Looking for healthy vegan recipes that are easy to make from everyday ingredients and don’t require a special trip to the grocery store? You’re in the right place!
Today I’m sharing vegan recipes from the blog that all have one thing in common: they are based on five vegan pantry staples that those of us who follow a plant based diet most likely have at home right now.
With everything going on in the world these days, cooking healthy meals can become an afterthought. We either feel too stressed to cook, or find that a lot of ingredients are hard to find at the grocery store or online.
This is when cooking out of the pantry becomes such a lifesaver!
So today I decided to share recipes from the blog that are based on five simple non-perishable ingredients most of us vegans stock in our pantry year round.
Plus, I’m offering substitutions for other ingredients in these recipes that may be harder to find (or call for a trip to the grocery store that you’d rather not take right now).
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5 Vegan Pantry Staples + Healthy and Easy Recipes to Use Them In
Beans are one of the cornerstones of healthy plant-based diet. Their high protein and fiber content and mild flavor makes them ideal for use in soups, stews, stir-fry, dips, and even sandwiches.
If you don’t have canned beans on hand (say, your grocery store ran out), cooking dried beans is an alternative. See my post about cooking dried beans from scratch for tips on how to do this.
Vegan Recipes with Beans:
Easy 5-ingredient chickpea salad sandwich (pictured below). Chickpea salad is a truly versatile and easy to make sandwich filling, and my recipe calls for only five ingredients!
This sandwich makes a great lunch any day, or can be packed for work, school, or travel. I know the last three things are off-limits to most of us these days, but you’ll see what I’m talking about when things get better!
Substitutions: If you don’t have celery, onions, or pickles on hand, feel free to skip either of them. As long as you use two out of three of these ingredients, this chickpea salad will still be ok.
No vegan mayo available? An equal amount of silken tofu with a squeeze of lemon juice will work here. Or, use unsweetened plain vegan yogurt (Forager is my favorite) if you have some on hand.
Southern-style vegan Instant Pot black eyed peas. This healthy vegan recipe for delicious black eyed peas is easy to make in a pressure cooker (I’ve also included stovetop cooking directions). You don’t even need to soak the beans!
Serve them as a main course on top of polenta/grits or rice, or use them as a side dish with your favorite Southern-style comfort foods.
Substitutions: If you don’t have any of the “holy trinity” vegetables (onions, green peppers, and celery), feel free to skip them. The same goes for any of the spices.
The resulting black eyed peas may come out less flavorful, but that can be fixed with a squeeze of lemon/lime juice and a dash of cayenne pepper.
Rice is a cornerstone food in diets of billions of people around the world. It’s versatile, it’s naturally gluten-free, it’s cheap – what’s not to love?
Most vegans stock rice in their pantry year round. With so many plant-based recipes with rice available, below are a couple that are most popular on Vegan Runner Eats these days.
Vegan Recipes with Rice:
Like with most of my Instant Pot recipes, I’ve included stovetop cooking directions to make this recipe available to everyone.
Substitutions: If spicy Chipotle Field Roast sausages aren’t available (or you’re gluten-free; don’t do processed foods; etc.), feel free to skip them, or use cooked beans that hold their shape well – think chickpeas or kidney beans.
BBQ chickpeas and rice. This is one of the easiest dinner recipes from the blog. Using canned chickpeas makes cooking it a breeze! Bonus: it only takes about 30 minutes from start to finish.
Substitutions: If you have store-bought barbecue sauce, it can be used instead of making it from scratch. Plus, mushrooms can be omitted, which will make this recipe even easier.
Also, if whole grain rice isn’t available, feel free to use regular rice or any other type of grain.
Another popular staple of vegan diet, lentils come in a variety of colors and sizes. Some of them hold their shape well – like beluga (black) or French (small, dark green) lentils. Others can break down completely if you let them cook for a while, like red lentils.
I like to add red lentils to a lot of my soups to boost their protein and fiber content. This works even in soups that don’t normally use lentils as one of the ingredients.
Vegan Recipes with Lentils:
Healthy vegan lentil soup with cauliflower and rice. This healthy vegan soup recipe is as healthy as it gets! Lentils and rice naturally go well together. Add to this cauliflower, and your taste buds will be doing a happy little dance.
Substitutions: I originally developed this recipe with the idea of using three different kinds of lentils (black, brown, and red), but this soup comes out just fine when made with one type of lentils if that’s all you have.
Also, cauliflower can be replaced with cooked butternut squash or sweet potatoes added at the end. Or, just skip it altogether. You can actually even skip rice here – the soup will still be good.
“Traffic Light” lentil stew. This simple recipe for an Indian dal-style stew was born shortly after my husband and I moved to the Pacific Northwest from Alabama.
For about a month, we waited for all of our worldly possessions to travel across the country while living in an empty rental house, so we had very few kitchen tools like pots, pans, etc. to work with.
This is why this lentil stew is as simple as it gets – and why the picture isn’t food blogger-level “sexy” 🙂
Substitutions: Once again, feel free to use a single type of lentils instead of the two I mentioned in this recipe, and add or skip any spices you may have.
Also, if you use 2 tablespoons of tomato paste instead of half a can of diced tomatoes, and add a few more splashes of water or veggie broth, this stew will come out even better.
Pasta isn’t just a versatile vegan kitchen staple, it’s also the main ingredient in a lot of delicious recipes. It has a long shelf life, which makes it perfect for stocking in any vegan pantry long-term.
If you’ve been vegan for any length of time, you probably know that not all pasta is vegan. Some varieties contain egg, but luckily that’s almost always prominently mentioned on the label. When in doubt, I always check the ingredients list on the package.
While wheat-based pasta is the most widely spread variety, there are a lot of gluten-free pastas on the market these days. These pastas consistently get a lot of positive reviews on Amazon: brown rice-based pasta by Tinkyada; corn and rice-based pasta by Barilla; chickpea-based pasta by Banza.
Vegan recipes with pasta:
Vegan mac and cheese with broccoli. This broccoli mac and cheese recipe is one of my 2 year-old’s favorite dishes. That’s no surprise: it’s creamy, saucy, with a mild flavor that appeals both to kids and adults.
Better yet, if you follow a no-oil, whole food plant-based diet, you’ll love the fact that it’s made with no oil!
As you see, broccoli is chopped quite small here, so it doesn’t give this mac and cheese an in-your-face broccoli flavor or texture. However, if you’d like to skip it, just add a little extra pasta – see the tips in the recipe post.
Substitutions: To make this mac n cheese gluten-free, use gluten-free flour (oat flour works well) to make the roux in Step 1; then use gluten-free pasta (see brand recommendations above).
5-minute vegan bruschetta pasta. One of the oldest recipes from the blog happens to be one of the quickest: the sauce for this bruschetta pasta cooks for only one minute!
This recipe is basically copycat Cappellini Pomodoro from Olive Garden. Honestly, I’m not sure if it’s still on the menu, but it used to be one of my favorite dishes there.
Why did I call it ‘bruschetta’? Because the sauce can be used as tomato bruschetta: spread it on toasted pieces of baguette to make a delicious party appetizer. That’s one of the things I served at my vegan baby shower.
Substitutions: To make this recipe truly pantry-friendly, use small-diced canned tomatoes. Just make sure to drain them well – watery bruschetta totally misses the point.
Also, feel free to skip basil if you don’t have it! Yes, it’s an important part of tomato bruschetta, but even without it this sauce comes out flavorful.
Oats are another essential ingredient in most vegan pantries. They are full of nutrients, fiber, and protein, and make a healthy breakfast any day.
Depending on your texture preferences and available time, you may prefer steel cut, old-fashioned, or quick oats. I’ve personally been eating variations of overnight oats made with old-fashioned oats for over half of my life, way before they became trendy.
Below are a couple oat-based recipes from the blog.
Vegan Recipes with Oats:
Easy Instant Pot steel cut oatmeal. This is a basic, as-simple-as-it-gets recipe for healthy steel cut oatmeal. I offer two ways to make it in a pressure cooker with step-by-step instructions. Both methods are super easy, yet one takes about 10 minutes longer than the other.
Since this recipe is very basic, feel free to add any toppings/mix-ins to boost the flavors. Banana slices, fresh or frozen blueberries, chopped nuts, and a splash of maple syrup all work well.
Substitutions: If you don’t have plant-based milk on hand, you can cook this oatmeal in an equal amount of water. If you aren’t averse to vegan butter (and if it’s available), you can add a dab to your bowl just before serving to make the flavors a bit more rich.
Vegan oatmeal-raisin cookies with aquafaba. Another one of my 2 year-old’s favorite recipes from the blog. I mean, does anyone need to be convinced about cookies?!
Here’s a recent comment about these cookies from Rhiannon on Instagram: “They were so delicious. Can’t see myself buying oatmeal cookies from a shop when I could have these!” (Thank you Rhiannon!)
Substitutions: This recipe is pretty straightforward, but you can still substitute a few ingredients if needed.
Use flax egg (2 Tbsp of ground flax seed + 5 Tbsp water) instead of aquafaba.
Replace coconut oil with another type of neutral-tasting oil, or if you follow an oil-free diet, one of the blog readers said that she used sweet potato puree instead with good results. Applesauce will most likely work well too.
To make this recipe gluten-free, use all-purpose gluten-free flour and certified gluten-free oats in 1:1 proportion.
I hope these healthy vegan recipes make it easy for you to use the traditional pantry staples in a variety of new delicious meals!
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