Plantbased Kitchen Basics

Are you looking to start healthy cooking? When I first started out years ago, I had absolutely no idea what I needed to get started, and when I gave up dairy, I found that dairy-free recipes suddenly had a lot of ingredients and kitchen equipment I wasn't used to using. If you're just starting out, or trying your hand at whole foods recipes, here are the things I found I used the most:


  1. Nutribullet. I haven't used another appliance in the kitchen more than this (ok, except the basics like the oven or stove). I used this to not only make smoothies, but to grind up oats into flour, nuts, dates, & more! It can do most things that a food processor can.
  2. Food Processor. Ok I just said that a Nutribullet can do most things a processor can, so why get one? Well, it's better at some things than the Bullet (like dates and frozen bananas), and will make you have to start/stop less. Here is a cheap option, and a more expensive.
  3. Mason jars. Yeah, yeah, yeah, everyone says that, but for good reason. You can buy them in bulk for cheap, and I keep all my sauces and dressings, as well as grains & more in them.
  4. More natural, quality bakingware. I tend to favor glass or Le Creuset. The 9x9 are popular in many healthy baking recipes, like protein or granola bars.
  5. Oil mister. Great for spraying potatoes and veggies for roasting in the oven.
  6. Salad bowls/plates. There is nothing more annoying to me than trying to mix up salads or veggies on plates, and everything's spilling out all over the place. Save yourself the trouble and get ya one of these!

Pantry Staples

  1. Oats. I use oats more than I use anything, for oatmeal and ground into a flour for baking. They can even be made savory for lunches/dinners! And best of all, cheap. Go for old fashioned instead of quick or pre-packaged.
  2. Dates. I use these for dairy/added-sugar-free desserts, and on their own with nut butter. Order them in bulk online instead of the store for the cheapest option, like here.
  3. Cacao. As a well-adjusted chocolate addict, I eat chocolate every day. Every day. And I'm all the happier for it. But I do like to make myself my own chocolate so I can get just the right amount of bitter and sweet that I prefer. Also great to add to smoothies.
  4. Quinoa. You probably know what this is, as it's immensely popular right now. Great base for a buddha bowl or quick side for any meal. Pro tip: buy in bulk at Costco or from self-dispense bins at the grocery store.
  5. Unrefined virgin coconut oil. The other half to my chocolate recipe, and great to sub for other oils in baking. Also a great mask for skin/hair/nails! I buy the Publix brand or online here.
  6. Plantbased milk. I usually buy unsweetened vanilla almond milk, but coconut milk is also great if you get unsweetened. Best for oatmeal and just drinking on its own!
  7. Chia seeds. Cheap at walmart, Costco, and Amazon. Add to oatmeal and good egg replacer in baking.
  8. Flaxseeds. (same deal as chia seeds). Make sure to grind these up (ie., Nutribullet or processor) before using these! (And refrigerate when not using).
  9. Beans & lentils. I buy the lentils dry because they're easy to whip up, but the beans I buy in BPA-free cans because they require soaking and I'm lazy.
  10. Pure maple syrup. Don't get imitation syrup, but real, natural maple syrup. Can get a little pricey, so I also recommend bulk (store in fridge!) I buy the big container at Whole Foods.
  11. Saigon cinnamon. My absolute obsession. I use this in my oatmeal every morning, and it's got a unique, sweet taste so I don't need to add sweetener. Recommended: Spice Islands brand.
  12. Pure vanilla extract. NOT imitation vanilla, but pure. It's worth it.
  13. Sea salt. Not a must, but a good alternative to table salt. Table salt has added iodine that sea salt doesn't, but sea salt has natural minerals that the other kind doesn't, so they both have their benefits.
  14. Spices of choice: cinnamon, turmeric, paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, basil, cilantro, curry powder...
  15. Lemons. A simple, cheap way to add zest to any veggie-based meal. Just cut in half and spritz over veggies. You can't go wrong!