Kris Carr

Kris Carr


What You Need to Stock Your Dream Vegan Pantry

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Hiya Gorgeous!

I’ve heard from many of you (members of this amazing community!) that time is a major roadblock standing between you and healthy eating.

Finding time at the end of a busy day…
Making time to get to the grocery store…
Squeezing in time to plan recipes that satisfy your taste buds and your nutritional needs…

Sure, you’d rather sit down to a delicious home-cooked meal than takeout or a frozen meh (that’s right, meh… not meal!), but you’ve got a lot going on. Planning ahead, running to the grocery store for supplies or putting on your chef hat can feel like a stretch.

Imagine walking into your kitchen to find everything you need to throw together an easy, healthy, satisfying plant-based meal.

Whether it’s breakfast, lunch, dinner or a midday snack, you don’t have to sweat it because your pantry’s got you covered. Overnight oats topped with nuts and your favorite dried fruit, flavor-packed stir-fries, creamy pasta dishes and satisfying stews—the sky’s the limit when you have the right stuff on hand!


I know many of us (myself included!) get stuck in cooking ruts from time to time and need a little boost to reinvigorate our commitment to healthy eating. Having a pantry stocked with all of the essentials is one of the best ways I’ve found to get my creative cooking juices flowing, whether I have 10 min or a whole hour to cook.

On the other hand, if you’re just testing the plant-based waters to find out how this lifestyle suits you, you’re in the right place. Starting here will help you establish time-saving habits that’ll make healthy eating easier for years to come. And don’t worry if some of the staples on the checklist don’t look familiar.


What’s in my pantry? 5 must-have vegan pantry staples!

I’m featuring five of my all-time favorites that you might not have used before, but the complete checklist features over 90 wonderful ingredients (you don’t have to get them all at once—creating your dream pantry takes time, toots!). I hope this additional info motivates you to play with new ingredients and get to know your food a little better. Yum!

1. Raw Nuts and/or Seeds

Nuts and seeds make great plant-powered snacks, especially when you’re on the go. They’re easy to pack up and take with you to work/your kid’s soccer game/running errands/etc. But that’s not all… here’s a little vegan pantry secret for ya: Raw nuts and seeds can transform into fabulous nondairy milks, cheeses, creamy sauces and more! As you get more familiar with a plant-based lifestyle, you’ll realize how essential they are to have on hand. Cashews are my go-to because they’re so versatile (they make the base for my famous Vegan Penne alla Vodka!). And no worries if you’re allergic to nuts—sunflower seeds work just as well!

2. Nutritional Yeast

Fondly known as “nooch,” this cheese-flavored powder has been a longtime comrade of vegetarians and vegans. Nutritional yeast is full of B vitamins and it’s another (you guessed it!) complete protein to add to your repertoire. You may have heard rumors swirling around about there being MSG in nooch, but fear not—there’s no MSG in nutritional yeast unless it’s added (more info on this subject here). I love using it in sauces, salad dressings, soups and even in my organic tofu scramble. Go ahead and smooch the nooch, you won’t be sorry!

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

Your favorite wellness gurus may have recommended doing shots of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) because it’s been shown to help increase nutrient absorption, balance blood sugar levels, support healthy digestion and more. To reap the benefits that ACV can offer, be sure to choose one that is organic, raw, unfiltered and unpasteurized, with the “mother” included (the mother is made up of strands of proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria that give ACV its cloudy appearance). Keeping the mother intact helps ensure you’ll get the probiotic benefits that come with ACV. Be sure to dilute your ACV to protect tooth enamel since ACV is acidic. It’s great in salad dressings, sauces, soups and baking. Plus, it can be used in cleaning, as a dandruff treatment and for lots of other household needs!

4. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has a sweet, light, buttery flavor. Make sure to choose organic, unrefined extra virgin coconut oil since the hydrogenated kind contains trans fats (boo!). The saturated fat in coconut oil is mostly lauric acid, which supports healthy thyroid function and raises good cholesterol (learn more about healthy vs. unhealthy fats here). It can even have anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting antimicrobial properties! Use it in moderation (1-2 Tbsp per day) as part of your healthy diet. I spread it on my morning waffles, add a dollop to my veggie sautés or use it as an oil substitute while baking. Oh! And it’s also a divine skin moisturizer (we have a tub of it in the bathroom).

5. Sea Vegetables

These sassy sea plants are packed with marvelous minerals, including potassium, calcium and magnesium. They’re also a fabulous source of iodine, which is crucial to thyroid health. I like to roll up veggies and brown rice in nori sheets for some sushi, make miso soup with wakame and add a strip of kombu to the pot when I’m cooking beans (it makes them easier to digest—magic!).

Your turn: What’s a pantry staple you can’t live without? Share your must-haves in the comments below so we can all help each other stock our pantries!

Peace & plentiful pantries,

Add a comment
  1. Kathy says:

    I’m really on the fence with coconut oil. I used it for years and swore by it, but now I read so much bad about it, I’m almost afraid to continue using it. I just don’t know what to believe. Plus I’ve basically given up all liquid oils and rely on nuts, seeds and avocados for healthy fats. What is your take on coconut oil?

  2. Myrna says:

    Can you email your vegan pantry staples. I do not use facebook or messenger.
    I also wanted to let you know how much I am learning from you and have read your books. The one thing that I have noticed in the many vegan recipe books I have encountered is there is no information on the amount of carbs, fat, fatty acids, protein, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and calories listed for recipes.. Unfortunately this is an issue for me because I have to watch my consumption of potassium and fruits and vegetables have a lot. It would be helpful to have that information so I do not put myself at risk. What are your thoughts about having that information available for your wonderful recipes.

  3. Leslie says:

    I am unable to eat flour of any kind so is it even possible for me to be a vegan? That leaves only rice, quinoa, potatoes, grits. things like that. no nut flours either. but I can eat whole nuts and seeds. What are your thoughts Chris?

    • Mindy Gray, RD says:

      Hi Leslie! I’m Mindy, a Nutritionist here at Team Crazy Sexy. It’s absolutely still possible to be vegan! You probably noticed in the vegan pantry staples blog and checklist, there is a wealth of plant based foods. And many that aren’t flour! From fruits and veggies, to beans, nuts and seeds, and all those good fats, there is lots to choose from in the plant based world!

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