When you are just getting started with a vegan diet, it can seem very overwhelming. You might be wondering if you are destined to only eat salads for the rest of your life! I assure you, that is not the case. You will enjoy an abundance of food as a vegan, including versions of your favorite meals like burgers, spaghetti and meatballs, pot pie, butter “chicken”, lasagna and more!

I created this vegan grocery list to get you started and take the guess work out of shopping. (FREE PRINTABLE)

image with a text box for grocery list for vegan beginners

What can vegans not eat?

I know this may seem obvious to some, but I think it’s a good place to start as there is actually quite a bit of confusion in our culture about what exactly a vegan can or can not eat.

The basic answer is that vegans do not eat animals or their byproducts, so no meat, dairy (cheese, milk, yogurt), eggs, or honey. If it’s an animal or it came from an animal, we don’t eat it. This includes gelatin products, like regular marshmallows, jello, etc.

Some people think being vegan means you are also gluten free, but that is not the case. I eat plenty of bread and other gluten containing foods! Of course, if you have to be gluten free for health reasons, you can exclude it from your diet. But vegan does not equal gluten free.

Vegans CAN eat sugar, but some white sugar is processed with animal bones. If you buy organic, it will be vegan. This depends on where you live in the world and what company you are buying from.

Some people choose to eat more whole foods as a vegan (a whole foods plant based diet) while others include some vegan processed food, sugar and flour, like me! 🙂  This is a personal choice. As long as no animals were harmed in the making, it’s all gravy to me (and yes, you can have vegan gravy!).

What do vegans eat?

Let me first say that being vegan is not about perfection. Slip ups may happen, or you might think something is vegan only later to realize it wasn’t. Don’t beat yourself up if that happens.

Maybe you need to take it slow, first cutting out meat, then dairy, then eggs. Do what works for you! If you are trying to eat more plants and ease yourself in to this lifestyle, I support your efforts! Make sure to check out 10 Tips for Going Vegan.

So, what do vegans eat? Everything else! Fruit and vegetables, of course, but also oatmeal, bread, pasta, vegan cheese, vegan mayo, vegan meat alternatives (if you choose to), beans, nuts, tofu, tempeh, chips, crackers, vegan desserts and more.

Check out my recipe index to explore the deliciousness that is vegan food!

collage of grocery list

Vegan grocery list

FREE PRINTABLE VEGAN GROCERY LIST – Click here to print the organized list.

Here I’ll break down my basic list of staples you may want to have on hand. Pick and choose what you like, and base it around your meals. With the printable, you can add any additional ingredients you need after you pick what breakfast, lunches and dinners you plan on making.

Fresh fruits

Typically I buy whatever is in season and on sale, but I tend to purchase apples and bananas year round.
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Berries – Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries.
  • Watermelon
  • Pineapple
  • Oranges
  • Lemons and limes
  • Peaches, nectarines
  • Cherries
  • Plums
  • Cantaloupe, honeydew melon
  • Mango
  • Dried fruits – Medjool dates, raisins, cranberries, cherries, whatever else you like.

Fresh vegetables

  • Lettuces – Romaine, spinach, kale, arugula and other leafy lettuces.
  • Cruciferous veggies – Broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and cabbage.
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumbers
  • Asparagus
  • Tomatoes
  • Bell peppers
  • Carrots, whole and baby carrots
  • Celery
  • Avocado
  • Onions
  • Mushrooms
  • Garlic – Buy minced in jars for easy cooking.
  • Ginger – I often buy a tube of this, or frozen cubes.
  • Sweet potatoes
  • White/yellow potatoes
  • Eggplant
  • Butternut or acorn squash
  • Green beans, snap peas, green peas

Frozen fruits & vegetables

  • Blueberries
  • Mango
  • Cherries
  • Green peas
  • Mixed veggies – Great for pot pie
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower or cauliflower rice
  • Corn
  • Green beans
  • Edamame

Beans & legumes

I typically buy organic canned beans for convenience, but you can purchase dried as well, which are more budget friendly.

  • Chickpeas
  • Black beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Refried beans
  • Lentils – red and green or brown
  • Split peas
  • Kidney beans
  • Hummus

Vegan high protein foods & meat alternatives

  • Tofu, mostly firm or extra firm
  • Tofurky deli slices – My kids LOVE these in sandwiches.
  • Tempeh – For making vegan BLT’s and more.
  • Seitan
  • Soy Curls – Check out this beefy vegan stew made with soy curls!
  • TVP
  • Gardein vegan chicken nuggets, vegan meatballs, etc.
  • Field Roast sausages – Awesome for vegan pizza.
  • Impossible or beyond meat products
  • Protein powder – Not necessary but only if you like this sort of thing. I personally can’t stand protein powders! At least I haven’t found one I can stomach.

Nuts & seeds

  • Cashews – Raw cashews make the most delicious vegan cheeses and other creamy food. I buy them in bulk and at the best price I can find!
  • Almonds
  • Pecans
  • Walnuts
  • Sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds.
  • Peanut butter or almond butter
  • Tahini

Grains & bread

  • Bread – Just check the ingredients to make sure it’s vegan. I like Dave’s Killer Bread, sourdough bread and Ezekial sprouted bread. But even cheap sandwich bread is often vegan.
  • Bagels – Usually vegan! Pair with some vegan cream cheese.
  • Pasta – Most varieties are already vegan except for egg pasta. Choose white, whole wheat or gluten free. They even make bean based pasta now!
  • Tortillas, corn or wheat.
  • All purpose flour, whole wheat flour, buckwheat flour, almond flour, etc.
  • Brown and white rice
  • Quinoa if you like it
  • Rolled or steel cut oats

Plant milks, dairy and egg alternatives

  • Soy, almond, cashew, coconut, hemp or oat milk.
  • Vegan coffee creamer – I like Silk Plain.
  • Just Egg
  • Vegan cream cheese – Violife makes the absolute best vegan cream cheese spreads! Tofutti is also good, especially for making cheesecake.
  • Vegan cheese shreds and slices – Currently loving Violife brand, but I also love Chao, Miyoko’s and even Daiya.
  • Vegan butter – There are so many brands nowadays. I use Earth Balance, Miyoko’s and Country Crock the most. Or make your own!
  • Vegan ice cream – Cashew SoDelicious brand is my absolute favorite!

Other pantry staples

  • Tomato products – Tomato paste, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce.
  • Vegan marinara for pasta
  • Canned pumpkin
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Rice vinegar
  • Jams and jellies
  • Maple syrup
  • Salsa
  • Sriracha hot sauce
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Instant yeast
  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Cooking spray
  • Molasses
  • Agave
  • Organic sugar varieties for baking
  • Coconut milk, canned
  • Red curry and green curry paste
  • Soy sauce or tamari
  • Baking powder and baking soda
  • Salt
  • Cornstarch or arrowroot
  • Vanilla extract

Speciality items to consider

Convenience foods that are vegan

This will greatly depend on what’s available to you and where you live in the world, but these are some of my favorite convenience foods:

  • Amy’s non-dairy burritos
  • Gardein vegan meals, nuggets
  • Vegan boxed Mac and cheese – Daiya or Amy’s brand.
  • Daiya frozen pizzas
  • Vegan protein bars, larabars, granola bars
  • Dark chocolate
  • Amy’s canned soups -Some varieties are vegan.
  • Frozen waffles that are vegan
  • Tortilla chips
  • Potato chips, other vegan friendly chips
  • Vegan friendly crackers
  • Veggie sticks
  • Hippeas snacks

Spices and herbs

Basil, oregano, fennel, chili powder, curry powder, cumin, turmeric, garlic and onion powder, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, coriander, cloves, thyme, rosemary, dill, black pepper, garam masala, sumac.
❤️  Nora


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