How to Stock a Vegetarian Pantry

While browsing the Internet I came across this article which I thought would be helpful to people who are new to the vegetarian lifestyle. I remember searching for hours for things I could eat when I made the switch (grocery shopping took forever!). I hope this is useful as you set up your vegetarian kitchen. When you have the common ingredients already on hand cooking is a breeze.

How to Stock a Vegetarian Pantry

from wikiHow – The How to Manual That You Can Edit

A vegetarian pantry has different needs from a more general pantry. It is important to keep vegetarian foods on hand that will provide energy and nutrients; and substitutes for other non-vegetarian food products. This article will help you achieve you goal of a well-stocked and healthy vegetarian pantry, all in the span of just a few hours.

Steps

  1. Clean out your pantry. If you are changing to a vegetarian diet, or even if you are simply updating an existing impoverished vegetarian pantry, it is time for a good clean out. Remove all out-dated food, any food with unsuitable animal-derived products (ovo-lacto vegetarians can keep more foods than vegans) and remove anything that lacks labels but you aren’t quite sure what it is. Wipe down all the shelves and allow to dry.
  2. Go shopping. It is always a good idea to stock a new pantry with as many fresh items as possible at the same time, so that the items date together. If you are simply restocking, keep items that are still plenty in date but note them. Make sure to write a list of the items that you need, so that you are not overwhelmed by choices or forgetful as to what you need.
  3. Select your items in food groups. A vegetarian pantry that is stocked with the basics should contain:
    • Grain products: rice (especially brown, arborio, jasmine, basmati and sweet), millet, couscous, quinoa, kasha, wild rice (aquatic grass), buckwheat, barley, polenta, and whole grain flours.
    • Pasta and noodles: pasta made from grain products (e.g., wheat pasta, rice pasta), noodles (e.g., udon, buckwheat etc.). Try to avoid quick-cook noodles; these tend to have a lot of the healthy nutrients removed and are often high in trans-fats.
    • Legumes: dried legumes (peas, split peas, lentils, puy lentils, chickpeas/garbanzo, kidney beans, pinto beans etc.), tins/cans of legumes, shelf-stored tofu.
    • Instant mixes for veggie burgers, falafels, etc. Try to prefer organic options and low sodium.
    • Vegetables and fruits: There are various ways of storing these in the pantry:
      • Tins/cans of fruit in natural syrup, tins/cans of some vegetables. Try to avoid sourcing a lot of your fruit and veggies in this way because canned varieties lose nutrients, have high sodium, and can leach chemicals from the can soldering/composition into the food over time. Always choose cans that are free from dents, and be sure to check use-by dates.
      • Preserved fruit and vegetables. Follow the instructions carefully if you make your own at home.
      • Dehydrated fruits and veggies can also be kept in the pantry for reconstitution.
      • Dried fruit. A must for both eating and cooking with. Apricots, peaches, pears, apple, nectarines etc. are all great choices. Beware of added sugar; dried pineapple, strawberries, paw-paw, kiwifruit etc. often have considerable added sugar.
    • Nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds should be eaten quickly to ensure that they remain fresh. Only purchase small amounts at a time. It is handy to always have on hand walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, cashews, pecans and sesame seeds. Peanuts are a personal choice given modern allergy problems. Nut and seed butters are also very useful to keep on hand; consider tahini, peanut butter, cashew nut butter, almond butter etc. Some require refrigeration on opening.
    • Flavourings: There are a number of key flavourings that no vegetarian pantry should be without. These include:
      • Nutritional yeast
      • Soy sauce, shoyu, tamari; look for low sodium options
      • Vegetable broth/stock cubes, liquid or powder – check ingredients carefully!
      • Cheese sauce or cheese substitute sauces in packets; packet soups
      • Seasoned vegetable salt (there are numerous good brands around)
      • Concentrated liquid stock or flavouring derived from vegetable, herb and spice sources (a few drops will do each use)
      • Curry powder
      • Seasonings such as herbs, spices, salt, pepper etc. Dry your fresh herbs for seeing the winter through
      • Seaweed products for seasoning, including dulse
      • Flavoured vinegars, dressings
    • Sweeteners such as raw and organic sugar, stevia, rice syrup, agave syrup, honey, maple syrup, xylitol etc. Select whatever suits your needs, preferences, and dietary requirements.
  4. Have a few treats in store. It is useful to have some treats on stand-by for guests, children and the munchies. Good products include dark chocolate, soy chocolate, chickpea crisps, wasabi peas, sugar-free cookies (sweetened with alternatives), microwave popcorn and raw kernals, etc.
  5. Keep a few quick packet mixes for cakes, muffins and pancakes. Prefer organic and low-sugar versions where possible. It isn’t always possible to be a saint and make your own baked goods from scratch; having these packaged possibilities still allows you to add fresh fruit, macadamia oil in place of saturated fats and you have the choice of using eggs or not. This is far better than resorting to store-bought goodies.
  6. Have milk on hand. It is always handy to have some shelf milk on hand for times when you run out and guests arrive. Depending on your needs, you can purchase dairy, soy, nut, grain and other milks that can be shelf-stored. Flavoured milks are also handy, including chocolate, vanilla and strawberry.
  7. Keep an eye on use-by dates and discard products that go beyond these. They might seem all right, but once stale, items never taste quite as fresh. They also do not provide the same nutrients as fresher, in-date items. Circulate goods at the back of the pantry and bring them to the front at least monthly, if not more often. It’s easy to forget about items you can’t see, and the less you waste the happier your wallet will be.

Tips

  • Places to stock up on vegetarian pantry foods include health food stores, health food co-ops, large health-food oriented super-stores or supermarkets, fruit and vegetable stores, some bulk/wholesale stores, local markets (farmer’s markets etc.) and straight from boutique stores on farms.
  • Don’t over look your local supermarket. Many “regular” grocery stores are now catering to the Vegan crowd by offering several varieties of soy milks, tofu and vegetarian meat substitutes as well as organic produce.
  • Some specialty grocery stores are also great to visit in and discover new flavours and textures; try Chinese, Lebanese, South African, Italian, West Indian, Samoan, etc. stores for new ideas.
  • Some artificial sweeteners, while low in calories, have been implicated in health problems in some individuals. Research carefully before choosing an artificial sweetener option. Stevia is a good, natural sweetener alternative that avoids potentially problematic chemicals.

Things You’ll Need

  • Pantry
  • Items as listed in article
  • Shopping bags – take your own

Related wikiHows

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Free Vegetarian Starter Kit

   An absolutely free vegetarian starter kit is available at www.goveg.com/order.asp . This website contains  information from and about PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The vegetarian starter kit contains lots of resource materials and some great vegan recipes. If you are at all interested in the purity of the foods you eat and protecting the planet this is a valuable educational website.

Book Review: “Divine Health” Biblezine

   “Divine Health” is a part of a unique book genre called a Biblezine. It is the complete NKJV New Testament, but with added articles on health and wellness edited by Dr. Don and Mary Colbert. Every page contains scriptural wisdom as well as tips on natural treatments, food facts, spices of the Bible, recipes, beauty and health information, and more. 

   Let me just say as clearly as possible: I LOVE THIS BIBLE! It adds a whole new dimension to personal Bible reading. Although not promoting a completely vegetarian lifestyle, each time I sit down to read it is an enlightening experience making the Bible so applicable to where I live today and questions I have about maintaining a healthy body, relating all that information back to the Word of God. I am thoroughly enjoying my current journey through the “Divine Health” New Testament and highly recommend it to anyone especially those who have read the scriptures before and are looking for a refreshing spin on age-old wisdom.

   “Divine Health” Biblezine is about the size of, and looks like, a magazine making it convenient to take along in a briefcase, beach bag, or backpack. The colorful photographs and artwork compliment the magazine format, and there are even areas provided for your own personal notes. “Divine Health” Biblezine is published by Nelson Bibles and can be purchased for$16.99 U.S. .

Garlic Bread

 GARLIC BREAD

Warm garlic bread goes great with Miracle Fat Burner Stew or any other stew or pasta. This is how I make a low-calorie garlic bread (you won’t miss the butter!)

Take one large garlic bulb(do not peel) and slice off the top one third (you want to expose the top of each clove). Wrap the entire bulb in aluminum foil and bake at 400 degrees for 1/2 hour. When done each clove will be creamy and can be spread, just like butter, on a slice of warm wholegrain bread. Yum!

Miracle Fat-Burner Stew

      I found this recipe about five years ago in a magazine, and have used it many times since. It makes A LOT. (I had to buy a large stock pot just to accommodate this recipe — a traditional dutch oven will not do). It is great for when you are cooking for a crowd, but if you are cooking for just one or two you can use one of the variations on different nights so you don’t get bored. It also freezes well. Serve with a crusty wholegrain bread.

Makes 10 (2-cup) servings: 258 cals.; 18 g. protein; 4 g. fat; 45 g. carbs.; 1.54 mg. sodium; 0 mg. chol.; 12 g. fiber

1 1/2 bags (1 lb. ea.) dried lentils

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 c. chopped onions (1 12 oz. bag frozen)

2 Tbsp chopped garlic (6 cloves)

1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste

10 c. vegetable broth

1 can (28 oz.) stewed tomatoes

1 Tbsp. salt

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

2 bags (1 lb. ea.) assorted frozen vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, & red pepper work well)

3 Tbsp. wine or balsamic vinegar

Sort and rinse lentils. In a very large pot saute onions and garlic in olive oil for 4 – 5 minutes. Add lentils and cook 1 minute, stirring. Add tomato paste and cook 1 minute stirring. Add broth and spices. Break up tomatoes into pieces with back of spoon. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until lentils are very soft (ab. one hour).

About 10 minutes before serving add frozen vegetables and vinegar. Heat through.

MIRACLE FAT-BURNER STEW VARIATIONS:

To one (2-cup) serving of stew, stir in any of the following and simmer 3 – 5 mins.

CHINESE:

   1/2 c. cubed firm tofu

   1 tsp. soy sauce

   1 tsp. peanut butter (reduced fat)

   1/2 tsp. sesame oil

   1 sliced scallion

MEXICAN:

1/2 c. salsa

Heat through and top with 1/4 c. shredded veggie cheese

HARVEST STEW:

1/4 c. frozen baby carrots

1/4 c. orange juice

1/4 c. canned pumpkin

1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon

INDIAN:

1 tsp. curry powder

1 tsp. tumeric

1 Tbsp. golden raisins

2 Tbsp plain soy yogurt

1 Tbsp cashews

1 tsp. chopped cilantro

Kale and Onion Stir-fry

Recipe:

Kale and Onion Stir-fry

1 lb. fresh green kale

2 onions, sliced

2 Tbsp. rice vinegar

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

1/2 tsp. sweetener (sugar, honey, etc.)

     Clean kale and remove ribs, and chop.

     Spray wok or skillet w/ cooking  spray. heat on high, add kale and onions. Stir for 1 – 2 minutes.

     Pour in rice vinegar, soy sauce, and sweetener. Reduce heat to medium and stir-fry until kale and onions are crisp tender.

Add:

     3/4 cup slivered almonds

     1 Tbsp. Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids

     3 – 4 Tbsp. water

     8 oz. chow mein noodles

     Cover pot and steam, stirring occasionally until noodles soften slightly.

Makes 4 main-dish servings

Hello world!

Hello, Vegetarians! I have been a vegetarian for 16 years, taught healthy living and vegan cooking classes for 10 years, and I’m still learning. This blog was originally intended for vegetarians living in Berks County, PA, the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country. However, anyone can appreciate the recipes and pertinent information. The restaurant reviews will be especially helpful for those of us who like to eat out but are trying to live a healthy, vegetarian lifestyle. As we’ve traveled, moved, and sampled food in many areas the restaurant reviews have become more broad, so check them out– you might find one near you! I welcome any healthful information you would like to share, too.

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