritter recipe by Vegan Hugs. Heading to a
Thanksgiving dinner? Bring this vegan creamed corn recipe by It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken, and impress everyone with your contribution.
11. Canned Fruits
There are all sorts of canned fruits available, and it’s worth keeping a few of your favorites on hand for busy days. The high sugar content can put people off buying canned fruit, but you’ll be grateful to have something so simple when you have a sugar craving and nothing fresh.
Mix canned fruit through with oatmeal for a quick addition that adds a huge amount of flavor. These soft fruits are also good blended up for smoothies, and you can adjust the sugar content elsewhere to cut through the sweet taste.
12. Canned Tomatoes
Whether they’re fire roasted, whole and juicy, or chopped for convenience, every pantry needs at least one can of tomatoes. Add some garlic powder, onion powder, and a quick dash of Italian seasoning, and your can of tomatoes instantly becomes a lush pasta sauce.
Ambitious Kitchen uses its canned tomatoes to create a tomato soup that will warm you from the inside on even the coldest of days. It’s also a fantastic starter if you want something that tastes impressive, but cooks easily.
13. Silken Tofu
Firm tofu often needs to be refrigerated and eaten quickly, but silken tofu can generally last in the cupboard for quite a while.
Many vegans have come to love silken tofu because it can be used as a vegan replacement when baking.
14. Coconut Milk
Having shelf-stable coconut milk on hand will open up the possibilities for your vegan cooking. It’s a necessary ingredient in many curries, adding a hint of sweet and a creamy richness that completes the dish. Coconut milk can also be used for smoothies, topping cereal, or mixing into coffees and teas.
If you fancy testing your cooking skills, use coconut milk to create this vegan panna cotta from Vibrant Plate. Panna cotta is notoriously tricky to get right, but once you’ve nailed the texture, you’ll want to make it all the time.
Applesauce is worth keeping in the panty as a snack, but also because of how it can be used in vegan baking. If you’re after a quick treat, sprinkle some cinnamon onto your applesauce, and tuck in.
Running on Real Food has used applesauce to create these vegan muffins. The recipe comes together really quickly, and the applesauce keeps them moist for a morning snack.
16. Dried Fruits
Dried fruits tend to have a higher sugar content than their fresh alternative, but they can be stored for a long time before they start to go off. Easy for snacking at your desk, and healthier than biscuits.
But dried fruits have a use far beyond just snacking. A sprinkle of dried fruit can be incredibly useful in boosting the flavor profile of otherwise uninteresting meals.
A handful of dried fruit on vegan yogurt adds taste and texture, and the same happens if you stir them through oatmeal. They also come in handy when baking!
Don’t forget to use dried fruits for savory foods as well. Goji berries can go particularly well in salads.
One fruit all vegans should have on hand — Medjool dates. The sticky treat forms the base of many vegan snacks.
17. Nut Butters
Peanut butter is the obvious choice for nut butter, but don’t let that hold you back! From Cashew butter to almond butter, to hazelnut butter, there is so many nut butter out there ready to add something new to your meals.
It might seem like the simplest option, but peanut butter is still the stand-out nut butter because of how easily it can be used in savory cooking. Many Asian dishes use peanuts as a primary ingredient, and peanut butter can bring a creamy nutty deliciousness. Like in this vegan peanut curry by Lazy Cat Kitchen.
18. Nuts And Seeds
Using nuts and seeds as a tasty source of protein is something most vegans will understand. They make simple additions to sweet and savory dishes, adding a nutty dimension that really brings depth.
One nut you have to keep in the house is cashew nuts. First, you can make a delicious cashew nut curry, like this recipe from The Flavor Bender. Second, so you can make cashew cream. By soaking your cashews and blending, as Not Enough Cinnamon does in their cashew cream recipe, you create a fantastic base for creamy sauces.
19. Granola Bars/Rolled Oats
Rolled oats have uses far beyond oatmeal, and this cheap, long-lasting non-perishable is always worth having in the pantry.
Granola bars are a simple snack that can be flavorful, healthy, and a fairly rounded meal when you’re running out of time.
Make your own granola bars using this 5-ingredient recipe from Minimalist Baker. It’s really customizable, and uses ingredients you should already have in your store cupboard.
The main reason to keep popcorn in your pantry is simply that everyone loves popcorn. The versatile treat is a crowd-pleasing favorite, and something healthy to snack on during the day (depending on exactly what toppings you choose).
Use the vegan favorite nutritional yeast for cheesy popcorn or a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar for a sweet tooth.