The 17 Must-Have Staples Every Vegan Kitchen Needs

17 Vegan Kitchen Staples

More people than ever are making the switch to a plant-based vegan diet. Whether you’re going all the way or just adding a few meatless meals a week, you need these vegan staples, stat.

Are these items in your kitchen?

17 Vegan Kitchen Staples

  1. Avocado: Fat, protein, fiber, and deliciousness. Enough said!
  2. Banana: From smoothie deliciousness to perfecting baked goods, bananas are kitchen staples. And if you’re looking for a sweet treat, try the Barnana chewy, dried bananas.
  3. Beans: What’s any kitchen without beans? They are inexpensive, easy to prepare and incredibly versatile. From simple black beans and rice to a white bean pasta fagiole to smashed pintos, homemade chili, lentil soup and more—it’s enough to make any vegan smile.
  4. Beyond Meat’s Beyond Burger: This is the burger that will make your meat-loving friends say ‘oh my gosh.’ It tastes like meat. It smells like meat. It chews like meat. It is peas, beets, and coconuts. It is the future. Find the Beyond Burger in the meat section of your local Whole Foods (yes, the meat section!).
  5. Coconut oil: Another healthy fat comes from the oil du jour, coconut. An excellent butter and shortening substitute in baking, coconut oil is high in the rare medium-chain fatty acid, lauric acid. It’s also great to use topically on keeping your vegan skin and hair glowing!
  6. Chia seeds: Protein, fiber and fats—what more could you want in a food? These seeds do it all. Sprinkle on salads, soups, yogurts, cereals. Add chia to smoothies or make chia pudding recipe.
  7. Flax seeds: Add flax oil to salads and smoothies for an extra omega-3 fatty acid boost. Sprinkle on yogurt, bake into cookies, brownies, or muffins. Flax seeds make an excellent egg replacer in baking, just grind, blend with water and get your healthy fats!
  8. Hemp seeds: Loaded with protein and good fats, hemp seeds are creamy and versatile. Like chia or flax you can use them as toppers, but they’re so good you may just want to eat them straight from the bag.
  9. Jackfruit: Pulled pork, step aside, jackfruit is a kitchen wonder. This tropical fruit is shredded and seasoned for a delectable pulled pork, barbecue, or even as a tuna salad. Just season the cooked jackfruit and serve. You can find canned jackfruit online or in health food stores. Or look for Upton’s Naturals pre-seasoned in the plant-based meat section.
  10. Kite Hill yogurt and cheese: This name-brand makes vegan yogurts and cheeses from almond milk (that the company also makes). The ricotta is simply divine in lasagna, and the soft-ripened cheese will satisfy any brie fan. The rich and creamy yogurts are simply irreplaceable.
  11. Nutritional yeast: It’s the secret ingredient to cheesy flavor and creamy texture without all the messy ingredients in processed vegan cheeses. Make your own vegan mac ‘n’ cheese in minutes, boost the flavor of popcorn and add to just about any dish that needs a flavor or B12 boost.
  12. Nuts: Nuts go a long way in a vegan kitchen—from straight snacking to butters, milks, homemade cheese and more. Recent research found even more benefits to eating nuts regularly (living longer sounds like a good deal, eh?) so make sure you’re adding them frequently! (Note for the nut allergic: seeds like pumpkin and sunflower are great nut substitutes with similar benefits and properties.)
  13. Seitan: Protein-rich wheat gluten, best known as seitan, offers a deliciously versatile “meat” perfect for stir fries, bacons, and more. Make your own or check out Upton’s Naturals. The seitan bacon is heaven.
  14. Tofu: Anything eggs can do tofu can do better! Scrambles and quiches or desserts, oh my!
  15. Tofurky slices and sausages: Sure, you could spend your afternoon making a seitan roast or sausage. And it would probably be delicious. Or, you could just go down to your local market and pick up Tofurky’s deli slices or sausages. The good people at Tofurky have been doing this a long, long time and they’ve perfected vegan deli slices for the perfect sandwich. And the Italian sausage? It’s the secret to a quick, healthy, and so super delicious dinner. Pro tip: slice sausage on the angle and sauté up with some broccoli. Dinner is done!
  16. Whole grains: Brown rice, quinoa, barley, millet, farro—whole grains provide versatile flavor and nutrition that vegans and meat-eaters alike can benefit from. For the gluten-free, quinoa, teff, and millet are great foods.
  17. Vegenaise: This sandwich spread makes for an excellent VBLT (vegan BLT!). It also works for a coleslaw dressing, adds zing to potato or tofu salad, and can be whipped up into a myriad of creamy sauces and dressings.

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Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and editor focused on the global food system and how it intersects with our cultural traditions, diet preferences, health, and politics. She is the senior editor for sister websites and, and works as a research associate and editor with the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group. Jill has been featured in The Huffington Post, MTV, Reality Sandwich, and Eat Drink Better.