Is your pantry ready to embrace your new flexitarian lifestyle? Well before I started The Flexitarian blog gave my storecupboards a complete overall.
The secret to any diet change is not to be caught short otherwise you can quickly revert to old ways. The flexitarian diet is no different. Stock up your fridge and pantry with all the ingredients you need. Having a different kind of ingredients available will surely inspire you to try new meat-free recipes and switch to a more plant-based diet.
Be ready to go meat-free any day of the week with our Flexitarian Pantry guide below. It is of course largely inspired by vegetarian supplies. We have tried to make it as broad as possible to suit most tastes so there are a lot of different things here.
Don’t be overwhelmed just work your way through it. You do not need everything on the list pick and choose (and add) to suit your taste and dietary needs.
Flexitarian Pantry Guide
BEANS & PULSES
Beans & Pulses are a real staple for a plant-based diet as they contain proteins, iron, magnesium, zinc and other minerals. They are also high in fibre and low in fat and cholesterol.
Dry Lentils – Puy Lentils, Green Lentils, Red Lentils, Soybeans etc… Perfect for salads, curries, soups etc..
Chickpeas – so versatile it is hard to do without them. Perfect for salads, curries, dips, soups etc..
Beans – Red Kidney Beans, Pinto Beans, Black Beans, Borlotti Beans, Cannellini Beans. Perfect for salads, chillies, casseroles, curries, soups etc..
Edamame – immature soybeans in the pod. Simply steamed they are great as a snack or side dish.
Grains are another staple of a flexitarian pantry. They are a source of vegetable proteins and nutrients with similar benefits to grains & pulses.
Quinoa – the complete protein. Cook it like rice. Delicious combined with vegetables or in salads.
Barley – Hulled Barley, Pearl Barley. Both are a great addition to soups, stews, salads.
Wheatberries – the whole grain form of wheat without any processing. Great for soups, salads or combined with vegetables.
Couscous – this is the ultimate fast food. Ready in 5 mins. Try also Giant Couscous for a change. Great in salad or combined with vegetables.
Polenta – choose quick polenta which takes no time to cook. Make it creamy or dense. Mix cheese with it. Hard to go wrong. Lovely when combined with roasted peppers, aubergines and courgettes such as this Roasted Ratatouille with Smoked Cheese Polenta.
Rice – Wild Rice, Brown Rice, Arborio, Basmati, Jasmine and Red Rice (a personal favourite which has a great flavour and bite).
Pasta & Noodles – Egg Pasta, Wheat Pasta, Buckwheat Noodles, Stir Fry Noodles. Mix the shapes, mix the colours. Choose wholegrain whenever possible. Mix with vegetables, make salads.
Oats – use in porridge for a healthy start of the day or in cakes and biscuits.
Flours – Bread Flour, Ultra Fine Flour, Self Raising Flour and Plain Flour.
SPICES & CONDIMENTS
Spices – Curry Powder, Coriander (seeds & ground), Cumin (seeds & ground), Nutmeg, Mustard Seeds, Cardamon, Pepper, Cloves, Chilli, Paprika etc… if you are starting out I recommend Steenbergs Storecupboard Spice Box. Has all the essential to give your cooking splendid flavours.
Sauces – Soy Sauce, Fish Sauce, Worcestershire Sauce, Pesto.
Curry Pastes – Red & Green Thai Curry Pastes, Indian Curry Pastes
Oils – Extra Virgin Olive Oil (for salads), Olive Oil & Vegetable Oil (for cooking), Sesame Oil & Walnut Oil (for a slightly different taste).
Vinegar – Red Wine Vinegar, Sherry Vinegar, Rice Vinegar, Cider Vinegar, Balsamic Vinegar, Xeres Vinegar.
Mustard – Dijon Mustard, Wholegrain Mustard, English Mustard.
Vegetable Stock Cubes – great to cook beans and lentils or when you need to do a quick soup.
Nutritional Yeast – strong flavour it is a popular substitute for cheese. Works also well with scrambled tofu (as a substitute for scrambled eggs)
Olives – Kalamata, Green and Black etc.. All make great additions to salads, pizzas, vegetable casseroles.
Preserved Lemons – my secret ingredients to ratatouille, preserved lemons are versatile and add a tang to whatever you add them to.
Jar of Roasted Peppers – quick fix for Summer salads, sandwiches.
Anchovies – technically not a pickle but add flavour to roasted vegetables such as peppers.
Cornichons – a nice addition to salads, sandwiches and salsas.
Capers – work well with cooked vegetables, salads or salsas.
Sundried Tomatoes – packed with flavours for salads, pasta, sandwiches or casseroles.
Coconut Milk – an essential to the flexitarian pantry. Goes well with vegetables, fish or meat. I prefer Light Coconut Milk. Perfect base for curries, flans, pudding etc…
Almond Milk – lovely and creamy with half the fat of semi-skimmed milk. Use it for sauces and desserts
Soya Milk – a versatile dairy-free basic along with soya cream and soya butter. Use it for sauces and desserts
Tofu – made from soybeans high in proteins and calcium tofu is bland in taste but takes the taste of whatever you cook it with making it very versatile. Perfect for stir fry, casseroles, scrambles.
Tempeh – similar to tofu, tempeh has a textured and nutty flavour.
NUTS & SEEDS
Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Hemp Seeds, Sesame Seeds, Flax Seeds, Chia Seeds – loaded with minerals, essential fatty acids, proteins, fibre, antioxidants. I keep a mixed jar and add them to smoothies, cereals, salads etc…
Apricots, Cranberries, Prunes, Dates, Figs, Raisins – full of goodness. Wonderful middle eastern or north African touch. Great to snack on!
GROW YOUR OWN HERBS
Culinary herbs add beautiful flavours. Try to grow your own. In pots in your kitchen or outside in containers or borders so that you have a continuous fresh supply.
Try Basil, Parsley, Mint, Coriander, Thyme, Rosemary, Chives
Of course, each flexitarian pantry varies according to personal taste, allergies or type of cuisine you cook.
Let us know what you would include.