Blog Post

“What’s in a Whole Food Plant-based Pantry?”

Please Share The Urban Herbivore

Taking the first steps to change can be the hardest part. Many of us know we could be eating more fiber and nutrient dense fruits and vegetables. When I made the switch from Carnivore to Herbivore I slowly upgraded my pantry. I added lots of new items from which to pull from. I kept things simple and kept adding as my palate changed and I discovered what I liked.

Have you ever said or thought? “I’m too tired to cook.”

Sometimes our busy lifestyles leave us running low on energy; which is even more reason to have a well stocked pantry and freezer to pull from.

Here are some Pantry tips to get you started. You can heighten and add as you learn what you like. Let curiosity guide you. Food chemistry is truly amazing!

Whole Grains aka the New Proteins

What is a whole grain? A good example of a whole grain is brown rice. White rice is brown rice that has been processed. White rice is not a whole grain because it has been hulled and bleached. Processing removes the outer hull and the grain is then bleached, yes bleached. Do you really want to be eating bleach? Brown rice is hearty and full of protein, once you cross over you will not want to go back to white rice.

Other whole grains are Whole Wheat, Steel-Cut Oats, Rolled Oats, Barley, and Farro.

Seeds & Nuts – aka the New Protein

Wild Rice (Yes it is a seed and the brand I buy is grown in Minnesota), Chia Seeds, Hemp Hearts, Flax, Walnuts, Almonds, Cashews, Pecans, Macadamia, Smuckers Natural Peanut Butter…etc.

Beans & Lentils – aka the New Proteins

Beans – Black, Garbanzo, Cannelloni, Great Northern, Navy, Kidney, Pinto, Butter…etc. I usually buy dry beans and canned.

Lentils – Green, Red, Yellow…etc. Lentils can be purchased in one pound packages or in bulk.

Canned Goods

Fire Roasted Tomatoes are a hearty savory delight. Look for brands without oil and no salt. They are flavorful and versatile and can be used in many dishes and soups. They are a whole food replacement for jarred pasta sauces. I have found them to marry well with ethnic cuisines like Indian, Italian, Mexican and American. Experiment with different brands and find the ones you like and stock up.

Fire Roasted Red Peppers, Green Chiles, Pineapple Chunks, Tomato Paste, Corn, Water Chestnuts, Unsweetened Applesauce,


Spices are the linchpin of plant-based cooking and if you have never walked into a spice shop add it to the top of your to do list. I used to feel intimidated by spice shops, but after one trip I was hooked! I felt like I was Alice finding Wonderland. The spices are more flavorful than what you find in a standard market. I have been fortunate to discover the Savory Spice Shop here in Omaha, Nebraska. Debbie and her staff are indispensable. They can recommend the spice you need for any particular dish.

Here is a list of my favorite spices, not all of them are exclusive to the Savory Spice Shop, but I have linked the ones that are:

California Basil, Smoked Paprika, Garam Masala, Chipotle, Organic Ground Cumin Seeds, Cinnamon, Hatch Green Chile Powder, Red Rocks Hickory Smoke Seasoning, Hungarian Paprika, Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute, and so many more!


Salsa – Look for oil free, sugar free, and low sodium. Or better yet make your own!

Sam’s Choice Mango Salsa (Walmart), Simple Truth Organic Black Bean & corn Salsa (Kroger)

Tamari – A low sodium, wheat free, soy sauce that has been aged. It is mellower than regular Soy Sauce. David  Flynn from The Happy Pear refers to Tamari as liquid gold and I whole heartily agree.

Valentina Salsa Picante, Mustard, Tahini, Dill Relish and Sweet Relish

Perishable items:

Breads, Pita, and Tortillas – Look for Whole Grain Pitas, and wraps.

Most Omaha, Nebraska markets carry Ezekiel 4:9 bread can usually be found in the frozen food section of the market. It is a hearty dense bread that is full of fiber and great for toasting and making faux-tuna salad!

Trader Joe’s carries a great Corn & Wheat Tortillas.

Mission Street Tacos Corn Tortillas are great and they can be cut into quarters and baked into dipping chips.

Super Foods in Gordon, Nebraska carries Toufayan Whole Wheat Pita’s that can be used for sandwiches or better yet mini pizzas!

Non- Dairy Milks

Califia Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk – 40 calorie (HyVee, Kroger), Simple Organic Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk – 40 calorie (Kroger), and many more.

Greens & Fruits

Taylor Farms Organics has hands down the best fresh greens in Omaha (Kroger).

I buy Dole frozen Mango and Berries for my oatmeal. Frozen fruits don’t go bad and you can use the amount you need (HyVee, Kroger).

I by fresh Apples, Limes, Cuties Clementines, Cherub Tomatoes, Yukon Gold Potatoes and Zucchini

Please Share The Urban Herbivore

Tamara A. Rager



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