If you’re just starting on your vegan journey, or maybe just want to eat a little bit more plant-based, this post is for you! These are some really easy vegan grocery list swaps you can make. These were all purchased from Whole Foods, but any large grocery store should have most of these items.
Vegan grocery list: For your fridge
- Nut Milk. This is so standard these days, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding non-dairy milk options at any grocery store. If you don’t want a nut milk, try Oat Milk!
- Sour Cream. Did you know that vegan sour cream is actually SUPER easy to make yourself with cashews and some apple cider vinegar and lemon juice in your blender? If you aren’t the DIY type, I love Tofutti for a non-dairy option. While it doesn’t taste the same as the dairy version, I think it’s great mixing up with some chipotle adobo sauce and making my own sour cream sauce!
- Butter. There are so many non-dairy butter options available, but my favorite by far is Miyokos! You can use it as you would to spread on top of your toast in the morning, or melt in a pan before cooking your hashbrowns, etc. It’s also great for baking too!
- Yogurt. Again, this is a super simple one to make a swap! There are cashew yogurts, almond milk yogurts, oat milk yogurts, coconut milk yogurt, honestly the list goes on and on. They come in all the same flavors that dairy yogurt does so there isn’t any reason to keep buying the one that harms our cow friends!
- Tofu. Tofu is SO versatile. Not only is it a winner for protein and essential amino acids, it’s really awesome to blend up in a food processor and use to make creamy sauces for pasta!
- Mayo. I was NEVER a mayonnaise fan before becomming vegan. Honestly, the stuff just grossed me out! But I have to say, the ingredients in vegan mayo do not gross me out and I’ve come to realize that sauces is where SO much flavor comes from. Vegan mayo provides a really awesome base to use for a lot of sauces over some protein bowls!
Vegan grocery list: For your pantry
- Nutritional yeast. This is another really versatile item to definitely add to your vegan grocery list. Nutritional yeast is not only…wait for it…super nutritional, but it also has a really rich almost cheesy flavor. It’s delicious for adding on top of popcorn, on top of pastas or mixing in with sauces, adding into pestos, mixing in with tofu for “scrambled eggs”, and so much more.
- Agave. A great natural sweetener and alternative to honey. Maple syrup is another good option, but agave has a bit more of a “honey” flavor. I love adding it in smoothies for a little extra sweetness, and it also is great in some Asian style sauces when you just need that little hint!
- Flaxseeds. I would recommend buying them pre-ground if you don’t have a spice grinder. These are one of the best things to use in baking as an egg substitute. Just mix 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds with 2 tablespoons of water to sub for 1 egg. Let it sit for about 10 minutes and it will coagulate similarly to an egg and help bind your mix. Flaxseeds are also dense in fiber, omega 3s, vitamin B, and more. You can add a tablespoon to your smoothies in the morning too for a little extra kick!
- Coconut Milk. I’m talking about canned coconut milk! This is another favorite way to make creamy sauces! Sometimes I cook rice or pasta in the coconut milk instead of water for a coconut flavor, extra nutrients and a creamy texture! When you open the can (depending how cold it has been), you may find a thicker, denser bit of coconut cream on the top. You can also scoop that out carefully, and you can use that to make your own whipped cream in a mixer!
- Organic Sugar. It’s not very well known that non-organic sugar actually isn’t technically vegan. Regular sugar gets ground through animal bones before it makes its way into your kitchen. There’s really no way to guarantee that little flecks from the bones don’t also make their way into your kitchen! So, be sure to add this to your vegan grocery list. All sugars labeled organic (confectioners, brown sugars, coconut sugars, etc) do NOT use bones.
- Chocolate Chips. Many grocery stores now also carry chocolate chips made with oat milk instead of cow milk. They honestly taste exactly the same, and don’t harm the cows or the planet, so that’s a win in my book! Lots of chocolate is vegan if it’s dark enough, but always double check the package ingredients for any animal products, or just look for the “vegan” symbol on the packaging.
- Liquid Aminos. This is a great addition for any sauces that call for fish sauce! It’s great mixing in for dressings in Asian dishes. Liquid aminos are amino acids from fermented coconut sap, or from soybeans. It has a salty flavor, almost like soy sauce. Bonus that you get in some of your essential amino acids!
grocery shopping in general
Even if you’re not ready to make a switch to vegan at this point, keep your eyes out next time you go through the grocery store. Maybe walk a bit slower, and you might find there are actually TONS of vegan alternatives for you to try! Going vegan is often seen as a “limit”, your “limiting” what you can eat. Really, that’s just a frame of mind. I eat WAY more foods now that I’m vegan than I ever did previously and don’t see it as a limit at all. And for all the favorites like ice cream and sour cream, I can still buy the vegan version!