The Well-Stocked Seagan Pantry

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Want to know how a seagan stocks her pantry? Here’s what’s inside our cabinets.

| By Lisa McComsey |

Most people assume that seagans and vegans are health nuts. (Or masochists.) Why else, goes the thinking, would they deprive themselves of life’s best culinary gifts: bacon, pizza, and all-you-can-eat fried shrimp?

Truth is, it’s easy to be an unhealthy, nutrient-deprived, overweight seagan if you’re not a little careful. How fun it would be to load the shopping cart with Oreos, potato chips, French fries, and dairy-free “ice creams”!

Sugar/salt coma, anyone?

We recommend a balanced, whole-foods diet composed mainly of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, and two to three weekly servings of seafood. Go light on processed foods, anything loaded with sugar, and deep-fried anything.

That said, below are a few of our favorite things. With these items in stock, we’re never at a loss for meals—even when there’s “nothing in the house to eat.”

Beans and Legumes

  • Dried or canned beans (buy BPA free when possible)—black, cannellini, garbanzo, great northern, kidney, lima, navy, pink, white, etc.
  • Lentils (dried)


  • Coffee
  • Kombucha
  • Seltzer
  • Tea (preferably herbal or green)
  • Water

Wait, where’s the juice? We don’t recommend it. All the good stuff is squeezed out, leaving you with a glassful of sugar.

Canned/Packaged Goods

  • Anchovies (preferably in water)
  • Apple butter and applesauce—unsweetened (good for baking)
  • Artichokes
  • Clams—chopped or minced
  • Coconut milk—light
  • Marinara sauce—low fat, low sugar (check labels for vegan)
  • Nut and seed butters—almond, cashew, peanut, sunflower seed, walnut, etc.
  • Salmon
  • Sardines (packed in water
  • Tomato paste
  • Tuna fish—light (packed in water), sustainably caught (look for “hook and line” “troll and pole,” or “troll caught” on label)
  • Vegetable stock (oil free)


  • Oats and other grains, like quinoa, teff, and amaranth—for “porridge”
  • Various cereals—100 percent whole grain with no added oils (we love Nature’s Path Smart Bran and Ezekiel Cinnamon Raison)


  • Capers
  • Chutneys (great to spice up wraps and rice and beans)
  • Hot sauce (we’re partial to Cholula and Sriracha)
  • Mustard—Dijon or whole grain (check ingredients for dairy)
  • Olives (in water)
  • Salsa
  • Tamari and/or soy sauce (low sodium)
  • Thai green or red curry paste
  • Vinegars—apple cider (raw), balsamic, red wine, rice, and white wine

“Dairy” and Refrigerator Essentials

  • “Milk”—almond, cashew, coconut, flax, hemp, oat, pea, rice, soy, and so forth—check labels for sugar content and buy the unsweetened versions
  • Tempeh and tofu
  • “Yogurt”—almond, cashew, coconut, soy, etc.—opt for plain/no sugar


  • Ask your fishmonger what’s fresh and local; otherwise, buy sustainably caught varieties (note: in recipes, you can usually swap one fish for another, depending on what’s available)

Freezer Section

  • Edamame—great for snacking
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Salmon (good to have on hand for a backup dinner when you have no time to shop)
  • Shrimp (perfect for quick dinners)
  • Veggie burgers—make sure they’re vegan; many contain eggs and/or cheese


We love them all!

  • Amaranth
  • Barley
  • Buckwheat groats
  • Bulgur
  • Farro
  • Freekeh
  • Grits
  • Kamut
  • Millet
  • Oatmeal
  • Popcorn or sorghum kernels
  • Quinoa
  • Rice—not the processed white stuff! Stick with basmati, black, brown, jasmine, and wild
  • Teff

Herbs and Spices

Keep a variety on hand to perk up your dishes


  • Dark chocolate—70 percent cacao or more (not all are vegan; be sure to check)
  • Vegan “ice cream” (reserve for special occasions; most are bursting with sugar)

Nuts and Seeds

Any and all are great to keep on hand; I keep in stock at all times:

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Chia
  • Flax
  • Hemp hearts
  • Pecans
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Walnuts

I throw them in cereal and yogurt, toss with my salad, and use cashews to make cashew cream.


Since Italian food is one of my favorite cuisines, I make pasta once or more a week. Avoid the processed white stuff and stick with noodles made from:

  • Whole wheat / whole grain
  • Beans (black bean, mung bean, etc.)
  • Brown rice


  • Go wild in the fruit and vegetable section of your supermarket; I love the farmers’ markets in my town during summer/fall months—it’s good to buy local when possible. Wondering if you should buy organic? Check the Environmental Working Group’s guide to Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen.

Now that you’ve had a peek in my kitchen, what are your food faves? Please share in the comments section below.

Photograph by TK. © 2020