If anything I've become more creative with my daily menus basing them 99 percent on whatever I happen to have lying around the kitchen. As you can see from my pantry this leaves me a lot of options. But a pantry overflowing with vegan goodness doesn't take $700 billion to stock. You can have a completely stocked pantry that will have enough food to last you months for less than $250 - so far I've made it 3 months with just the food in my pantry and freezer (and you can see how much food I have left!)
So what's in this pantry? Let's start from the top. First you have to have your cereal grains. There's steel cut oats, quick oats and Kashi cereal (Go Lean and Go Lean Crunch are my favorites!) I also stock up on grains that are versatile enough for every meal including quinoa, amaranth, millet, buckwheat groats and kamut. Of course there's the old stand by grains as well: brown rice, jasmine rice and arborio rice for risotto. Next there's the canned goods section. For me this is mostly tomato products since I use dry beans (which are much cheaper than canned). There's tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, whole tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, enchilada sauce (even though I prefer making my own) and a little canned vegan dog food as a treat for the pups. Then there's the optional section which you really don't need but I have ended up accumulating over time. Its the protein powders. As a guinea pig I have a little of everything here (which I'll review and blog about a little later): hemp protein, Trader Joe's soy protein ( about $4) and brown rice protein.
On the next shelf down I keep all my miscellaneous items and extras from when I get stuff on sale and have a surplus ( i.e. Maple syrup, raisins, vinegar, cocoa powder, jams, nutritional yeast). Plus all my spices ( must haves are cumin, curry, onion powder, garlic powder, turmeric, chili powder, paprika and vanilla extract). I have two shelves full of every sort of bean imaginable. All dried, except for a couple cans of refried beans. The rest of the pantry is filled with an assortment of flours ( unbleached flour, 8 different type of gluten free flours, whole wheat pastry and masa), sugars, shortening, cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, non dairy milks (oat, soy, hemp, etc.) and brown rice pastas.
Along with these key ingredients I've had to make a couple trips to the store to get fresh greens like spinach and kale as well as fresh fruit (in season is cheaper), carrots and avocado.
So how do you fill your pantry full of all these goodies for cheap? Easy! There 3 very simple rules I live by:
- Buy in bulk (grains, dried beans, spices, salt, sugar, flours, etc.)
- Buy on sale (and clip coupons!)
- Buy in season (when you have to buy fresh fruits and veggies)
My local co-op also gives me a 10 percent discount once a month so I take advantage of that as well. So there you go, the keys to my recession proof vegan pantry.