From beans and whole grains to maple syrup and nut butters, stock up on these affordable staples and a vegan meal can be yours quickly and easily.
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Eating plant-based need not be expensive, a hassle, or boring. These budget-friendly, shelf-stable items make it easy to eat more meatless meals. Whether you're trying the vegan-before-5 p.m. lifestyle, practicing Meatless Mondays or aiming to go vegan on weekdays, add these pantry staples to your shopping list so you're always well-stocked to whip up a tasty vegan recipe.

Beans

You can't go wrong with dried or canned legumes and beans for a protein punch. We're fans of lentils for dal, chickpeas for curries and falafel, pinto beans and kidney beans for vegetarian chilis, black beans for dips and cannellini beans for soups. Don't miss our complete guide for how to soak beans and everything you need to know about replacing canned with dried.

Buy it: Westbrae Natural Organic Garbanzo Beans ($24 for 12 15-ounce cans, amazon.com)

Grains

For a healthful and hearty dose of fiber, snag boxes or bags of brown rice, white rice, wild rice, basmati rice, jasmine rice, quinoa, wheat berries, couscous, spelt, farro, millet, bulgur, oats or amaranth. Options abound when it comes to these satisfying starches, which you can use in grain bowls, risottos, stir-fries and more.

Buy it: 365 by Whole Foods Market Organic White Quinoa ($5.99 for 16 ounces, amazon.com)

Dried Pastas

Speaking of starches, regular, whole grain, chickpea or gluten-free noodles—depending on your preferences and food allergies or intolerances—make a great base for meatless pasta recipes. Combine with those aforementioned beans, some vegetables and your favorite herbs for a fast-fix dinner.

Buy it: Banza Chickpea Rigatoni ($6.99 for 8 ounces, amazon.com)

Frozen or canned Vegetables

And as far as those veggies go, fresh will always be best in many cases, such as salads and crudites. But canned or frozen vegetables work wonderfully (and last far longer) for recipes like soups, sauces and dips.

Buy it: Del Monte Canned Fresh-Cut Green Beans ($23.66 for 12 8-ounce cans, amazon.com)

Vinegars

Instead of Worcestershire sauce (that includes anchovies) or other higher-calorie or higher-sodium sauces, use red wine, apple cider, fruit-based, white or balsamic vinegar to boost the flavor of many vegan recipes, including salad dressings and vegetable marinades.

Buy it: Mantova Organic Flavored Balsamic Vinegar of Modena Variety Pack: Fig, Pear, Pomegranate and Raspberry ($22.99 for four 8 ½-ounce bottles, amazon.com)

Vegan Proteins

Tofu, tempeh, seitan and plant-based meat all make muscle-building, environmentally-friendly swaps for beef, poultry or pork. (Fun fact: A plant-based burger has a carbon footprint that's nearly 90 percent smaller than an equal-sized beef burger.) Try these grilled, in sandwiches, as part of pasta sauces and in meatless casseroles.

Buy it: Sweet Earth Traditional Seitan Strips ($3.14 for 8 ounces, amazon.com)

Vegan Dairy

Who needs cow's milk or custard when most supermarkets now have such an ample selection of vegan butter, plant-based milks, yogurts and ice creams?

Buy it: Califia Farms Oat Milk Unsweetened Barista Blend ($21.48 for six 32-ounce cartons, amazon.com)

Nuts

For a quick energy-boosting snack, a part of a parfait or a garnish for everything from salads to Asian noodle dishes, cashews, pecans, pistachios, almonds and walnuts are among the most nutritious nuts (for vegans and carnivores alike).

Buy it: Wonderful Pistachios No Shells Roasted and Salted ($15.98 for 24 ounces, amazon.com)

Vegetable Stock

As the base of soups or the start of a pan sauce, stock up on boxed stock. (Since it can easily be saved to use later in the week, we prefer it to canned broth or stock.) While you can make your own, it's far quicker to buy and the quality is improving to be nearly just-as-tasty as the DIY stuff.

Buy it: Kitchen Basics Unsalted Vegetable Stock ($2.99 for 32 ounces, amazon.com)

Nutritional Yeast

Jam-packed with B vitamins and one of the few vegan complete proteins, this golden-hued powder makes a delicious garnish and a just-like-cheese pasta sauce or nacho drizzle.

Buy it: NOW Nutritional Yeast Powder ($7.51 for 10 ounces, amazon.com)

Nut and Seed Butters

Peanut butter is good, true. But we're fond of upping the ante in our vegan pantry with tahini for hummus and other Mediterranean recipes, almond butter for baking and sunflower butter for sharing with those who have tree nut allergies.

Buy it: 88 Acres Organic Seed Butter Variety Pack ($24.99 for 14 single-serving pouches, amazon.com)

Maple Syrup

Since it comes from bees, honey is considered a non-vegan sweetener. So for any breakfast, dessert or snack recipe that calls for honey, use maple syrup as a one-for-one substitute.

Buy it: Crown Maple Syrup Bourbon Barrel Aged Organic Maple Syrup ($14.90 for 12.7 ounces, amazon.com)

Dried Mushrooms

Umami, that craveable savory quality prominent in meats, is also noteworthy in dried mushrooms. Reconstitute them by soaking in water for about 30 minutes (drain and rinse before using), then stir into soups, stews, sauces—or substitute fresh fungi called for in meat-free mushroom recipes at a ratio of 3 ounces dried for every pound of fresh.

Buy it: Roland Foods Dried Mixed Wild Mushrooms ($31.82 for one pound, amazon.com)

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