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Veganism Part II: The ultimate vegan pantry

If you're asked the question, how do vegans get protein? And what do you even EAT? Stock up your pantry with these enviable 100% vegan staples and start getting creative!

by: Lisa Wallace | 05 Feb 2018

If you're finding the adaption into veganism challenging, the quickest fix is to give yourself variety off foodstuffs to work with so that your tastebuds never get bored AND you're getting the right amount of nutrients. "Where do you get protein from" is the most well-versed question and isn't the only nutrient you need to replace. Calcium, Zinc, B12 and Magnesium are equally important (consider seeing a nutritionist if you are deficient in any of these, or take a daily/weekly supplement). 

Create delicious vegan food from a well-stocked and versatile kitchen. Adapted from, stock up your fridge and pantry with -tasty ingredients and replacements. Always look at labels – for the "V" denoting the product is vegan, but always make sure there are no hidden ingredients like egg or milk solids or even gluten. Products such as casein, lactose, whey, collagen, albumin, elastin, keratin, gelatine and honey are not vegan, they are all animal by-products. 

ALSO READ:Have you read part one of this three-part series? Find amazing vegan recipes here.

Dairy Replacements 

Vegan Butter: Cardin, Ole and Helios Margarine - Wellness Warehouse and Faithful to Nature are your go to for replacements
Dairy Free Cheese: Tofutti/Sheese/Violife.
Plant Milks: Soy/Rice/Almond/Oat/Hemp/Coconut.

Yogurts: Soy/Coconut, Cashew.
Dairy Free Ice Creams: Skinny Scoop/Phat Fox/Unframed.

ALSO READ: Not into eggs or dairy? Here are 5 vegan baking swaps you need to know about


Tofu: Extra firm for cooking or silken for sauces and desserts.
Seitan: Meat replacement made from wheat gluten – great ‘meaty’ texture.
Peas: Garden peas (frozen or canned).
Pea Protein: Excellent in smoothies/whey replacement after exercise.
Beans: (Dried and/or canned) – kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans.
Chickpeas: These are good as a healthy savoury snack, in salads, in curries or added to your dinner for crunch and texture.
Seeds: Sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, chia, flax. Seeds are packed full of goodness.
Nuts: Almonds, cashews, walnuts, brazils, pine nuts.

ALSO READ: Grilled tofu in peanut and coconut sauce

Nut butters: Peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, hazelnut butter (always check label)
Lentils: Puy, red, brown and green – in dry form or packed ready to throw straight into sauces/curries. An excellent ‘meat’ substitute in Bolognaise, Shepherd’s Pie, Lasagne. 
Miso: Traditional Japanese seasoning – eat as a soup or use as a flavouring.
Tamari/Soy Sauces: Tamari is a thicker, less salty, fermented soy sauce with less wheat than soy sauce
Tempeh: Similar to tofu in that it is made from fermented soy beans, but less popular in Western countries. Firmer than tofu with a stronger flavour. Great to marinate.
Fry’s: All vegan frozen product range, including burgers, sausages, chicken-style strips and nuggets. Recommended in early days if you're missing the texture of meat.

ALSO READ: Lekker Vegan in Cape Town is converting non-vegan foodies in its fun accessibility

Grains (Dry)

Brown or wild rice: More nutritious than white rice.
Quinoa: Excellent source of protein. Wash well before cooking and use vegetable stock for added flavour.

Oats and millet: Excellent for a hearty breakfast.
Whole-wheat couscous.
Whole or multi-grain pastas.
Whole grain/sprouted bread and tortillas.
Chickpea Flour: Used frequently in Indian cooking, this flour is really versatile. You can make pancakes, bhajis and even ‘omelettes‘ with it. (It is also gluten-free.)


Agar agar: Vegan substitute for gelatine.
Nutritional yeast: A lovely cheesy flavour and can be fortified with B12.
Vegetable stock: (Cubes or powder) – go for the low sodium option.
Vegetable bouillon.
Tomato paste/puree.
Oils: Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the best for cooking, but there’s a range of vegetable oils at your disposal too (coconut, sunflower etc).


Flax seeds (Good source of Omega 3 – can sprinkle on breakfast cereal or smoothie). Can also replace eggs.
Chia seeds: Great replacement for eggs – one chia ‘egg’ equals 1 tablespoon of seed to 2 tablespoons of water.
Coconut oil: Good for replacing butter.
Agave nectar: Great honey replacement.
Maple syrup: Delicious honey replacement.
Blackstrap molasses: Good source of iron.

ALSO READ: Moroccan roasted sweet potatos using flax seeds

Condiments and sauces

Egg-Free Mayonnaise: B-Well/Trim/Martinnaise.
Mustard: Most mustard is vegan – Dijon, Hot English, American.
Tomato Sauce/Ketchup.
HP Sauce.
Hot Sauce: Tabasco.


Dried fruit

Root vegetable/corn chips
Dark chocolate
Nuts and seeds

Fruit and vegetables (organic as far as possible)

Eat a rainbow! But these are the most power-packed:

Kale: A vegan superfood (along with other cruciferous vegetables). An excellent source of calcium and other vitamins and minerals.
Bell peppers: Great raw dipped in hummus or in a stir fry. (Buy organic when possible.)
Sweet potato: A fantastic source of vitamin A.
Mushrooms: Get your B vitamins here!
Berries: Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries (Again, buy these organic when possible.)
Avocados: A good fat and delicious!


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