There was a time when stocking my kitchen cabinets was an anxiety-producing act.

When I opened them, I felt guilty. Chips, sugary snacks, more chips…I knew these things weren’t healthy. I also knew I wanted to eat better, but back then I had no idea where to begin.

Eventually, I figured out how to replace all the junk with real, whole, natural foods. I also discovered the building block ingredients to always have on hand; making it easy for me to whip up quick, healthy and delicious meals. And that’s exactly what I’m sharing with you today.

Something to consider about your kitchen…

…it’s the most important room in your house when it comes to shaping your health and well-being! What you fill it with is what you’ll fill your body with. In other words, what you buy, you’ll become. And nobody wants to be junk.

So, let’s detox the cabinets and stock the shelves with some high-quality, nutrient-dense foods!

Below is a list of my favorite plant-based pantry staples. I call them “the essentials” because everyone can benefit from eating them…even the meat-eaters.

Use this list as your jumping off point to get started. Then, have some fun discovering which ingredients are your own personal essentials.

The Plant-Based Essentials Every Kitchen Needs

Plant-Based Pantry Staples

Whole Grains

The Essentials:      

  • Brown rice
  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Quinoa or Rice noodles

Beans & Legumes

The Essentials:      

  • Black beans
  • Cannellini beans (or white beans)
  • Chickpeas/garbanzo beans
  • Lentils: brown, red or green

Nuts and Seeds (raw, unsalted)

The Essentials:      

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Chia seeds
  • Flax seeds (whole or ground)
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Walnuts 

Oils, Vinegars, Condiments and Spreads

The Essentials:

  • Coconut oil
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • High Heat Oil (avocado, grapeseed, sesame or sunflower oil)
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Champagne or wine (red/white) vinegar
  • Natural organic ketchup
  • Mustard(s)
  • Nut or Seed butter(s) (experiment to find your fave: peanut, almond, cashew and sunflower seed are a few of mine, try crunchy and creamy)


The Essentials:

  • Black pepper
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Chili powder
  • Cinnamon (powder/sticks)
  • Cumin
  • Garlic (fresh/dry)
  • Ginger (fresh/dry)
  • Onion Powder/granules
  • Oregano (fresh/dry)
  • Sea salts
  • Turmeric (fresh/dry)

Natural Sweeteners

The Essentials:

  • Dried fruits (dates, apricots, cranberries)
  • Honey
  • Maple syrup
  • Sucanat or sugar in the raw
  • Vanilla


The Essentials:

  • Chamomile tea
  • Green tea (plain/unsweetened)
  • Nut or seed milk (almond/hemp/flax)
  • Water (add fruits and/or herbs to flavor)


The Essentials:

  • Acai (frozen)
  • Goji berries
  • Dried mulberries
  • Hemp seeds or powder
  • Maca powder
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Raw cacao, powder or nibs

Other Pantry Favorites

  • Almond Flour
  • Blue corn tortilla chips
  • Capers
  • Coconut Flour
  • Crackers (gluten free)
  • Kimchi or sauerkraut
  • Olives
  • Pickles
  • Protein Powder
  • Quinoa Flakes
  • Quinoa Flour
  • Rice cakes
  • Snack Bar (natural)
  • Sprouted bread
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Tomato Sauce (and/or pasta sauce)
  • Vegetable broth (low sodium/organic)
  • 70% or more organic dark chocolate

As you may have noticed, most of these items can be kept around for a year or more, just be sure to keep everything in airtight jars or containers, stored in a cool dark place and pay attention to expiration dates.

Want more?

To get an even better understanding of how I actually choose the foods that make it into my pantry (and how I weed out the ones that don’t), CLICK HERE.

Then be sure to print my FULL list of Kitchen Essentials and Extras — along with some of my favorite brand recommendations, to help make your next trip to the grocery store a breeze.

Print It Here 

Now, I’d love to hear from you! What are your favorite healthy pantry essentials? Did I miss any of your favorites? Or…what items on my list are you most excited to try?

Conversation sparks inspiration; so share, share, share in the comments below.