Shopping for food can be a tedious chore. Even if you already have a rough idea of what to buy, a trip to the grocery store can leave you distracted, overwhelmed and feeling lost – and that’s not to mention how easy it is to forget to buy what you came for in the first place. This is why taking a vegan grocery list to the store with you can be the key to happy, easy shopping!
To be honest, we actually really love grocery shopping – roaming through the aisles and letting the expansive supply of delicious plant-based food inspire us to create new recipes, which can be so much fun!
Finding a new vegan specialty item gets us especially excited. It means the movement is growing and we have something new to try!
And because we’ve been vegan for years and years now, we don’t even think twice about what we can or can’t eat. But for someone looking to start a vegan diet, which foods to grab and which foods to avoid might be an important question!
You can check out our vegan transition guide with printables here.
Even for us advanced vegan foodies, carrying a food list with all the items we could potentially buy is a really great reminder! Not having to remember everything each time you go to the store can free up a lot of mental space.
Grab the Free Shopping List PDF!
Download a copy of our plant-based shopping list to help you get an overview of vegan food choices, plan your upcoming meals and structure your next trip to the store!
How To Use This Vegan Food List
This article is written with the intention of showcasing the large variety you can have on a vegan diet. Especially for new and non-vegans, it can sometimes seem like a plant-based diet means you have to munch on carrots and lettuce leaves. Thankfully, this couldn’t be further from the truth!
In this list, we’ve decided to cover all the items that are free from animal products without taking any other things into consideration. Seasonality, food allergies, weight goals, specific health issues, organic or local, ecological footprint, budget-friendliness – all of these factors differ all over the world, so today, we’ve opted for a more general and comprehensive list.
Plus, there are so many types of vegan diets you can follow! It would be silly for us to orient our list around just one diet.
We’ve decided to start with the most obvious plant-based food groups, as these will make up the bulk of your grocery shopping. We then moved on to vegan specialty products – which makes this list easy to adapt to your personal needs!
You don’t need to stock up on everything on this list all at once, but you can use this vegan food list as an inspiration to see the sheer amount of plant-based foods available at your local grocery store. Many of the foods we listed will already be familiar to you, but they may just slip your mind when you’re on a normal grocery run.
If you just want to focus on some essential vegan staple foods you can use to create countless different meals, check our top 25 items in the article below.
Essential Vegan Staple Foods →
When it comes to vegan sweets and replacements for dairy or meat, mentioning specific brands only gets us so far because our readers come from different places around the world.
This is why we’ve tried to keep our descriptions more general. Plus, we don’t have any brand affiliation – what you’re reading is our real advice based on real experience. That said, we did add a few “heavy hitters” in terms of vegan meat and dairy products to give you an idea of what names to look out for when you’re at the store.
Here are some ways you can use the grocery list:
- circle or highlight the items that you need or want to focus on
- add what you personally need but we didn’t list
- just take the list with you as a product reminder
List of Foods Vegans Don’t Eat
Let’s start with an overview of foods that vegans don’t eat to lay the foundation for any vegan beginner reading this shopping guide.
- Meat like beef, pork, poultry, turkey, lamb, game meat, etc.
- Fish and seafood, anchovies, shrimp, mussels, lobster, etc.
- Eggs and food made with eggs like mayonnaise
- Dairy milk and all food made with it like milk chocolate, spreads or baked goods
- Cheese, cream cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, yogurt, ice cream, butter, ghee
- Honey, bee pollen, royal jelly, beeswax, gelatine (mostly in desserts)
While these foods seem straight-forward and easy to identify as animal products, there are often “hidden” animal ingredients in our food. That’s why it’s especially crucial in the beginning to check food labels at the store to avoid accidentally buying non-vegan food.
These not-so-obvious animal-based ingredients can be found under the following names:
- Amino acids
- Fatty acids
For a full and regularly updated list, check out this page by PETA.
How to Build a Vegan Grocery List
Depending on your current diet, building a vegan grocery list might not be very complicated. You could just swap cow’s milk for almond milk and get a veggie burger instead of a meat-based one.
Taking taste preferences, possible allergies, budgeting and seasonality into account, your shopping list will probably look pretty different from our complete vegan food list, which we’ll share with you below.
Let’s go through the different areas of your kitchen to see which vegan items you could get!
- Fridge: fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy-free yogurt and cream cheese, plant-based milk, Omega-3 rich seeds, hummus and other vegan spreads, tofu and tempeh, condiments like soy sauce, ketchup or mustard
- Pantry: rolled oats, rice, pasta, quinoa, dried and canned beans and lentils, dried fruit, nuts and seeds, nut butter, canned tomato products, plant-based milk alternatives, dark chocolate, baking items, spices and unopened condiments
- Freezer: frozen fruits and vegetables, vegan ice cream, packaged frozen food such as meat replacements
Checklist for Healthy Vegan Grocery Shopping
This quick checklist helps you to build an accessible, healthy and mostly budget-friendly shopping list so you can easily stick to a plant-based diet:
- Always buy some fresh fruits and vegetables
- Don’t forget your leafy greens
- Stock up on complex carbs like oats, potatoes and rice
- Favor whole grains over refined grains
- Grab some canned or dry legumes for plant-based protein
- Read labels to reduce added sugar, oil and salt
- Get frozen fruits and vegetables for convenient nutrients
- Choose healthier treats such as dark chocolate or nut-based bars
On top of just buying the vegan items you find the tastiest, it makes sense to include some specific foods or food groups which offer nutrients that can be hard to get on an unstructured vegan diet.
Here are the critical nutrients on a plant-based diet and where to find them:
- Calcium: green vegetables, oranges, tahini, calcium-fortified soy milk and tofu
- Iron: oats, spinach, dried figs, lentils, tahini, chickpeas
- Zinc: oats, chickpeas, lentils, tofu, pumpkin seeds, almonds
- Iodine: nori or dulse seaweed, iodized salt
- Omega-3: flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts
- Vitamin D: sun exposure, some UV-light grown mushrooms, supplements
- Vitamin B12: fortified food, supplements
Vegan or Whole Food Plant-Based?
Even though we personally follow a mainly whole food plant-based diet (plus the occasional vegan treat!) and the recipes shared on our website are in alignment with these principles, we don’t want to impose our lifestyle on you.
There are so many reasons why people want to follow a vegan diet, and nobody has to eat only healthy foods to avoid unnecessary animal suffering.
Especially for those who are new to a vegan diet and used to convenience products, we’re not expecting you to load up on lots of produce and somehow create satisfying meals out of these foods (although such cases exist and kudos to you!)
That’s why we’ve decided to share a wide range of amazing vegan products, wholesome and processed, in this article. As you will see, the first few categories are just composed of the main vegan food groups and almost entirely made up of whole foods.
But below these healthy vegan staples, we’ve also listed different condiments, dairy and meat replacements, as well as awesome vegan snacks that are more processed.
To give you more freedom of choice, we’ve included both a vegan grocery list and an explicitly whole food plant-based list in our printable PDFs!
Full Whole Food Plant-Based Diet Guide →
The Complete Vegan Grocery List
Our complete vegan food list will take you through the different categories in which you can find plant-based options. If you don’t have many specialty products at your local store, there’s a strong chance you can order them online!
One more point before we start: yes, some of the foods we’re about to mention might belong to a different botanical category, but we’ve chosen to group them with foods that are eaten in a similar way, like tomatoes or avocadoes. Technically, these guys are both fruits, but in practice, they’re usually eaten in savory vegetable meals. We hope you’re fine with that!
Our Vegan Grocery List Categories
- Nuts & Seeds
- Baking & Cooking Items
- Dairy & Meat Replacements
- Snacks & Treats
Some grocery lists are categorized by pantry, fridge and freezer, which can also be a very helpful way to sort your list!
However, we’ve chosen to sort our list by food group so we could simultaneously talk about nutrition values and common uses while separating wholesome from processed foods. You’ll find them categorized into fresh, frozen, canned and dried.
Also, we’ve listed the food groups in a way that represents how much we focus on them in our personal diets – starting with veggies, then grains, legumes, fruits and so on. This might be helpful if you’re wondering how to create a healthy and sustainable vegan diet!
Let’s get into our complete plant-based grocery list.
Veggies are your best friends on a vegan (or pretty much any!) diet, so you should definitely load up on them! They are high in nutrients and low in calories, meaning you practically can’t overeat them.
We always make sure to get some cruciferous veg, leafy greens, salad veggies and versatile staples such as zucchini and carrots – these are usually available year-round. Our personal favorites in this category include broccoli, onion, bell pepper, sweet potato, tomato and green beans.
Vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber, all of which are important to keep your body healthy.
If you’re not super keen on their taste, you can sneak them into delicious meals like pasta dishes or even smoothies to disguise their flavor while benefiting from their healthfulness!
- Cruciferous veggies: broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, cabbage
- Leafy greens: spinach, lettuce, arugula, collard greens, swiss chard, romaine
- Nightshades: eggplant, bell peppers, hot peppers, tomatoes
- Starchy vegetables: potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, taro, parsnips, beets, carrots
- Winter squash: pumpkin, butternut, kabocha, acorn
- Allium vegetables: onions, scallions, garlic, leeks, chives, shallots
- Asparagus, artichokes, celery
- Cucumber, avocado
- Green beans, snow peas, snap peas
We always make sure to have a few bags of different frozen vegetables on hand in case we’re running out of fresh ones or don’t have the time to go to the store.
Frozen vegetables are often picked and packaged at the peak of ripeness and come with an almost identical nutrient profile as their fresh counterparts.
If you’re going for bags of mixed frozen veg, check the labels to see whether any flavors, like butter, were added.
- Baby lima beans
- Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts
- Corn, winter squash, sweet potato
- Green beans, peas
- Mixed vegetables
- Hash brown shreds
There are few pantry staples that beat the convenience of canned vegetables. Even if you’re super dedicated to fresh food or making tomato sauce with fresh tomatoes, you can still benefit from having a few cans of these long-lasting favorites hanging around your kitchen.
In this section, we’ll share our favorite canned vegetables.
- Whole or diced tomatoes
- Tomato paste or sauce
- Vegetable soup
- Peas, green beans, carrots
- Roasted red peppers
- Pumpkin puree
- Olives, pickled vegetables
- Sauerkraut, kimchi
- Sun-dried tomatoes
This is definitely the food group that people fear most – and unrightfully so! Eating whole grains is actually associated with a healthy weight and good gut bacteria as well as a reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and some forms of cancer.
Grains give us steady energy (thank you, complex carbs) and taste fantastic! Even refined grains aren’t necessarily super bad for you; like we always stress on this site, following an overall healthy dietary pattern and eating from all major food groups is what will benefit you the most. Especially when you’re not used to eating lots of fiber, go for white flour products or white rice — here’s our full plant-based fiber guide.
Most of us consume a diet rich in starches not only because they fuel our bodies and brains with energy, they also come with an abundance of essential amino acids from proteins, essential fats, fibers, and minerals. Some starches like potatoes even provide you with a whole host of vitamins!
A quick word on gluten: according to Dr. Michael Greger, grains containing gluten actually promote health in people without celiac disease. While the term “gluten sensitivity” has been floating around recently, the science is still out on whether people are actually reacting to gluten or if it’s something else in the food that’s making them feel ill.
Long story short, if you don’t feel any drastic side effects, make sure to eat a great variety of the following grains!
Focus on these more wholesome choices if you can, and be sure to try new varieties you haven’t eaten before! Some will surprise you with their flavor, texture and versatility.
There’s no shame in eating refined grains! Just try pairing them with veggies and other nutrient- and fiber-rich foods. Pay special attention to bakery items, cereals and pasta, which can all potentially be made with animal products like eggs or dairy.
- Couscous, bulgur
- White bread, crackers, rolls, wraps
- White rice
- Cereals like shredded wheat
- All-purpose flour
Full Vegan Bread Guide →
If you’re like us a couple of years ago, this food group is probably the one with which you have the least familiarity. Unless you’re used to eating Indian or Mexican food, most of us consume way too few legumes!
These tasty nutrient bombs are high in plant-based protein, fiber, complex carbs and many minerals. According to some studies, beans and lentils are also the most important dietary predictor of survival in older people of different ethnicities.
We recommend starting by having some hummus or chili as they don’t taste super beany – or you can add some white beans to your smoothie to help your kids consume more legumes!
And yes, you should also eat soy. These healthy beans are an excellent source of phytonutrients and fiber and a great replacement for meat and dairy due to their nutritional profile.
Is Soy Good or Bad? →
If you have time to cook your own beans or lentils from scratch (perhaps by using an Instant Pot), then this will drastically lower your grocery bills! We often cook a larger batch of beans 1-2 times per week and freeze some of them for convenience.
- Kidney beans
- Black beans
- Cannellini and white beans
- Navy, pinto, fava beans
- Black-eyed peas
- Lima beans
- Split peas, yellow and green
- Lentils: green, brown, red, yellow
- Flour made from chickpeas, mung beans, soy
We also make sure to always have a few varieties of canned beans or lentils in our pantry. That way, a quick plant-based bowl or soup is never more than a few steps away!
Here are some common choices.
- Kidney or red beans
- Black beans
- Cannellini, white beans
- Pinto beans, navy beans
- Bean soups or chili
- Baked beans
Soy’s uses are practically endless. As a result, this special legume deserves its own category — from forming the base of many vegan alternatives to being eaten straight up in the form of edamame, there are just so many ways to enjoy soy!
We’ve focused on the more wholesome soy products here and listed the processed convenience foods later on.
- Tofu: plain, smoked, marinated, silken
- Soy milk
- Soy yogurt
Nature’s candy should be on your plate every single day! Despite what some people say, the sugar found in fruit isn’t unhealthy, and this food group actually provides you with a good amount of fiber, vitamins and antioxidants.
We have some fruit for breakfast and dessert daily. Our most common choices include bananas, apples, berries (often frozen) and seasonal stone fruits. Rotating your fruit means you get a range of phytonutrients while keeping your meals new and exciting!
Fruit can be added to oatmeal or porridge, breakfast cereal, smoothies, salads, in baking or used as a simple snack. They have varying levels of fruit sugar, and berries are said to have the highest amount of antioxidants!
Focus on what’s in season, budget-friendly and what you like the most! Here are some common choices, both local and exotic (depending on where you live).
- Apples, pears
- Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries
- Bananas, mangoes, pineapple
- Oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit
- Watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe
- Nectarines, apricots, plums, cherries
- Passionfruit, dragon fruit, lychee, guava, jackfruit
In addition to frozen vegetables, we also regularly purchase frozen fruit. Why? Because before fruits are frozen, they’re picked when they are really ripe. Especially when it comes to berries, freezing fruit helps reduce food waste by dramatically extending its shelf life!
Frozen fruit not only adds more variety to your diet during the winter months, but it also offers a nice texture to any smoothie.
- Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries
- Mixed fruit
Due to the way they are processed, dried fruits have a lower amount of water – which makes them taste really sweet! This also means that they are shelf-stable and higher in calorie density.
We personally make sure to buy dried fruit that doesn’t have any added sugar and enjoy a nice variety in our morning porridge, granola, salads or desserts!
Dates make a particularly great whole food replacement for sugar in baking and cooking, which is why you can find them in many of our recipes.
- Goji berries
- Mangoes, pineapple
- Apple or banana chips
Most canned fruit comes with quite a bit of added sugar, so if you’re looking to follow a healthy plant-based diet, try to reduce your intake of refined foods as much as possible.
However, some canned fruit products (e.g. apple sauce) are easy to find added sugar-free.
- Apple sauce
- Diced pears, pineapples, mangoes
- Whole or halved peaches
- Fruit cocktail
- Mandarin oranges
Nuts & Seeds
If you’ve already checked out the quick list of potentially critical nutrients on a vegan diet, you might have seen that nuts and seeds are great sources of Omega-3 (precursors), calcium, zinc, magnesium and iron!
Just like with any other macronutrient (I’m looking at you, carbs!), it doesn’t make sense to demonize fat in general. There are always healthy and unhealthy choices you can make, and focusing on a whole food source always ensures that you’re getting a nice amount of essential nutrients and fiber along with the fats!
Fats are critical for the proper development and functioning of the brain and nervous system, ensure cell health and help with the absorption of vitamins and minerals.
Eating a wide variety of healthy plant fats will provide you with the two essential fatty acids Linoleic Acid and Alpha-Linolenic Acid, and in most cases, it will also give you an excellent balance between Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.
You don’t have to go overboard with fats to reap the benefits of nuts and seeds. If you’re struggling to eat enough calories or gain weight, nuts and seeds are a great way to bump up your energy!
Nuts and seeds make delicious and crunchy add-ons to oatmeal, salads and many savory meals. Their butter can be used as a spread, to make creamy sauces or in many dessert recipes.
- Nuts: almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, cashews, macadamia, Brazil nuts, pistachios, pine nuts
- Seeds: chia, hemp, flax, sesame, pumpkin, sunflower
- Nut Butter: almond, cashew, peanut, macadamia, coconut
- Seed Butter: tahini, pumpkin seed, sunflower seed
Now it’s time to make everything you create with the 5 main plant-based food groups taste fantastic! The secret to delicious meals is in the flavorings and spices – but of course, that’s the case both for animal-based and plant-based foods.
If you don’t currently have many herbs, spices or vegan sauces at home, we highly encourage you to stock up! They make for a wonderful variety in all kinds of meals while possibly adding some extra nutrition (think turmeric, ginger or nutritional yeast here).
Herbs & Spices
Starting with the simplest way of improving the taste of your veggie meals, here is a list of our most commonly used herbs and spices!
- Italian herb mix, basil, oregano, thyme, marjoram, rosemary
- Salt, black salt (tastes like eggs!)
- Pepper, red pepper, cayenne
- Garlic & onion powder
- Paprika, smoked paprika, chili powder
- Ginger, turmeric, cumin, coriander, curry powder
- Parsley, cilantro, dill
- Sage, saffron, bay leaves
- Cocoa, cinnamon, vanilla
- Cloves, celery seed, anise, nutmeg
- Mixes like cajun, chipotle, garam masala
Dips & Sauces
We don’t know about you, but for us, sauces can make or break any dish! Here some of our favorites dips and sauces along with what we’d suggest you try if you’re a vegan beginner or looking for more variety.
There are even more ways to take your vegan meals up a notch! Remember that it’s not necessary that you buy all of these flavoring options, so feel free to choose some favorites from this list for your next trip to the grocery store.
- Vinegar: balsamic, white, apple cider, rice
- Oil: olive, sesame, canola, peanut, coconut, flax
- Vegetable stock or broth
- Liquid smoke
- Bottled lemon juice
- Curry paste
- Sambal oelek
- Nutritional yeast
- Seaweed: kombu, wakame, nori
Vegan Baking & Cooking
Anyone else really enjoy baking? There are ways to make your conversion to vegan baking a lot easier (flaxseeds and applesauce make great egg replacements!), but for this section, most of the items we’ll list are well-known baking ingredients.
Keep in mind that some of the foods we’ve already listed in other categories are also needed to make baked goods – for example, grain-based flours, nut butter and condiments. We won’t trouble you by listing them here again!
Vegan Dairy Replacements
While we covered soy products in the legume category above, there are many more vegan dairy replacements on the market for you to try! Common brands include Silk, Daiya, Miyoko, So Delicious, Oatly and Chao.
Keep in mind that these products are not meant to 100% imitate dairy products. Especially when it comes to cheese, vegan alternatives may taste very different from what you’re used to. We still encourage you to give them a try and not give up after the first experiment!
Here’s a taste test from the people at Huffington Post with some store-bought dairy-free cheeses.
You can look out for fortified plant-based milk alternatives for some extra calcium, B12, iodine and vitamin D in your diet.
Vegan Meat Replacements
Apart from using good old beans or tofu to replace meat in your dishes, you can also choose to get some prepared vegan meat alternatives at the store! Common brands include Tofurky, Beyond Meat, Gardein, Field Roast and Boca.
Their composition, flavor and texture can vary widely, and we encourage you to try a few to find the ones you like the most!
- Textured vegetable protein
- Pulled jackfruit
- Vegan burgers: veggie or legume-based
- Vegan sausages, hotdogs
- Vegan nuggets, deli slices
- Plant-based crumbles, cutlets, beef strips
- Seitan or wheat gluten
- Coconut or tempeh bacon
Vegan Snacks & Treats
Welcome to the fun section! No matter if you’re looking for some vegan treats to add to your whole food plant-based diet or if you’re simply interested in finding a vegan alternative to a classic comfort food, we’ve got your back.
The nice thing here is that you don’t have to rely on specifically-labeled “vegan” foods – there are many snacks and treats that are accidentally vegan by default.
For a regularly updated list, check out this resource by PETA. Please keep in mind that specific brands might only be available in some countries.
For this category of food, it’s important to take into account the list of hidden animal products we shared with you at the beginning of this article, as many items (like granola bars or chips) can be filled with unexpected dairy, honey or other non-vegan flavorings.
Wait, there are non-vegan beverages besides dairy milk? Yup – juice, wine and beer can all be made using fish bladders during the filtering process. However, companies don’t always have to declare that on the label.
Some brands have thankfully chosen to make it really clear that their product is fully vegan by adding a special “vegan” label – but just because it’s not written somewhere, doesn’t mean it’s not vegan.
We personally drink mostly tap water (sometimes flavored with some lemon juice), tea and coffee – we’re not keen on alcohol or soda.
On to our list of vegan beverages!
Customize Your Vegan Shopping List
That concludes our in-depth vegan food list! Now, what are the next steps you should take after downloading our printable?
Overall, we suggest you start buying a nice variety of vegan foods, which will allow you to avoid food boredom while securing a lifelong love for a vegan diet! Naturally, you can adjust to your life’s needs and goals, allow for some convenience and get into cooking at home during periods that let you spend more time in the kitchen.
Here’s what you may want to adjust for:
- Food aversions or allergies: if you’re celiac or really hate kale, you don’t have to buy foods that go against your wants or medical needs
- Weight loss or weight gain: calorie density is your friend here! Eat more whole foods (especially veggies) for weight loss and go for more processed & richer foods to gain weight
- Kid- or family-friendly: if you’re dealing with picky eaters, choose comfort foods and fun foods that your family is used to eating, e.g. vegan mac and cheese, cereals and chocolate bars
- Higher protein: introduce more legumes, seeds and mock meats made from tofu or seitan, possibly including some vegan protein powder
- Healthy vegan diet: stick mostly to the first 5 food groups, go for whole-grain options, and cook most meals from scratch
Tips For Shopping on a Budget
There’s a common rumor that switching to a vegan diet will mean an explosion in grocery bills. And honestly? It’s true — if you only eat mock meats, cashew cheese and avocado toast, that is.
Luckily, the diet we’re advocating for isn’t so decadent. If you stick to cheaper staple foods, a plant-based diet is both super affordable and really ridiculously tasty! Rice, beans, potatoes and seasonal fruits and veggies are amongst the most budget-friendly foods at the store (especially compared to animal products), and they can be used to make some truly knockout meals.
Here are some of our tips for a budget-friendly vegan diet:
- Pick up items that are on sale, especially if they are dry, canned or frozen
- Go for seasonal produce
- Buy in larger quantities
- Cook some items from scratch
- Check out frozen fruit and veg
- Shop at farmer’s markets
- Freeze leftover produce to avoid food waste
- Plan your meals to use everything up
- Stick to your grocery list; no impulse buying
- Grow some of your own food
- Avoid eating out if you can
Full Vegan Budget Guide →
Create Your Own Vegan Grocery List
Now that we’ve given you a very thorough list of vegan foods, it’s on you to create your own shopping list!
Start with the basics, then see which new foods you want to try – perhaps you can start collecting recipes to get an idea of which vegan ingredients you’re most fond of and how you can use them in the future.
To put all of this into action, we’ve created 2 printable grocery lists just for you: One list contains all whole plant foods; the other features vegan convenience and processed foods.
You can download them for free below. Happy shopping!