The number one question vegans get is, “what do you eat?” I think I get asked this more than I get asked why I’m a vegan. The assumption is that we somehow live on nothing but iceberg lettuce and the occasional Boca burger, which would obviously be crazy; so it’s not surprising that many people are eager to see a vegan grocery list — presumably because they honestly have no idea how someone survives as a vegan.
When it comes to dining out, it’s true that eating out as a vegan can be next to impossible, especially if you don’t live in a major metropolitan area, but grocery stores are an entirely different animal all together. Grocery stores are safe havens for vegans — even the crummy ones. There’s a popular chain in the south that deems themselves “The Beef People,” but I’d still rather take my chances there than just about mainstream eatery.
What many people fail to realize is that most foods are vegan — it’s the stuff that’s added to them that disqualifies them. For example, if you take the meat and cheese off a pizza, you realize a pizza is about 80 – 90 percent vegan to begin with. That’s probably not the best example, but the point is if you buy your own ingredients, you can make anything you want completely vegan. Not to mention, most grocery stores these days have a frozen section loaded with all sorts of vegan hot dogs, ice cream, burritos, and so on.
My Vegan Grocery List
I tend to steer clear of the faux vegan products I just mentioned — with the exception of a few staples or a special occasion — so don’t be surprised to not find a lot of that stuff on my list. I’m not going to say this is a typical vegan grocery list; it’s just my typical grocery list.
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- Dried beans and lentils — black, pinto, red, chick peas, black-eyed peas, and green lentils.
- Raw peanuts or natural peanut butter — 2 lb or 2 jars.
- Tofu and Tempeh — a few packages of each in different varieties.
- Fresh produce — bananas, apples, spinach, tomatoes, onions, peppers, mushrooms, avocado, potatoes, and whatever happens to be on sale.
- Frozen produce — mixed berries, peas, and lima beans.
- Soy and/or Almond or Coconut milk — 2 cartons.
- Bread — whole wheat or multigrain.
- Tortila shells.
- Rice — all varieties.
- Oatmeal — rolled or quick oats.
- Mustard and hot sauce.
- Kettle cooked chips.
- Beer — typically a six pack of IPA.
- Margarine — Smart Balance or Earth Balance.
- Vegenaise — if I’m feeling frisky.
While most of these foods can be eaten raw or as-is, my girlfriend and I typically use them as ingredients to make a lot of different dishes, and this amount of food will usually last us about two weeks. Granted, we do eat out occasionally. Some of the most common things we’ll make with these ingredients throughout the week are smoothies, burritos, and sandwiches. If we’re making something special, we’ll go to the store or a local market just for those ingredients.