We’ve never been so attuned to what’s in our kitchen, keeping a close eye on our favorite pantry staples and seeking inspiration for satisfying meals that will put the contents of our refrigerators to good use. Eager to know what an expert in plant-based cooking keeps on hand to make healthy and delicious meals, we recently reached out to Victoria Dodge, co-owner of the Wilmington and Los Angeles-based Yoga Salt studios and co-author of the plant-based cookbook The Yoga Plate, for advice. In addition to outlining pantry essentials, freezer must-haves, and more, she discussed the many benefits of taking a plant-based approach to dining. “Your digestion will be better with all the added fruits and vegetables, and in turn your skin will be clearer, your sleep will be better, and your energy will be higher,” Dodge says. As an added bonus, a vegetarian diet has the wonderful side effects of decreased environmental impact and preservation of natural resources like food and water. All the more reason to add the following items—many of which have long shelf life—to our next grocery list.

WHAT TO KEEP IN YOUR PANTRY
According to Dodge, these are the items that form the backbone of a plant-based diet, from essential legumes and grains to nuts and baking supplies.

BEANS & GRAINS
From canned to dried, beans are the primary source of protein in a plant-based diet. Brown rice, quinoa, and oats are a great alternative to other carbs with a high glycemic index.

  • Garbanzo beans
  • Lentils
  • Black beans
  • Brown Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Oats

SEEDS & NUTS
From snacking to using in smoothies, baked goods, and other recipes, nuts and seeds add protein and are excellent sources of healthy fats and fiber.

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Chia seeds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Nut butters

OILS & BAKING SUPPLIES
A plant-based diet is all about focusing on the healthiest way that you can eat, and for Dodge, that means cutting out refined sugar and replacing it with healthier alternatives like dates, coconut sugar, and maple syrup.

  • Coconut oil
  • Olive oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Dates
  • Coconut sugar
  • Maple syrup
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Spelt flour

PANTRY PERISHABLES
While they won’t last long-term, you’ll turn to these essentials time and time again in all manner of recipes.

  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Bananas
  • Whole grain bread
  • Avocados

WHAT TO KEEP IN YOUR SPICE DRAWER
These commonly used spices are what will take your vegetarian dishes from basic to exotic.

  • Himalayan sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • Turmeric
  • Cumin
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Chili powder
  • Oregano
  • Italian seasonings
  • Cinnamon
  • Vanilla

WHAT TO KEEP IN YOUR REFRIGERATOR
Dodge stocks up on these fresh produce and perishable items every week year-round, and then fills in with the fruits and vegetables that are in season at the farmer’s market.

  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Almond milk
  • Cucumbers
  • Celery
  • Tomatoes
  • Tofu
  • Greens (romaine, spinach, kale)
  • Carrots
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Hummus
  • Pitas
  • Whole grain wraps
  • Tempeh
  • Cilantro
  • Parsley

WHAT TO KEEP IN YOUR FREEZER
Always good to have on hand, these frozen foods can come to the rescue when you’ve run low on fresh items.

FRUIT

  • Mangos
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Bananas
  • Pineapple

VEGETABLES

  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Spinach

OTHER

  • Veggie burgers

Yoga Salt is featured in The Scout Guide Wilmington.