Whether you're transitioning to a plant-forward lifestyle or simply looking to incorporate more plant-based meals into your routine, having a well-stocked pantry and fridge will help make your journey more enjoyable and sustainable long-term.

Plant-based cooking does require a bit of planning and preparation, but once you find a rhythm for your favorite flavors and go-to meals, you’ll be able to whip up something delicious in a pinch, every time. 

To help you get started, here’s our round-up of pantry and fridge staples you should keep on-hand, complete with our suggestions for tools around the kitchen, too. 

Pantry Essentials:


Grains should take up a solid portion of each of your plant-based plates to keep you feeling full and satisfied. Keep items like brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat pasta, and oats on-hand. These can serve as the base of nourishing bowls, salads, and more. If you plan on making tortillas, be sure to keep a bag of organic masa harina on-hand too – our favorite place to source it is Masienda.


Beans, lentils, and chickpeas (garbanzos) can be great sources of protein and fiber. They can be used in soups, stews, and salads, or if you’re feeling something hearty, a bean burrito like our plant-based Mushroom Carnitas Burrito. When it comes to legumes, canned or dried varieties are both great options, but one of our go-tos is bagged mayocoba beans, which you can find at most Latino grocery stores.

Nuts and Seeds:

Stock up on almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, cashews, and pumpkin seeds. These provide healthy fats, protein, and added texture to dishes if you like a crunch. They can also be used in smoothies, granolas, and as toppings for yogurt or oatmeal. The Todo Verde team loves to keep pine nuts in the pantry in case we ever need to create a crowd-pleasing hummus or pesto to share. For a great seed source beyond your local supermarket, check out Native Seeds.

Spices and Herbs:

A well-rounded collection of spices and herbs will completely transform your plant-based meals. In addition to the basics like garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, paprika, and red pepper flakes, seek out plant-based seasonings that emulate the flavors you know and love. Todo Verde’s Al Pastor, Tinga, and Carnitas seasoning trio is a great place to start rediscovering true-to-culture, abuelita-approved flavors without sacrificing your plant-forward lifestyle.  

Sauces and Condiments:

Having a variety of sauces and condiments can help you add depth to your dishes. Soy sauce, vinegars, hot sauce, and nutritional yeast are versatile options to keep on-hand, and Thrive Market is a great place to source all your favorites.

    Refrigerator Essentials:

    Fresh Vegetables:

    A common tip you’ll hear about plant-based eating is to keep your plate colorful. Be sure to buy leafy greens, bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, and tomatoes, which can be great for salads, wraps, and snacking. We also love keeping cauliflower and farmer’s market mushrooms on-hand for meals. 

    Fresh Fruits:

    Whether you need a snack or have a late-night craving for sweets, berries, bananas, and citrus fruits are all great choices. You should also consider finding a food chart showing you what produce is in season – that’s when fruits are their most delicious. 

    Plant-Based Milk:

    Whether you prefer almond, soy, oat, or coconut milk, having a dairy-free milk option is essential for smoothies, cereal, and baking. We love to use coconut milk to make plant-based arroz con leche (just make sure you’ve stocked up on cinnamon!). 

    Tofu and Tempeh:

    Soy-based proteins are SO versatile and can be marinated, sautéed, or grilled. If you’re just starting out on your plant-based journey, don’t get discouraged by cooking with these options – it takes practice to master them! Finding the right methods and seasonings will do wonders. 

    Frozen Vegetables and Fruits:

    Keep a variety of frozen veggies and fruits in your freezer. They're perfect for when fresh options are scarce, and can be used in smoothies, stir-fries, and more.


      If you’re looking for authentic Mexican ingredients and tools, consider shopping online at MexGrocer. For more recommendations on amazing places to source your plant-based food, check out page 153 of our Founder Jocelyn’s cookbook, La Vida Verde. 

      As for tools to keep on-hand in your plant based journey, our Founder Jocelyn always recommends a clean apron, a good set of knives, and colorful dishware that feels like home. She also suggests high-quality tongs for roasting veggies to make salsas.

      By finding your groove of pantry and fridge staples to keep on hand, you'll be well-prepared to create delicious and nutritious plant-based meals whenever you desire. With creativity, experimentation, and a little guidance along the way, you'll discover the whole new world of flavors and textures that plant-based cooking has to offer.

      April 20, 2023