We’ve all heard the tired (and TOTALLY incorrect) “protein argument” that people try to use against vegans. (Um, can you say beans, lentils, tofu, and nuts?!) Another fave claim of the haters and skeptics is that shopping for vegan food is “too pricey,” “too difficult,” and “too much work.” So, friends, let me break it down for y’all: Vegan grocery shopping = the easiest thing ever (anytime and anywhere). You just gotta remember the basics and keep in mind that you probably already have a ton of these items in your fridge or pantry at home.

1. Pasta

SFW Plain Pasta

Pasta | Christian Cable | CC BY 2.0 

This is a real conversation I’ve had:

Friend: “Being vegan is sooo hard.”

Me: “But … PASTA!”

Almost all pasta is vegan (obvi egg noodles are no good), and it’s ridiculously cheap, absurdly easy to make, and tastes bomb with veggies, vegan meats, or just straight up with some marinara sauce.

2. Pasta Sauce

SFW Pasta Sauce in Frame

pasta sauce | Ginny | CC BY-SA 2.0 

Vegan pasta sauce is so easy to find it’ll blow your mind. (Yeah, that rhyme was intentional—I’ve got mad MC skills.) Even brands like Ragú, Newman’s Own, and Prego make some vegan sauces. Just make sure you always check the label for meat and dairy ingredients.

3. Bread

SFW Sliced Bread

Oatmeal Wheat Slice | Bart Everson | CC BY 2.0 

OK, so this is a SUPER-broad category. In my mind, “bread” includes bagels, pita, tortillas … basically anything carb-y and delicious that you can put other foods into or on top of. My go-to brands for sliced, sandwich-style bread are Arnold and Cobblestone Mill. Both companies make a ton of vegan options—just check the labels. Vegan bagels are really easy to find, too—try brands like Thomas’ and Sara Lee. For tortillas, Mission Foods brand is always affordable and easy to get your hands on—and its corn tortillas, flour tortillas, taco shells, and tostadas are all vegan.

4. Fruit

SFW Fruit Salad

Fresh Fruit Salad | RustyClark | CC BY 2.0 

All fruit is vegan … duh! Try making fresh or frozen fruit smoothies, eating sliced apples or bananas with peanut butter (if you’ve never tried this snack before, you’re seriously missing out!), or just enjoying fruit as it is. Here’s a fun fact: Did you know that avocados are actually a fruit? Yep, that’s right. They’re my favorite fruit ever, AND they’re full of protein. Tomatoes are another unusual fruit, although they should seriously just be a vegetable … like c’mon, weirdos! (Sorry, tomatoes. I didn’t mean it!)

5. Vegetables

SFW Bunny With Veggies

Olaf refuses to trust any carrot which weighs more than he does | Ketzirah Lesser & Art Drauglis | CC BY-SA 2.0  

Vegetables get a bad rap sometimes, but they’re actually really awesome. Salads, veggie burgers, stir-fries, casseroles, tacos, burritos, tofu scrambles—and basically everything that’s good in this world—just wouldn’t be the same without veggies. Get ’em frozen or fresh!

6. Rice

SFW Rice in Pot

Rice | Paul Downey | CC BY 2.0 

For vegans, rice is a total staple. You can even buy frozen rice if you’re like me and don’t like waiting for it to cook (c’mon, rice, stop being so slow all the time!). For a super-quick meal, throw some frozen rice and frozen veggies in the microwave, top with soy sauce and Sriracha, and call it a freakin’ day!

7. Beans

SFW Bean Collage

Beans = life. Pinto, refried, garbanzo, kidney, white, black, lima … learn to love ’em all and your body, soul, and wallet will be happy!

8. Condiments

SFW Ketchup and Hot Sauce

Tabasco & Heinz | Steve Snodgrass | CC BY 2.0 

Salsa, hot sauce, guacamole, hummus, ketchup, mustard, relish, dressing (try Kraft Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing, Kraft Classic Italian Vinaigrette Dressing, Kraft Creamy Italian Dressing, Kraft French Dressing, Newman’s Own Olive Oil & Vinegar Dressing, Newman’s Own Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing, Briannas Rich Poppy Seed Dressing, and Briannas Rich Santa Fe Blend Dressing—just to name a few), soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, Old El Paso enchilada sauces … OK, you get the idea—vegan condiments are EVERYWHERE!

9. Peanut Butter and Jelly

SFW Peanut Butter and Jelly

Raspberry and Chunky | G M | CC BY 2.0 

It’s “Peanut Butter and Jelly Time” … ALL THE TIME.

10. Tofu

SFW Tofu Variety

Have you ever heard people say, “I don’t like tofu” or “Ew, tofu’s nasty”? Well, let me tell you something: Those people are fools. Yep, I said it—because tofu is awesome. It’s cheap and easy to prepare. It can be baked, fried, or eaten uncooked, and it absorbs the flavor of whatever condiments, seasoning, or other ingredients you cook it with. The texture is awesome, and it’s also packed with protein. Check out some tips on how to get cookin’ with tofu here.

 11. Snacks

SFW Baxter Loves Chips

There are SO many vegan snacks out there. You can find vegan chips at Vons, Safeway, Ralphs, 7-Eleven, and pretty much anywhere else that sells food. Here’s a list of chips you probably didn’t even know were vegan. If chips ain’t your thang (what’s wrong with you?!), you can get your sweet tooth on with Airheads, Fruit by the Foot, Jolly Ranchers (the hard candy and lollipops are both vegan), Smarties, Sour Patch Kids, Swedish Fish, and Twizzlers. Or if you’re looking for something healthier, opt for some granola or homemade trail mix (ditch the chocolate that comes in most store-bought versions and you’ll be smooth sailin’).

12. Cereal

SFW Cereal With Bananas

Granola & Banana | Vegan Feast Catering | CC BY 2.0 

Vegan cereal is cheap and easy to find—and the best part is that it can be eaten for breakfast, a snack, or even dinner if times are rough (shout-out to cereal for being so versatile!). Not sure which cereals are vegan? Try these: Kellogg’s Froot Loops, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, Kellogg’s Special K Red Berries, General Mills Kix, General Mills Golden Grahams, General Mills Rice Chex, and Cap’n Crunch Peanut Butter Crunch as well as a TON of Nature’s Path cereals and a bunch more!

13. Soy, Almond, Coconut, Rice, and Hemp Milks

SFW Casey Soy Milk Happy

If you haven’t dropped that nasty dairy habit yet, now’s the time to do it. Soy, almond, coconut, rice, and hemp milks are easy to find in most grocery stores, and even 7-Eleven, Starbucks, and Dunkin’ Donuts now offer nondairy alternatives to milk—they’re seriously everywhere. Soy and almond milk are particularly easy to find, and they even have snazzy flavors like chocolate and vanilla.

14. Canned Goods

SFW Canned Food Aisle

110303_CNPP_LSC_0248 | U.S. Department of Agriculture | CC BY 2.0 

Canned food is cheap and easy to cook with, and it’ll help keep you alive when the zombie apocalypse starts. So start stocking up on canned soups, veggies, and other well-preserved noms. Some easy-to-find canned vegan staples include Healthy Choice Garden Vegetable Soup, HORMEL Chili Vegetarian With Beans, Hunt’s Manwich Original Sloppy Joe Sauce, Old El Paso enchilada sauces, Progresso Vegetable Classics soups (Lentil, Hearty Tomato, and Tomato Basil), tomatoes, corn, green beans, peas, and, of course, all the beans and lentils your heart desires!

OK, so there you have it: the vegan staples that you can find at almost any grocery store or market. Pretty crazy, huh? Want to know what’s even crazier? This list is only the beginning. Yep, that’s right, folks! There are tons of other vegan-friendly foods just waiting for you in store aisles and supermarket bins everywhere.

The next time you’re at the store and aren’t sure if something is vegan or not, just text us and ask—we’ll help you out! Sign up for free peta2 texting here: 

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