Preparing a meal is easier if you already have everything that you need in your kitchen. A fully-stocked pantry enables you to put together a delicious meal for your family, or surprise guests, faster and easier without going to the store. Though vegetarian or vegan keto diets may seem complicated and very restrictive, once you know what you should have in your pantry, meal preparations will be effortless.
Let’s first talk about what to avoid and must be removed from your pantry. Keto diet only allows you to consume low-carb and sugar-free food. Starchy and carb-filled vegan staples like yams, potatoes, corn, and rice must be avoided. Also, not all nuts can be consumed liberally in this lifestyle, including high-carb nuts like chestnuts, pistachios, and cashews. Sweeteners like sugar, honey, and syrups are also not keto-vegan-friendly.
If you have any of those mentioned above, remove them from your pantry right away and replace them with the pantry staples listed here. Here are 30+ pantry essentials for a well-stocked keto-vegan kitchen.
Oils, Seasonings, and Spices
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
This pantry essential deserves the top spot on your keto-vegan shopping list. Aside from having no carbs, olive oil is rich in flavor, healthy fats, and antioxidants. The antioxidant present in olive oil helps you absorb the nutrients from other ingredients that you use with it. You can drizzle extra virgin olive oil onto your meals, fry vegetables with it, or use it to create dressings. This pantry staple is very versatile, and you will surely need it in most recipes that you will create. Make sure that you pack your pantry with a good-quality extra virgin olive oil, not just the regular ones.
- Coconut Oil
If you are on a keto-vegan diet, one of the most commonly used oils is coconut oil. This oil helps you stave off hunger making you less likely to reach for snacks that are not in your daily vegan keto meal plan. Coconut oil gives you almost instant energy, because of its short-chain fatty acids, it starts absorbing from your stomach soon after you have eaten it.
- Avocado Oil
Rich in healthy fats, minerals, and vitamins, avocado oil is another ingredient that should be always present in your pantry. It is more than just an ingredient in making your food super-flavorful. According to studies, avocado oil helps soothe and heal skin, making it clearer and smoother.
- Cocoa/Cacao Butter
One of the best substitutes for grass-fed butter is cocoa butter. Use it in baking, desserts, or creating chocolate bars. This particular butter comes from cacao beans – the same ones that produce chocolate. Packed with fatty acids and antioxidants, this pantry staple reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- Chili Powder
Chili powder is commonly used in different dishes that need extra hotness and spice. It adds a distinct piquancy to recipes. Loaded with vitamins and minerals like niacin, pyridoxine, riboflavin, and thiamine, this ingredient does not only give heat to your recipes, but also helps you be healthy, improves your focus, and provides sharper cognitive function.
A lot of vegan keto recipes use cinnamon. Used in both sweet and savory dishes, cinnamon makes breads, muffins, drinks, or cupcakes tastier and healthier. It is warm, fragrant, and gives a flavor different from other spicy ingredients. You might find a lot of cinnamon variants in the market but make sure that you stock your pantry with Ceylon cinnamon because the regular variants can be toxic to the liver.
- Garlic Powder
Garlic powder is one of the most commonly used seasonings. This can be sprinkled on anything from snacks – like low-carb cauliflower popcorn — to main courses. Garlic powder is one of the most used pantry items. Just sprinkle this on any savory dish and make your meal tastier and more flavorful.
- Onion Powder
Onion powder (my all-time favorite seasoning!) ramps up the flavor of any recipe. This pantry must-have makes dishes tastier by enhancing the flavors of other ingredients that you use with it. Soups, savory dishes, dressings, and sauces need onion powder. Make sure that your keto-vegan pantry has this important seasoning.
- Pepper and Unrefined Sea Salt, or Himalayan Salt
This combo never fails to make any tasteless dish delicious and mouthwatering. Pepper adds a balanced spice to your meal – not too subtle, but not too spicy– while salt enhances the flavor of any dish. Himalayan salt is one of the purest salts available on the market. Just like unrefined sea salt, it can also be used in seasoning meals. Plus, on a keto diet, you need more salt than, for example, on a SAD (Standard American Diet).
- Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is made from fermented apple juice. It is packed with different flavors and beneficial enzymes. In choosing an apple cider vinegar variant, choose the one that is raw and with the “mother” in it. What exactly is the mother in a raw apple cider vinegar? Apple cider vinegar undergoes a two-step process that includes adding of yeast to apple juice to break down sugars, then adding bacteria to convert alcohol into acetic acid. The bacteria present in the vinegar is called the mother. Some store-brought variants have the mother removed because it causes the vinegar to look cloudy. Keep in mind that the mother is the most important portion of the apple cider vinegar! It is made up of of good bacteria known as probiotics. The “mother” is known to improve digestion, ensure a better immune system and provide a healthy balance that prevents illnesses. Aside from these health benefits, it is a very versatile ingredient and can be used in creating salad dressings, meals, and dips.
One good example of a sweetener that does not spike your blood sugar is stevia. Stevia can be considered the best and most natural sweetener available on the market. It does not add calories to your diet nor increase your insulin levels. It is essential, especially if you are a dessert lover and like sweets, but do not want to have the health problems that go along with table sugar. Based on studies, stevia controls or prevents diabetes. Aside from lowering the blood sugar levels in the body, it is also known to lower blood pressure. In choosing the right stevia variant, always go for natural stevia extract. Avoid steviol glycosides that are commonly used in commercial sugar-free stevia-sweetened products.
Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that is 60 to 80% as sweet as table sugar. Unlike table sugar, erythritol does not usually affect your blood insulin levels. You can use it in a variety of ways like baking or making desserts without raising your sugar levels. Erythritol is usually much better tolerated than other sugar alcohols. Like stevia, this low-carb sweetener also makes an excellent sugar substitute.
- Almond flour
Compared to wheat flour, almond flour is low in carbs and rich in good fats – and it is lacking all the harmful substances that exist in wheat flour. Almond flour can replace white flour at a ratio of 1:1. Almond flour is rich in vitamin E that acts as an antioxidant in your body. It also contains an ample number of other vitamins and minerals – unlike nutritionally depleted wheat flour.
- Coconut Flour
Coconut flour is high in protein, fiber, and fat, but relatively low in carbs. It is made from dried coconut meat that is ground until it becomes soft and fine. It is a great substitute for grain-based flours and can be used to create breads, cakes, cookies, and cupcakes. Remember to use only a little as it absorbs an enormous amount of fluid. You can use coconut flour in the quantity of 1/4 of the amount of almond flour.
- Psyllium Husk Powder
If you love bread, you must always have this pantry essential on hand. Psyllium husk powder gives bread-like texture to baked goods. Just like what gluten does in traditional baking, psyllium husk powder enables you to handle your dough when you roll and shape it. Psyllium husk powder is also one of the best plant-based egg replacements. Always remember to drink lot of water when you consume psyllium – it’s super-rich in fiber!
- Cacao Powder
Cacao powder – preferably raw – is one of the key ingredients for most chocolatey baked goods and can even be used in creating beverages and smoothies. If you love to bake brownies and cakes, always have this in your pantry. Cacao powder contains lots of magnesium and potassium – both are very essential for numerous bodily functions, and for the mind, too.
- Peanut Butter
Peanut butter can be used as an ingredient in making succulent keto-vegan brownies, bread, cookies, or as a spread for your keto-vegan bread. It is very versatile and makes any low-carb treat tastier. Just remember to use it sparingly as it does contain a moderate amount of carbs.
- Sunflower Seed Butter
Sunflower seed butter or SunButter is a good peanut butter alternative. If you have a peanut allergy, this alternative is perfect for you. It has a more liquid quality compared to peanut butter, but still gives a mouthwatering roasted taste and a distinct texture.
- Almond Butter
Here’s another alternative for those with peanut allergy. Almond butter is rich in vitamins, good fats and at the same time lowers your blood pressure. It is slightly more nutritious than peanut butter because it has more vitamins and minerals. It is also lower in carbs, too, so you can use it more liberally.
Tahini is a sesame seed paste with a consistency very similar to peanut butter. It is very flavor-intensive and has a delicate roasted sesame flavor without the sweetness common to other nut butters. You can use it as a dip for veggies, a dressing for salads, spread on low-carb breads, or even as a baking ingredient.
- Rice Protein
Rice protein is one of the best protein sources for keto-vegans. When made of sprouted brown rice, it is a complete protein, meaning that it contains all the essential amino acids. You can get unflavored rice protein, but there are also flavored versions, like delicious vanilla, or chocolate-flavored rice protein that give a scrumptious flavor to sweet baked goods. Rice protein is also an excellent addition to your keto-vegan breakfast smoothie. Just remember to choose a rice protein that is low in carbs. Stevia-sweetened ones are the best.
Vanilla boosts the taste of any keto treat. You can stock your pantry with a vanilla extract, vanilla pods or vanilla powder. Liquid vanilla extract is usually added to desserts or drinks. You can also add it to baked goods. Vanilla pods are great additions to your pantry too. They can be used to make ice creams, pastries, and your very own homemade vanilla extract. Vanilla powder, on the other hand, gives a really concentrated vanilla flavor and can also be used in baking. However, in buying vanilla, make sure that you stock your pantry with all-natural, organic, and sugar-free extract.
- Coconut Manna
Coconut manna has a lot of health benefits. Boost your immunity and fight off different bacteria and viruses by using this in your keto-vegan dishes – or just spoon it right from the jar! Moreover, this pantry must-have also increases energy levels that will help you keep going throughout the day. This versatile ingredient can be used to make frostings, smoothies, treats, and much more. It has a naturally sweet, rich flavor – without the harmful sugar!
Nuts and Seeds
- Chia Seeds
Chia seeds help you have energy throughout the day. These small yet nutrient-packed and fiber-rich seeds will make you feel fuller. You can create a good and filling breakfast (for example chia pudding) using chia seeds and a couple of other pantry ingredients. Chia works also as an excellent egg replacer.
- Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are very versatile. Just toast and salt these nutrient-dense gems and you’ll have an instant keto snack. Aside from being a tasty snack, you can use them for a delicious keto-vegan bread. You can also use pumpkin seeds to top your salads and other keto-vegan meals.
- Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds may look small but they are also packed with a surprisingly huge amount of nutrients and health benefits. You can also create an instant tasty snack using this versatile ingredient. They are also an important ingredient in this keto-vegan crisp bread.
- Pecan Nuts
Whether crushed, halved, or whole, pecan nuts are keto dietary staples. They are rich in healthy fats, low in carbs, and abundant with nutrients. Prepare desserts with pecan nuts or top your meals with them.
Almonds are packed with minerals, vitamins, and good fats. You can roast them, use them in baking, or as a garnish for desserts or smoothies.
The best thing about having different kinds of seeds and nuts in your pantry is that you can use them in rotation to get a variety in your diet and benefit from all the different qualities each of these nutrient powerhouses have. Hazelnuts are not just delicious, but also very healthy. They are known to help eliminate the factors that lead to cancer, heart disease, and they also help you have healthier muscles.
- Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds give a delicate nutty taste, texture, and crunch to your dishes. Unhulled sesame seeds still have the outer edible husk which gives the seeds a golden-brown hue. Hulled seeds, on the other hand, do not have the outer husk. Sesame seeds are one of the best vegan sources of calcium so they are a must on a keto-vegan diet. Sprinkle sesame seeds onto your meals to add crunch and taste, use them to create nutritious keto-vegan breads, or just add them to any dish that requires more taste and texture.
- Unsweetened Almond Milk
Milk from dairy cows is not the only “milk” option on a ketogenic diet. One of the healthiest milk substitutes is unsweetened almond milk. You can make your own, or buy commercial almond milk without food additives. You can use almond milk to make smoothies, ice cream, breakfast, and many other keto-vegan dishes.
- Unsweetened Coconut Milk and Coconut Cream
Coconut milk has the consistency of heavy cream while coconut cream is a lot thicker and richer. Both are high in fats but low in carbs. These ingredients add flavor, richness, and creaminess to dishes, plus the necessary fat for the keto-vegan diet. These versatile pantry essentials can be used to make desserts, main courses, and drinks.
- Nutritional Yeast
Because of the natural vitamin B (especially B12), nutritional yeast is a must-have in any vegan kitchen. If you are new to the keto-vegan diet and love cheese, this ingredient is something you shouldn’t miss. Nutritional yeast is a good cheese alternative. It gives a nutty and cheesy flavor to dishes and is full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
- Pumpkin Puree
One of the most loved and used keto-vegan ingredients is pumpkin. Make sure to have a can or two of pumpkin puree on your shelf! You can use canned pumpkin to create pumpkin soup, main dishes, or even desserts.
Having a complete pantry enables you to create dishes anytime you want. By just using a few ingredients on this list, you can create a delicious breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert. There are a lot of mouthwatering vegan keto recipes here on my blog that you can try. Start completing your pantry now and effortlessly make delicious meals for you, your family, and friends!