Grocery cart with fruit and veg.

The Vegan Pantry: Protein

Hey there. It’s Saturday. Hooray!

I’ve been getting lots of requests to talk about creating a vegan pantry. There are loads of resources on the internet, but if you are newly vegan or still just thinking about it, most of what you see listed probably sounds foreign. So let’s talk day-to-day eating, with what you are already pretty much used to.

But first, here’s my main tip. Dining a’la vegan, and cooking for it, need not turn your world upside down making you eat things you would never dream of otherwise.

Basically what you are cutting out is meat and dairy. Some people like meat replacements. I never did except for veggie burgers (if they qualify).

In this post, I am going to talk about where to get your protein from, so you can figure out how to stock your kitchen.


Getting enough protein is what many folks worry about the most when changing over to a vegan diet, because they’ve believed their whole lives that you must have meat on your plate to do it.

Edamame is a young soy bean that is harvested early. It contains complete protein, calcium, vitamin C, and other key nutrients.Edamame is a young soy bean that is harvested early. It contains complete protein, calcium, vitamin C, and other key nutrients.
Edamame is a young soy bean that is harvested early. It contains complete protein, calcium, vitamin C, and other key nutrients.

VEGGIES. You can build a solid meal with loads of veggies and get plenty of protein, including these high octane choices — edamame[1], lentils, pinto beans, chickpeas[2] (what hummus is made from), mung beans, fava beans (starting to sound weird now right? wink!) lima beans, green peas, brussel sprouts, asparagus, broccoli, spinach and potatoes.

Potatoes get a bad rap, but potatoes are packed with protein and vitamins C and B-6, especially if you eat the skin. Then there’s the beloved avocado. A medium avocado will give you 4.02 grams of protein.

WILD RICE, NUTS AND SEEDS. These foods are mega good for you and add protein to your diet — wild rice (yum) and nuts such as almonds, pistachios (great for coating stuff), almonds (terrific for your complexion), pecans, and walnuts (any nut really). And how about chia seeds. Have you ever tried them? Oh, and sesame seeds! 1 Tbs will give you 1.6 grams of protein.

TOFU. Now we get to what most people turn their noses up at the thought of. Tofu. Tofu is made from bean curds pressed together in a process similar to cheesemaking.

Tofu doesn’t really taste like anything by itself. But it absorbs flavors wonderfully well. The trick is handling it right. It is stored in water so you’ve got to get rid of that or you’re doomed.

From "An Easy Method to Press Tofu and Remove Moisture", at
From “An Easy Method to Press Tofu and Remove Moisture”, at

For firm tofu, get yourself a tofu press. Or do what I do. Take it out of the package, rinse it well with cold water, put in on some paper towels on a flat plate, put some paper towels on top, and then put something heavy on top of that. I use my cookbooks because they are handy. Leave it a couple of hours at least, pat it dry and away you go.

Now we come to silken tofu. I found a great article on both types of tofu that explains it much better than I ever could. See it at [3].

TEMPEH. I haven’t eaten tempeh, not sure why, so can’t advise you on that, but it is very popular with vegan chefs. Tempeh also contains a good amount of probiotics, B vitamins and minerals such as magnesium and phosphorus. Learn more at [4].

Tofu and tempeh are both iron rich foods, also containing calcium and of course protein. Because tofu, tempeh and edamame all come from soybeans, they are what is called a “complete source of protein”.


This is easy. Try out the rice milks but especially nut milks, salad dressings, ice creams etc. They are so delicious and nut based means loads of protein opportunities. I’ve always had an aversion to dairy so have never eaten much of it, and when I did it made me feel queasy and dizzy.

Rice milk is thinner in texture than nut milks. And as you read above about nuts, chockful of protein. I will talk about cheese and cheese substitutes in a separate post because we’ll need to get into the nutritional yeast debate.


Okay, I’ve already mentioned avocados in the veggie section but they are actually a fruit. Another protein packed fruit is apricots.


Next time I’ll talk about cheese and butter substitutes, and after that one of my favorite foods — bread. Following that a post on my favorite subject of all, vegan baking and how to stock your pantry. In between all of that we have Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. And I plan to do some vegan cocktail recipes for the festive season. Woo hoooo! We should have you in good shape by 2020.


So you see, entertaining the idea of a vegan diet is not so foreign after all is it?

It’s really a lot more about what you have to leave off your plate than what you have to put on it to be vegan. As you can see the variety in a vegan diet is virtually endless.

For the People. For the Animals.


[3]; see also

Advocate From Your Plate by Vivian Farrell

Updated 4:30 pm 10/19/19

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