27 Jun 2019
Vegetarian doesn’t necessarily mean eating healthy. Similar to how eating gluten-free cookies doesn’t change the fact that you’re still eating cookies. If your pantry is loaded with high-fat, high-sugar, vegetarian-friendly foods, you’re likely lacking on the wholesome benefits a vegetarian diet provides.
Like any diet or lifestyle, success begins at the grocery store. And success at the grocery store starts with a thoughtfully planned shopping list. If your fridge and pantry are stocked with delicious, nutritious vegetarian staples, you’ll be able to prep and enjoy great food at a moment’s notice.
You don’t have to figure it all out on your own—we’re here to help! We’ve compiled a basic list of staples to get you started. This is by no means a complete vegetarian shopping list—but it’s a good starting place as you build out wholesome meals for you and your family.
7 Staples for Your Vegetarian Shopping List 1. Grains
Grains are at the base (literally) of any complete meal. Whether you’re stuffing brown rice into a burrito or making a thick wild rice soup, a dish isn’t quite complete without a serving of wholesome grains.
Don’t just stick to rice, though. Venture outside the box and add quinoa, steel oats, and Ezekiel bread (it might as well be a grain) to your vegetarian repertoire. As delicious as veggies are, they just don’t hit the spot quite like grains do. To balance your hunger while still getting in the necessary vitamins and nutrients, try incorporating these grains into your meals.
2. Beans (especially lentils)
If you need to add healthy, hearty flavor to a dish, crack open a can of beans. Stock up on black beans, pinto beans, and chickpeas—these staples work well alone or in a variety of dishes.
Lentils, on the other hand, are a whole nother thing. Buy your lentils dry and cook them up in just about 20 minutes. You can add them to just about any dish, soup, salad, or curry. They deliver a punch of protein with a smack of flavor. Once you start cooking with lentils, there’s no going back.
Not all vegetarians eat eggs—so if you don’t, just skip this one. But if you do, say hello to one of the most versatile ingredients on this planet. From baked treats to scrambled eggs to a boiled egg in your salad, eggs pack delicious flavor and wonderful amounts of protein.
Eggs aren’t just for breakfast, either. Lunch, dinner, snack—no matter what the clock says, it’s always the right time to enjoy a perfectly prepared egg. Also, eggs can last over a month in the fridge (check your specific egg carton’s expiration date), making them a reliable, go-to staple.
Ah, tofu, the leading vegetarian substitute for meat. Cooked right, it can have a meat-like texture with powerful flavor. Tofu takes on the taste of the dish it’s cooked in, so it fits most meals.
Fry it in a pan for a delicious sear or bake it in the oven for a crouton-like crunch. Once you learn to cook with tofu, you can add a pop of protein to just about any dish.
5. Vegetables (of course!)
What vegetarian shopping list doesn’t have veggies on it? Vegetables don’t have the shelf life of grains and beans, but they’re a must-buy whenever you venture out to the store. Cooked, boiled, or raw, veggies provide the most vital vitamins and nutrients to your body.
Keep the classics like spinach and lettuce on hand for a quick salad, but then take your veggie game up a notch with some next-level ingredients: kale, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, and much more. Yes, excessively cooking vegetables will drain their nutritional quality, but don’t let this stop you from adding a bit of heat and flavor to your greens.
Remember, moderation in all things. A little heat and seasoning go a long way.
6. Pitas and Wraps
Think of pitas and wraps as the yummy delivery vessels for the rest of your food. Stuff them with vegetables, eggs, tofu, grains, beans—you name it! Whole wheat pitas are an excellent source of fiber and protein. Plus, they’re delicious. Win-win.
Tasty, filling, full of protein, and a perfect on-the-go snack. There are a variety of nuts to choose from, so you’ll never get bored: peanuts, walnuts, cashews, Macadamia nuts, pistachios, pecans, almonds, and many more.
Incorporate these into your salads or eat them alone. You can’t go wrong.
Hemp, chia, pumpkin, and flax seeds are all awesome additions to your vegetarian diet, too. Although not nuts, they’re rich in protein, healthy fats, and Omega-3s.
Success starts with your shopping list, and now you have the barebone essentials for plenty of wholesome, delicious meals. Make your vegetarian lifestyle simple with this starter shopping list and then expand. As you continue experimenting and growing your palate, you’ll find more staples you love and can’t resist. Now you can ditch the vegan Oreos and start living the vegetarian life you’ve always wanted.