Having a well-stocked vegan pantry means that you can come home and make a meal with little or no fuss. I know that there’s a lot of controversy about cans and BPA, but most products you can buy in bottles or other kinds of shelf-stable packaging.
For last minute meals I love to be able to grab some ready-made beans for burritos or soups. Having a jar of pasta sauce is a meal saver on nights that I can’t do more than boil up some dried pasta.
No matter how organized you are there will be days that you are sick, tired or just too busy to cook everything from scratch for one meal.
This is just one installment of my building a vegan pantry series. Make sure to take a peek at Kitchen Basics: Building a Vegan Pantry with Pasta, Kitchen Basics: Building a Vegan Pantry with Grains and Kitchen Basics: Building a Vegan Pantry with Dried Beans.
Tomatoes in assorted forms:
When to Stock Up
Keep your eyes open when you go to the grocery store. A few times a year there will be a buy 2 get 3 free sale at one grocery and there are often 1/2 price sales on canned beans at another.
Every time I go to the grocery I check for sales in the can and pasta sauce section. If you get a good deal, stock up because most of them are dated to last years.
Make sure to put the new ones you buy behind the older ones so that you are always rotating the first to expire to the front. That way you’ll never clean out your pantry to find an expired can!
- jackfruit, packed in brine (crab and chicken substitute) – you can find this cheaper at an Asian grocery
- various Asian condiments
- noodle soup
- vegan ready-to-eat soups
- fancy jams
- butternut squash puree
- vegan baked beans
- cranberry sauce
- coconut cream
- Indian pickles
It’s true that you will find BPA in most cans and plastic jars. Luckily, more staples can be found in tetra paks, the kind you also find shelf stable nondairy milk. You can get beans, tomatoes and even pre-made soups in them. You can also find tomatoes, pasta sauce and some soups in glass containers.
I try to make large pots of beans, pasta sauces and grains so I can freeze them in can-sized portions. However, I still keep a few cans of beans, bottles of pasta sauce and various condiments on hand all the time too.
Personally, I feel like it’s still healthier to make a dinner out of the pantry than to go out to most restaurants. I do still eat some foods out of cans, but if you shop and plan carefully you can avoid most of them.
HSC Bean Recipes (click the photo to go to the full recipe)