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Best vegan pantry essentials: animal-free ingredients and alternatives for your store cupboard

·5-min read
 (Best vegan pantry products)
(Best vegan pantry products)

Not a day that goes by without some new, ingenious vegan product launching in the UK.

January is the month of many things, not least Veganuary. With so many people starting out the year embarking on the challenge, the plant-based eating community is growing by the day.

Where once there was an obscure supermarket shelf for plant-based diets, we’re pleased to see that the choice has expanded to entire aisles dedicated to vegan foods, ingredients and snacks. All of the UK’s leading grocers have jumped on the nation’s shifting tastes with in-house vegan ranges to answer the call.

Whether you’re new to the lifestyle, looking to make some swaps or want to learn about the new products to bring new life to well-thumbed vegan recipes, we’ve put together a list of all the great foods and ingredients that every self-respecting vegan needs in their kitchen.

From cupboard essentials to freezer ready meals, there’s so much on offer. We will continually update our list with the hottest new products to add to your shopping trolley, but if you think we’ve missed a standout product, let us know.

Shop vegan foods by:

  • Cupboard essentials: vegan sauces and staples to keep on standby.

  • For the fridge: tasty vegan bites to jazz up meals

  • Frozen favourites: for the days you need a good vegan meal on the table pronto

See the best vegan food essentials below

Best Vegan Cupboard Essentials

Vegan sauces and spreads

A dollop of something delicious can make your next meal.

 (Cholula, LEON, Hellman’s)
(Cholula, LEON, Hellman’s)
  • Hellman’s vegan baconnaise - all the great taste without harming a single little piggy - £1.80, Sainsbury’s

  • The Vurger Co. cheese sauces - made with a sweet potato base and thick and luxurious, they’re ideal for smothering over nachos, burgers, macaroni - all the guilty pleasures - £11 for three, The Vurger Co.

  • LEON vegan aioli - garlicky and creamy, this brings a real flavour kick to any dish - £2, Sainsbury’s

  • Cholula - our hot sauce of choice is entirely vegan. There are few dishes that can’t be improved with a splash of Cholula - £1.70, Tesco

  • Other v-friendly hot sauces include Frank’s RedHot, Sriracha and Tabasco.

  • Marmite - what is breakfast without this yeasty spread? One serving gives 76 per cent of B12, normally found in animal sources. All love, no hate - £2.49, Tesco

Vegan Sweet Treats and Guilty Pleasures

Because a little bit of what you fancy does you good.

 (Hikaru Funnell Photography)
(Hikaru Funnell Photography)
  • Doisy & Dam Peanut D&Ds - incredibly moreish candies so good you won’t believe they’re vegan (don’t worry - they are) - £1.99, Holland & Barratt

  • Ritter Sport - the German confectioner has released a collection of ‘accidentally’ vegan chocolate in a variety of flavours - from £2.99, Amazon

  • Howdah - gourmet Indian nibbly things: think Bombay Mix, Bakarwadi Bites, Masala Dippers and Onion Bhaji snacks - £2.59, Holland & Barratt

  • Native Snacks - The lightness of popcorn married with the crunch of a crisp, these vegan snacks are under 90 calories a pack. Flavours include Sea Salt & Vinegar, Sweet Chilli, Sea Salt & Pepper - £1.10, Sainsburys

  • Candy Kittens Vegan Sweets Gift Box - keep these sharp fruit candies on hand for when you need a sweet treat - £2, ASDA

  • Fray Bentos - famous for their tinned pies, the brand has added a Vegan Bolognese Microwave Pot to their range - £1.75, Morrisons

 (Howdah, Fray Bentos, Candy Kittens)
(Howdah, Fray Bentos, Candy Kittens)

Vegan Breads and Protein Powders

More vegan-friendly options for greater meals

  • CRU8 - the plant-based bakery to know offers a variety of tasty treats, from sweet raw macarons (they’re paleo too), Vegan Keto Sesame Seed Bagels and kale crisps - find the range on Amazon

  • Jimmy Joy - nutritionally complete and tasty shakes, bars, pre-made drinks and pots, stock up on this range for easy vegan food on call.

  • Haskapa - a 100 per cent pure plant-based, naturally vegan superberry antioxidant-packed powder to supercharge your morning smoothie, yogurt or porridge.

Best Vegan Essentials For the Fridge

Vegan milk alternatives

There’s no need to go without your daily brew. Swap in these nut and oat-alternatives for your next tea break.

Best vegan cheeses

One of the hardest things to give up for new vegans, there are all sorts of cheese alternatives to sprinkle, slice and melt into vegan dishes.

  • Violife - an official Veganuary sponsor, Violife’s dairy-replacement range spans everything from faux feta and halloumi, blocks of mature cheddar, shredded and cheese slices, even a chocolate spread. There’s a mind-boggling array to choose from. Available at ASDA.

  • Philadelphia has launched a new plant-based soft cheese alternative and its just as tasty as the OG - £2.50, Tesco

  • Nush Spreadable Ch*ese - this vegan almond-made cheese in a 150g tub is made to slather over crackers, available in Natural and Chive flavours - £2.50, Sainsbury’s

Best Vegan Frozen Favourites

Easy, peasy, freezey

 (Itsu, Moving Mountains, Magnum)
(Itsu, Moving Mountains, Magnum)
  • Magnum Vegan Sea Salt Caramel - guilt-free ices that taste as good as the real thing - £3.50, Tesco

  • Moving Mountains Plant-Based Beef Tender Strips - from the British company that delivered us the first plant-based ‘bleeding’ burger comes these beef strips which can be cooked from frozen in five minutes. Try them in a stir-fry and prepare to be seriously impressed - £4, Ocado

  • Moving Mountains’® Fish Fingers - whether you have them with mushy peas or stacked in a sarnie and slathered with vegan mayo, Moving Mountain’s plant-based fish offering proves you needn’t trawl the oceans for great tasting food - £2.85, Waitrose

  • Itsu teriyaki chick’n vegan gyoza - a speedy dinner hero, these Japanese dumplings are packed with meat-like texture and oodles of flavour - £3.75, Tesco