Whether you are transitioning to a vegan lifestyle or have been vegan for a while, figuring out what to put on your weekly grocery list can be challenging.
If you are a little bit like me, you can have a clear idea of what you will get and yet come out of the grocery store 2 hours later with 30 items you never planned for and no idea how you’ll make complete meals out of them.
This is why having a grocery list as a guide can help you make sure each trip is easy and efficient.
Even if you have been vegan for years, there is more and more products appearing every day. This is definitely great news but being prepared on what you’ll get can avoid you from buying the 5 new flavors of vegan ice cream in one trip.
What doesn’t belong in your vegan grocery list?
Before getting started on what to buy, let’s go over what foods are not considered vegan in case you have any doubts:
- Meat like beef, pork, poultry, turkey, lamb, game meat, cold meats, sausages, etc.
- Fish and seafood, anchovies, tuna, shrimp, mussels, lobster, etc.
- Eggs and food made with eggs like mayonnaise, regular pastries, some kinds of pasta, etc.
- Dairy milk and all food made with it like milk chocolate, butter, milk cream, sour cream, yogurt, ice cream, ghee, spreads, powder milk, or baked goods.
- Cheese, cream cheese, cottage cheese, cheese squares, etc.
- Honey, bee pollen, royal jelly, beeswax, gelatine (mostly in desserts)
While these are the most obvious non vegan foods, there are other animal-derived ingredoents that are —unfortunately— hidden in lots of products where you wouldn’t expect them like bread , crackers, cereals or gummies.
That’s why it’s crucial especially in the beginning to check food labels so you can identify what brands are vegan friendly and which don’t.
When checking the ingredients, these are some of the not-so-obvious animal-derived ingredients to watch out for:
- Amino acids
- Fatty acids
Additionally, if you are unsure if a product is vegan or not, you can always do a quick google search and you’ll find the answers for more products than you can imagine.
How to plan your weekly vegan grocery list?
The following list covers all the foods you could possibly include in your plant based grocery shopping. The goal is to give you an idea of everything that is available, but that doesn’t mean you will be buying all the items every week.
You could have this list handy when doing you in-store or online grocery shopping or even better, you could take 10 mins previously to plan your menu for the week and pick the foods you will need based on what you plan on eating.
It’ll be different for every person and meal plan but each week your grocery list might include:
- Fresh vegetables and fruits
- Frozen vegetables and fruits
- Starchy veggies such as potatoes, yams, and pumpkin.
- Plant-based protein soy such as tofu, tempeh, and edamame.
- Dried or canned legumes such as beans, lentils, and chickpeas.
- Dairy-free alternatives for milk, yogurt, and cheese
- Spices and dried herbs, nuts, seeds, nut butter, nutritional yeast.
- whole grains such as oats, rice and quinoa and whole-grain products such as bread, and pasta
- Cereals and crackers
VEGAN GROCERY LIST
Fresh and frozen fruits are both full of vitamins and are ideal to add to your morning oatmeal or smoothie.
Ideally, you want to switch the fruits you eat every week so you can get a wide variety of nutrients and its benefits.
Dried fruit can be a great alternative for snacking especially if you are going to go hiking or performing an intense workout since they are a pretty calorie-dense source of energy.
- Banana chips
- Goji Berries
- Goji Berries
- Mixed fruit blends
- Mixed berries
Vegetables are a huge part of a whole-food plant based diet. They are essential to get all your micrnutrietn needs as well and fiber and enzymes.
If you have a hard time eating veggies you can try adding some of them to your smoothies, which also helps you avoid waste. Make sure to check out this list of yummy high protein vegan breakfast with lots of smoothies you can try to get your nutrients in.
I try to get the fresh vegetables that are available on that season and only choose canned or frozen if I can find something I am truly needing. But still, any veggie is better than not veggie.
- Leafy green. Kale, spinach, arugula, collard greens.
- Cruciferous veggies: cauliflower, broccoli, red cabbage, green cabbage, napa cabbage, Brussel sprouts.
- Root vegetables: parsnips, carrots, sweet potato, yams, potatoes, turnips, carrots, beets
- Onions and shallots
- Mushrooms of all varieties.
- Squash: butternut, acorn, kabocha, pumpkin, Hubbard.
- Green beans, green peas, snap peas, snow peas.
- Tomato paste
- Diced tomatoes
- Whole tomatoes
- Sun-dried tomatoes
- Leafy green. Kale, spinach, arugula, collard greens.
- Green peas
- Mixed stirfry veggies
- Brussel sprouts
- Butternut squash
- Green beans
Legumes are a huge part of a plant-based diet but is probably the food group thar new vegans are less familiar with.
Lentils, chickpeas, and beans are all legumes and they are full of plant protein, fiber, and complex carbs.
I personally like to stick to one legume per week, make a lot of it, freeze it, and eat it several days. But I am one of those people who can eat the same almost every day, thankfully because it makes cooking way easier.
Of course, you can also get canned legumes and get a meal done in 2 minutes but if you will eat them often (as you want to) your budget can increase significantly.
- Kidney beans
- Black beans
- Cannellini and white beans
- Navy, pinto, fava beans
- Black-eyed peas
- Lima beans
- Split peas, yellow and green
- Lentils: green, brown, red, yellow
- Kidney or red beans
- Black beans
- Cannellini, white beans
- Pinto beans, navy beans
- Bean soups or chili
- Baked beans
Soy has a controversial reputation but it is actually a very healthy food many benefits and uses.
On its own, tofu looks like intimidating and bland but, if you think about it, raw chicken doensn’t look too good either.
Soy and soy products deserve its own category. They can be prepared in many different ways and additionally, offer a lot of healthy protein with a low percentage of carbs and fats, if that is something you care about.
Make sure to check out this article on the health benefits of soy and this one on all the delicious ways you can prepare it.
We will mention all the new and exciting soy products later but here are some of the most common and traditional ones:
- Tofu: plain, smoked, marinated, silken
- Soy milk
- Soy yogurt
Contrary to popular belief, grains are a great source of complex carbohydrates and fiber and an important part of a healthy plant-based diet. (Unless you have an allergy).
In this section, I have included whole grains and it derivated products such as flour, bread, and pasta.
- oats, rolled oats, steel-cut, instant.
- rice, preferably brown
- Bread, buns, tortillas
- pasta, whole wheat pasta, brown rice pasta, quinoa pasta,
- Rice cakes, corn cakes
- Whole grain flours: quinoa flour, buckwheat flour, whole wheat flour
Nuts & Seeds
Along with carbohydrates, fats are another macronutrient that is commonly demonized but in reality, (healthy) fats are an essential part of a vegan diet and a great source of Omega-3 (precursors), calcium, zinc, magnesium, and iron!
They are critical to support a healthy brain and nervous system, promote cell health, and contribute to the absorption of vitamins and minerals.
- Nuts: almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, cashews, macadamia, Brazil nuts, pistachios, pine nuts
- Seeds: chia, hemp, flax, sesame, pumpkin, sunflower
- Nut Butter: almond, cashew, peanut, macadamia, coconut
- Seed Butter: tahini, pumpkin seed, sunflower seed
Vegan Dairy Replacements
Vegan “Dairy” has come a long way since its beginning and nowadays vegan are lucky to enjoy thousands of vegan options for milk, spreads, and cheese.
For someone who hasn’t eaten cheese in more than 10 years, I am in love with some of the current products available.
However, I am also aware that they are not an exact replica of from their non-vegan alternatives, so keep an open mind and don’t give up after the test since they vary a lot from brand to brand!
Common brands include Silk, Daiya, Miyoko, So Delicious, Oatly, and Chao.
- Dairy-free milk: almond, cashew, oat, rice, hemp, coconut, soy
- Dairy-free yogurt: almond, coconut, cashew, oat
- Vegan sour cream and ranch
- Dairy-free creamer
- Vegan cream cheese or ricotta
- Vegan cheese: shreds, slices, blocks, parmesan
- Dairy-free ice cream: coconut, cashew, soy, oat
- Margarine, vegan butter, vegan spreads
- Vegan pudding cups
Recommended: All You Need To Know About Vegan Milk
Herbs, spices and flavorings are not necessarily vegan but they are an essential part of your pantry and the responsible for bringing your meals to life.
Additionally, if you have any doubts about whether the certain sauce is vegan or not you can check the following list.
Herbs & Spices
- Italian herb mix, basil, oregano,
thyme, marjoram, rosemary
- Salt, black salt
- Pepper, red pepper, cayenne
- Garlic & onion powder
- Paprika, smoked paprika, chili powder
- Ginger, turmeric, cumin, coriander,
- Parsley, cilantro, dill
- Sage, saffron, bay leaves
- Cocoa, cinnamon, vanilla
- Cloves, celery seed, anise, nutmeg
- Mixes like cajun, chipotle, garam masala
Dips & Sauces
- Soy sauce, tamari, miso
- Ketchup, mustard
- BBQ sauce, cocktail sauce*
- Hot sauce, sriracha
- Salsa, sweet chili sauce*
- Hummus, guacamole*
- Vegan mayo*
- Vegan salad dressings*
- Vegan Gravy*
- Vinegar: balsamic, white, apple cider, rice
- Oil: olive, sesame, canola, peanut, coconut, flax
- Vegetable stock or broth
- Liquid smoke (tastes like bacon)
- Lemon juice
- Curry paste
- Sambal oelek
- Nutritional yeast (vegan love this,
it tastes like cheese!)
- Vegemite (for our Aussie readers)
- Seaweed: kombu, wakame, nori
*Check the label to make sure it is vegan
Here are some other products you might want to include less frequently in your grocery list to stock up your vegan pantry.
- agave syrup
- coconut sugar
- maple syrup
- organic cane sugar
Baking and Cooking
- baking powder
- baking soda
- cornstarch or arrowroot powder
- pure vanilla extract
- any other extracts you like such as peppermint or almond
- shredded coconut
- coconut flakes
- vital wheat gluten (used to make seitan)
- various flours such as chickpea flour, quinoa flour, coconut flour, almond flour
Nowadays, there are many mock meats available you can use as a protein source besides legumes and soy products.
The ingredients vary a lot depending on the brand but most of them are made with a variation of wheat gluten, pea or soy protein. The flavors and texture are also very different so I definitely encourage you to try a few and give them a chance until you find the one(s) you prefer.
They are not the epitome of health since some can have a high oil content but not every vegan cares about a whole-foods diet. Or even if you prefer to have a mostly healthy diet, it can include the occasional plant-based burger.
Common brands include Tofurky, Beyond Meat, Impossible Burger, Gardein, Field Roast, and Boca.
- Textured vegetable protein
- Pulled jackfruit
- Vegan burgers: veggie or legume-based
- Vegan sausages, hotdogs
- Vegan nuggets, deli slices
- Plant-based crumbles, cutlets, beef strips
- Seitan or wheat gluten
- Coconut or tempeh bacon
Recommended: What is vegan meat made of?
Vegan snacks & packaged foods
Being vegan shouldn’t mean you don’t get to indulge in some treats every now and then. While you can always opt for vegan brands, there are also many classic snacks and treats that are accidentally vegan and you can find in your usual grocery store.
For a regularly updated list, check out this resource by PETA. Please keep in mind that specific brands might only be available in some countries.
- Lotus Biscoff cookies
- Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup
- Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
- Ritz Crackers
- Swedish Fish
- Bac-Os Bacon bits
- Unfrosted Kellog’s Pop-Tarts
- So Delicious Dairy-Free Ice Cream and other vegan frozen treats.
*Check the label to make sure it is vegan, items like granola bars, chips and gummies can be filled with unexpected dairy, honey, gelatin, or other non-vegan ingredients.
While you can get almost all of your macronutrients and most of your vitamins and minerals from just plants, there are a few key nutrients that are harder to get on a vegan diet and that you might consider adding to your shopping list:
- Vegan B12 (details and recommend brands here)
- Vegan Collagen Booster (details and recommend brands here)
- Vegan Multivitamin (details and recommend brands here)
- Vegan Protein Powder (details and recommend brands here)
How much will you spend on vegan groceries?
A vegan diet can be as cheap or as expensive as you want. If you stick with whole foods like legumes, veggies, and grains, you’ll be spending a lot less than what you would on eggs, cheese, meat, milk, fish, and other animal products.
It’s a common misconception that a vegan diet is expensive but that is only true if you buy a lot of specialty cheeses, treats and only organic produce (which is the same for non-vegans).
But a diet of legumes, fresh fruits, vegetables, and some nuts & seed, is not only inexpensive but is only the healthiest out there and full of all the nutrients you need.
And if your budget allows for it, you can of course indulge in vegan burgers that bleed, organic produce, and superfoods latte mixes.
For tips on how to eat vegan on a budget make sure to check out this article.
Where To Buy Your Vegan Groceries?
You can buy most of these foods at your local supermarket. For specialty items, the best stores to buy vegan foods are:
- Whole Foods
- Trader Joe’s
- Health food stores
- Asian grocery stores
- Farmer’s markets
- Online through Amazon or Thrive Market
- Vegan Beer List
Depending on where you live, there might be other options but regardless of that, vegan foods are becoming increasingly mainstream and even non-vegans are choosing vegan alternatives dairy and meat due to its health benefits vs animal products.
If you are looking for a vegan product and your store doesn’t stock it, you can always bring it up to the cashier. If they notice there is enough demand for it, they might consider carrying it.
Hopefully, you have a clearer idea now on how to organize your vegan grocery list for a more efficient and successful experience at that supermarket.
If you are transitioning to a vegan diet, try to adjust your diet to make it similar to what you used to it and avoid feeling overwhelmed and limited.
In a few weeks, you will have master the art of vegan grocery shopping and will be enjoying a healthy, delicious, and compassionate plant-based diet!
Check out our Free 28-day meal plan at the top of this page if you are looking for ideas!