Stocking a pantry on a budget.


It’s New Year’s Eve and we are broke because I am back to hardcore budgeting after a bit of a fall off the frugal wagon.  There have been some small debts to pay off and unusual bills to take care of.  We are getting caught up but that means no extra spending.  It means that when we have spent the allotted grocery money then that is it and if we have to eat beans and rice for days…so be it.

But I want some fun snacks today and good food to ring in the New Year.  I want to celebrate and be abundant.

Fortunately, I have been stocking up and getting creative with our plant-based diet.  And then we had some holiday baking.  I have all sorts of goodies in our cupboards.

With what we have in our pantry Bali will be making an Indian lentil soup and I will be making garlic bread sticks with a dipping sauce (fancy for marinara) and a vegan chocolate cake with frosting! Yay.  And all from scratch.

My book The Homemade Housewife goes into full detail on how to stock the pantry.  It is for the plant-based or carnivore household.  All my books were written before our rebirth into a plant-based diet.  I’ll give you a quickie here.

Baking needs:

  • sugars such as maple, brown, white, confectioners, raw, agave…whatever your dietary thing is.
  • flours such as white all-purpose, wheat, almond, buckwheat, or whatever you use most and depending on issues or not with gluten.
  • extracts.  Vanilla is the most used but I have others as well.
  • baking soda and baking powder.
  • yeast.
  • food coloring, sprinkles and so on if you like to get fancy and decorate cookies and cakes.


  • Oils: coconut, olive, peanut, sesame, and/or what you use often.
  • vinegars: apple cider, white (big jug as this is used for many things), rice.
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic and onion powder
  • basil, rosemary, thyme, Italian seasoning, Chinese Five Spice, Mrs. Dash (she has many seasonings and they are fantastic), and whatever other seasonings you enjoy.
  • Soy Sauce or Nama Shoy, Hoison sauce.  If you like Asian dishes you may need other things and if you are not vegetarian oyster sauce is called for often.
  • Packets of soup and pasta seasonings like Knorr Garlic and Herb for pasta (I use it in my rice), Chili seasonings, veggie or chicken bullion.
  • Nutritional yeast (a must have)


  • Rice, brown and white.
  • Pasta, all sorts of shapes and sizes, white, brown rice, white rice pasta and many more of your choice.
  • Beans and lentils.  We love our black beans, pintos, garbanzos, and red and brown lentils.
  • Canned goods.  It all depends on what you eat.  If you make casserols you will want cream of mushroom/chicken.  Canned tomato sauces if you don’t want to make those from scratch.  Canned tuna, chicken, beans.  If you are vegan you would have just the beans and soups.
  • Crackers.  I love to keep lot’s of healthy grain crackers for quick snacks.
  • Nut butters.
  • Nuts
  • Raisins and other dried fruits


  • Stock up on veggies and berries.
  • If you eat meat stock up on whole chickens and whatever else.

The Perishables

  • lots of veggies and fruit.
  • Plant-based milks.
  • Vegan butter.

What can you do with all this boring food?

I added meat to the menu as I know most people still eat meat but I’ll list the things we make on our plant-based diet.  Also, this is a bare minimum pantry.  Even when we ate meat, if we are on a hardcore budget we only buy the real food and not the convenience or junk food.

Once in awhile, we do buy that junk food or fast food.  If you don’t you lose your mind.  Just last night I wanted junk food so bad!  But I wanted double beef patties with triple cheese.  Instead, I went to Taco Bell and had them veganize all I could forage up from their menu.  I felt better for it in my body and conscious.

Potatoes:  Hash browns, french fries (baked), baked potatoes and then loaded potatoes, casseroles, cream of potato soup, potato lentil soup, potato soup.

Rice:  goes with everything, fried rice, put in soups, put in burritos, on salads, in casseroles.

Beans and lentils: burritos, Indian soups, lentil loaf, make burger patties, brownies (black bean brownies, yum), hummus and bean dips.

Wheat and white flour: tortillas, wheat bread, Amish bread, french bread, muffins of all kinds, cakes, cupcakes, pizza dough, pasta, chips.

Tomatoes:  on everything, make pizza and spaghetti sauce.

Pasta: chow mein, spaghetti, noodle soup, casseroles, vegan mac and cheese, macaroni salad, pasta salads.

fruit and veggies: green juice, green smoothies, fruit salads, veggie salads, soups, casseroles, pizzas, and on and on.

Nuts: nut butters, snacks, granola bars, enhance cereal, make vegan cheese sauces.

And the list goes on.  If you have the basics and seasonings you can create a ton of dishes and delicious menus.

I hope this inspired pantry ideas.





6 thoughts on “Stocking a pantry on a budget.

  1. You are so right; I love having all the ingredients to make something, rather than buying it already made. It’s amazing what you can do with just a few ingredients. I mixed up oatmeal, milk, bisquick baking mix, egg, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and leftover cooked apples and made some very yummy muffins yesterday. No recipe, just a little mixing. My husband and my dad loved them. We also had a pot of baby lima beans, seasoned with an frozen ham bone from a previous meal, baked sweet potatoes (free from a local farmer) , and cornbread. Very inexpensive and so satisfying!


  2. Not only did I fall off the wagon, it ran over me as I chased it trying frantically to climb back on.As I sit here in the middle of the road dusting myself off, I know the pantry is packed and we will eat well. The struggle is real.

    Liked by 3 people

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