With a worldwide pandemic and subsequent lockdown orders around the nation, it’s more important than ever to be prepared for anything. Starting with your pantry, keep it stocked with all the vegan necessities to ensure you can curb your hunger with wholesome ingredients or indulge a bit when stress-eating strikes. Make your weekly grocery trip count with these basic staple items and some of our favorite brands to keep on hand for any emergency. 

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Baking needs
Stress baking? We feel you, and we’ve got all the advice to perfect your quarantine banana bread, pumpkin pie, or classic chocolate chip cookies. Here’s the ultimate guide for all your vegan baking needs, the 25 desserts we’re whipping up while at home, and all the cookies VegNews editors are obsessed with right now. Be sure to keep these simple ingredients at your house at all times to ensure you can be ready for any baking urges that pop up.

  • Baking powder and baking soda
  • Bananas (for banana bread, what else?)
  • Cocoa powder
  • Dairy-free chocolate chips
  • Egg replacer (options include apple cider vinegar, Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Egg Replacer, flax seeds, chia seeds, etc.)
  • Flour
  • Maple syrup
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Vanilla extract

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Whether you’re making avocado toast or a simple PB&J sandwich, the foundation starts with a really good base. This Dave’s Killer Bread packs in a punch with five grams of protein and fiber, plus omega-3s. Interested in making your own? Check out our Vegan Bread 101 filled with delicious projects to keep yourself entertained during quarantine. 

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Canned Goods
While usually a safe bet, be sure to double-check the label to ensure that these canned goods are vegan. 

  • Beans or refried beans 
  • Coconut milk
  • Vegetables such as corn, olives, pickles, and pickled jalapeños
  • Tomato paste, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce

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The versatile snack staple can be used with hummus, vegan queso, salsas, guacamole, and any other preferred dip. A simple corn chip such as these vegan Que Pasa corn tortilla chips work with most condiments (hello, vegan queso!) for a pre-dinner snack or mid-day fuel. 

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To add more flavor and spice to basic foods, condiments should be your new best friend. Luckily, there are many flavor profiles and spice levels to choose from. For sandwiches, Follow Your Heart’s Vegenaise or Edward & Son’s vegan Worcestershire is a must. For veggie bowls, hot sauce (try Dave’s Gourmet Creamy Ginger Citrus sauce and thank us later) or pre-made salsas reign supreme. Keeping your pantry full of a variety of condiments ensures no meal will get boring or bland. 

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Nut Butters
Peanut, almond, cashew, the list goes on! A staple for any vegan, different types of nut butter are not only nutritious but extremely versatile, making them great on everything from breakfast oats to dinner (try our Almond Butter Sweet Potato Kale Stew recipe) and snacks (how yummy does the toast above look?). 

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Nutritional Yeast
If you’re vegan, you probably already love this powerhouse ingredient due to its extremely nutritious profile and cheesy, nutty taste. With high amounts of vitamins (namely B12), minerals, and protein, we like to sprinkle these yellow flakes on toast, pasta, vegetables, popcorn, dips … everything! Shake these WonderDust seasonings on your next quarantine meal for an extra boost of flavor.  

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Load your oatmeal with fruits, nut butter, hemp seeds, and even dark chocolate for a filling, mouthwatering breakfast. The easily customizable meal makes it a pantry staple for every morning. Plus, you can even make your own oat milk or use the grain in baking up desserts for a healthier alternative. 

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If we were stranded on a desert island and could only bring one food item, it would be pasta (assuming there was also a pot there or an abundance of coconuts to makeshift one). Either way, macaroni, penne, fusilli … we love ‘em all! Though we also know we need to get our recommended amount of vegetables in a day, too, which is where Modern Table’s lentil-based pasta comes in. With 20 grams of protein and six grams of fiber, it’s hard to believe that pasta made from beans can somehow taste just like its wheat-based counterpart and also be good for you. 

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Pasta sauce
If you’re planning a date night in quarantine, how about Italian night? Grab some spaghetti noodles and add this Primal Kitchen No Dairy Vodka Sauce with avocado oil for a creamy, decadent dinner. All that’s left is a glass or two of wine, some classical music, and voila, you’ve spruced up an otherwise routine dinner. 

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Pre-packaged meals
Sometimes you want to spend all day on the couch binge-watching Netflix (no judgment) and for those days, you need to fuel your body without all the hassle. Enter easy-to-make, all-you-need-is-a-microwave meal packs! We like these plant-based, microwaveable Loma Linda Complete Meals for its range of options (Pad Thai, Chipotle Bowl, and Tikka Masala, to name a few). Plus, the brand is available at Costco so you can grab bulk packs at one time and make fewer trips to the store!

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Protein bars
Need a quick pre-workout snack or a pick-me-up during the work-from-home day? We turn to these lupini-bean-powered Lupii bars made with less than six ingredients for sustained energy and a healthy dose of amino acids. Now, only one question: Peanut Butter Cacao Nib, Almond Butter Cinnamon Raisin, or Tahini Lemon Cranberry?

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White or brown rice is usually a good bet for any lunch or dinner, but if you’re wanting to take the nutrition up a notch, try these lower-carb, protein-packed, and gluten-free RightRice packets made with a blend of lentils. With flavors like Lemon Pepper, Spanish, Garlic Herb, Thai Curry, and Cilantro Lime, we have an endless amount of ideas for dinner tonight.  

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Fill the house with aromatic comfort while making a hearty meal in minutes with shelf-stable vegetable broth, veggies, and spices. Though, if you’re in the mood for something that takes less than three minutes, these organic Amy’s Kitchen soups are the way to go. Opt for Lentil Vegetable, Butternut Squash, or No Chicken Noodle for a quick, satiating, and warming lunch.

Aruka Sanchir is an editor at VegNews who’s been cooking up a storm during quarantine.

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