This vegan grocery list for beginners will show you a plethora of options and make shopping a breeze! I'll also give you some pointers along the way that should be helpful for beginners and experienced vegans alike.
Note: You can find the printable option of vegan foods you can buy at the grocery store at the bottom of this page.
1. Beans and Legumes
Fresh vs Canned and Usage Ideas
- Many beans can be used in sweet recipes (like black bean brownies) as well as savory dishes. If you're getting canned beans, be sure to get unsalted if you want to use them for this purpose to keep the flavor profile as versatile as possible.
- You can get beans in the bulk/dry section and cook them yourself without salt/preservatives if your diet requires. It's also cheaper.
- Some can also be found frozen, like peas.
- You can use white beans to make an easy low-fat vegan cheese sauce.
- Because they are cheap, satisfying and nutritious, beans and legumes should be a staple of your vegan grocery list.
2. Root Vegetables
- Bake a white or sweet potato and stuff it with beans and jarred salsa for a quick and filling lunch or dinner.
- Yucca makes great fries if you cut them up and top with salt and pepper. You don't even need to bake it with oil for it to be delicious.
- Throw 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice into smoothies to create a warm fall flavor.
4. Colored Veggies
- Find a few green veggies you enjoy and focus on eating them on a regular basis.
- If you hate greens and have trouble eating them, try hiding them in a whole fruit smoothie.
- Don't be afraid of the steam-able microwave bags for convenience. They're perfect when you're short on time.
Depending on the season, you should be able to find most of these fruits in your average grocery store.
- Buy bananas in bulk and freeze them when they begin to get brown for smoothies.
- Get the berries from the freezer section to save money.
- Use Medjool dates along with cashews to recreate rich vegan treats like a plant-based cheesecake.
Mist fruits can be bought while in season then stored to be enjoyed later. You may check out our guide to freezing peaches to learn more.
6. Meat Alternatives
- When buying pre-made mock meats and veggie burgers, be very careful to check the labels. Look for 100% vegan brands like Gardein.
- You can freeze tofu or tempeh, so feel free to buy in bulk.
- Be sure to try some of the new products as they come out. Items like the Beyond Burger are becoming all too real.
7. Cheese Alternatives
- Pre-made vegan cheeses are great to have on hand, but it's also easy to make your own healthier cheese sauces by blending soaked cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice and a bit of salt.
- For a lower fat vegan cheese sauce, you can replace the blended cashews with white beans or potatoes.
Aside from honey, vegans can pretty much eat any and all sweeteners.
Check out this vegan starter kit
*When buying conventional table sugar, it may be the case that non-organic cane sugar is filtered with bone char. To avoid this, simply buy beet sugar or organic cane sugar.
- If you don't like stevia, try combining it with another sweetener or even small amounts of real sugar. It tastes best when used in synergy with something else.
- Flavored stevia drops also tend to be far less "stevia-tasting" but also add other flavors like vanilla, chocolate or hazelnut.
- Consider using sweet fruits like dates and frozen bananas to naturally sweeten things to get an extra boost of nutrients and fiber.
9. Nuts, Seeds & Fats
- The fats on this vegan shopping list that aren't whole foods (vegan butters and oils) are generally agreed to be less healthy for you. Use in moderation.
- If you want to buy almond butter or another specialized nut butter, consider making your own at home because it's far less expensive.
If you eat a lot of Omega-6 rich foods (like processed oils), it is even more important to eat ground flax-seeds to keep your Omega-3 and Omega-6 ratios in check.
10. Sauces and Condiments
You can usually find little clam-shells of sprouts (not literal shells of clams) in the produce section. Sprouts are loaded with nutrients and are great for adding texture to almost anything including sandwiches, salads or poke bowls.
13. Milk Alternatives
Bonus Tips on Dairy Alternatives
- If you're not supplementing B12 (you should) then make sure you're getting a milk alternative that has B12 added.
- In my experience, soy milk is the best in coffee because it's the most similar to "regular" milk in consistency and taste, but consider non-dairy coffee creamers if you like cream.
- You can use the raw materials, a blender and a nut milk bag to make your own at home.
- The coffee aisle of most grocery stores usually have plant-based options for creamers that are shelf stable.
14. Sea Vegetables
Eating sea vegetables is important because they're one of the few sources of iodine aside from fortified salts.
- One of my favorite restaurants uses dulse flakes in their vegan Caesar salad. Seaweed can be used in small quantities for a flavor boost without being "fishy".
- Rolling your own vegan sushi with nori is easy after a few tries. The bamboo rollers don't cost much.
15. Vegan Junk Food
If you're so inclined, there's an endless list of vegan junk food to enjoy. You probably don't want to make these a regular part of your daily diet, but when the craving for delicious junk food hits, there are plenty of vegan ways to satisfy it.
Printable Vegan Grocery List with Tips
Click the image below to get the full-sized printable version.
What's mentioned above are just the basics. If you're looking for more specific stuff based on your diet, then you might wanna look into recipes. If you're into raw diets and you like raw food, check out this list of the best raw food cookbooks for vegans.
Want to take all of the guess-work around going vegan?
Click here to check out the Vegan Starter Kit.