If you’re diving into the world of plant-based eating, the first thing you’ll want to do is figure out what to actually eat! This plant based grocery list will help, by providing you a detailed list of the foods you’ll be eating (+ some ideas for recipes).
And the GREAT news- cutting out meat and dairy does NOT mean you have to give up flavor! You may actually find that it opens you up to a whole new world of colorful foods and new ways to eat them.
Scroll down to read through the full list, and/or you can also download this Whole Food Plant Based Grocery List PDF, for an easy-to-take-with-you printable list with checkboxes perfect for grocery shopping.
So what can I eat on a plant-based diet?
This is a question I LOVE to hear (rather than “what can’t I eat?”). And the answer is- more than you probably think! Below is a list of foods, mostly in their whole form that are not only delicious, but nutritious too!
And a quick note…in this list, I did NOT include prepared frozen vegan meals or fake meats/cheeses. Many are usually highly-refined and may be high in fat, salt, etc. BUT may be ok to consume on occasion, and are actually a great option for those transitioning to this new way of eating.
Should I always buy organic?
The short answer is…YES, as much as you can. But if organic options are too expensive or hard to find, aim to eat organic for the items on the Environmental Working Group’s list of Dirty Dozen (the top foods with the most pesticides, etc.).
Plant Based Grocery List Items:
On a plant-based diet, you want to center all your food around veggies (and greens) as much as possible. Think about how to add these different types of veggies below to ALL of your dishes, or make the same veggie different ways (such as “cauliflower steaks, tacos, and soups”).
If you’re interested in learning more about how to store your veggies/greens, sign up for my email list and you’ll receive a valuable “How to Store Veggies & Greens Resource Guide“. And you’ll also get new recipes as they come out! Now let’s get to the list…
- Artichokes– add to this Spinach Artichoke Macadamia Nut Dip
- Asparagus (regular, white)- try this Asparagus Spinach Soup with cashew cream
- Bean Sprouts
- Beets (red, golden)- this Curried Gnocchi with Golden Beets is super comforting
- Bell Pepper (red, green, yellow)
- Bok Choy
- Broccoli & Broccolini– this Charred Broccolini with Garlic & Quinoa is so easy!
- Brussel Sprouts
- Butternut Squash– this Roasted Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce is a big hit!
- Cabbage (napa, red, green savoy)
- Capers– try in this Vegan Egg Salad w/ Capers & Turmeric
- Cauliflower- such as in this amazingly flavorful Coconut Curry Cauliflower Soup
- Eggplant– make these Eggplant Roll-Ups, packed with veggies!
- Fennel– add to Spinach & Fennel Fettuccine w/ Roasted Tomatoes
- Green Beans
- Leeks– try in this Instant Pot Potato Leek Soup
- Lemongrass– try out this Slow Cooker Thai Yellow Curry w/ lemongrass
- Mushrooms (shiitake, portobello, button, cremini, morels, porcini, etc.)- we love this Cream of Mushroom Soup
- Olives– try this versatile Olive Tapenade which includes 20 ways to use it
- Onions (green, red yellow, white, sweet/Vidalia, etc.)
- Peas (sugar snap, snow, etc.)- this One-Pot Lentil Curry w/ Peas is so healthy and packed with peas
- Peppers, Chile (ancho, chipotle, habanero, jalapeno, poblano, etc.)
- Potatoes (sweet, russet, gold, red, etc.)- such as in this Potato Curry
- Tomatoes (cherry, vine, roma, etc.)
- Water Chestnuts
- Squash (yellow, butternut, acorn, pumpkin, winter, spaghetti, etc.)- learn how to roast spaghetti squash
A plant based grocery list is not complete without healthy greens, as they have an incredibly long list of health benefits. Load up as much as possible. And the good news is, they are low in calories so you can virtually eat as much as you want.
- Collard Greens (try this recipe for Instant Pot Collard Greens– If you don’t have an Instant Pot, stovetop instructions are also included in the recipe card)
- Dandelion Greens
- Kale (curly, lacinato/dinasour, Chinese, redbor, etc.)- this Kale Quinoa Salad is so easy!
- Lettuce (butter, romaine, radicchio, red, Bibb, mesclun, etc.)
- Mustard Greens
- Swiss Chard– This Cauliflower Puree w/ Sautéed Mushrooms is served on a bed of Swiss chard.
- Turnip Greens
- Zucchini– these Vegan Lasagna Rolls are packed with healthy veggies, including zucchini
Fruit is also great for your health and an excellent source of calories. There’s so many fruits that you can enjoy; add them to oatmeal, have as a snack, or make a healthy smoothie.
- Acai– try out this Acai Bowl, which focuses around this Brazilian super fruit
- Avocados– try Avocado Pasta w/ Herbs
- Blueberries– these Blueberry Muffins should be on your must-make list
- Cherries– these Cherry-Date Raw Bars are a great snack
- Cranberries– this Cranberry Orange Vinaigrette is oil-free and delicious
- Dates– we use dates for so many things, like these Green Tea Energy Balls
- Kiwi– this Mango-Kiwi Smoothie is super easy to make and a healthy breakfast option
- Lemons– try this 5-Minute Lemony Green Pesto Sauce
- Oranges (blood, mandarin)
- Passion fruit
- Pears– this Pear Crisp is out-of-this-world!
- Pineapples– try this Tropical Chia Seed Smoothie with pineapple and mango
- Pumpkin– we love this Instant Pot Pumpkin Curry Soup
- Strawberries– make some Instant Pot Oatmeal and top it with fresh fruit, like strawberries
Beans and Legumes
Beans and legumes, such as lentils, will also be a big part of your plant-based diet. They are packed with protein and fiber, and add a new element of flavor and bulk to your dishes. Try black or pinto beans in your Mexican cooking, chickpeas in Mediterranean cooking, adzuki or edamame (or soybeans) beans for Asian cooking, and many, many others.
- Adzuki beans
- Black beans– make Instant Pot Chipotle Black Beans for a variety of dishes
- Black eyed peas
- Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans)– this No-Tuna Salad with Sauerkraut is a great way to incorporate chickpeas
- Fava beans
- Great Northern beans– this White Bean Edamame Hummus is creamy and oil-free
- Green beans
- Kidney beans
- Lentils (red, green, etc.)- this Crushed Lentil Soup is packed with red lentils
- Lima beans
- Navy beans
- Pinto beans– these Vegan Nachos with Queso Cheese are covered with pinto beans
- Soybeans (edamame)– this Edamame Sesame Quinoa Salad is a potluck favorite!
Grains are also a large part of a whole food, plant based diet and there is so much you can do with them! You might feel that eating carbs is a bad thing- but these are complex carbs and are very important for your health. They bring different flavor and texture to each dish and are the perfect source of energy for your body, and they also help you to keep full.
- Bread, Whole Wheat
- Bulgur– we love this Mexican Black Bean Bulgar Bowl
- Cornmeal (Polenta)
- Couscous– try this Israeli Couscous packed with veggies
- Oats (old fashioned, steel-cut)
- Pasta, Gluten free or Whole Grain
- Quinoa– this Basil Pesto Quinoa is a simple way to enjoy this simple grain
- Rice (brown, basmati, wild, etc.)
- Wheat Berries– this Wheat Berry Southwest Salad is packed with colorful veggies
Nuts & Seeds
Nuts and seeds are very calorie dense, meaning they are high in fat in calories, so use them in small amounts. Try to choose nuts or seeds that are oil-free and low-sodium if possible.
- Brazil nuts
- Cashews, raw- we love this Instant Pot Wild Rice w/ Mushrooms (with creamy cashew cheese)
- Chia seeds– Mango Chia Pudding is a great breakfast idea!
- Flax seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Macadamia nuts
- Peanuts– these No-Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars are a great option when you want something sweet
- Pine nuts
- Poppy seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sesame Seeds– add some sesame seeds to this Crispy Sesame Tofu
- Sunflower seeds
- Walnuts– try making Walnut Butter– it’s WAY easier than you might think!
Herbs are beneficial for your health and add a lot of flavor to your dishes. Look for organic if possible. Use fresh herbs whenever possible, as it gives a great flavor to your dishes.
- Basil– this Easy Pesto Pasta is packed with fresh basil leaves
- Cilantro– try this amazing Classic Guacamole with fresh cilantro
- Horseradish– make your own homemade Horseradish Sauce
- Parsley (curly & flat-leaf Italian)
- Tarragon– we love adding tarragon to this simple recipe for Lemon Chickpeas
- Thai basil
Dried spices can also add a nice element of flavor. I found that incorporating spices into my meals really “leveled up” my cooking. One of my favorite spice companies is Burlap and Barrel, which not only has incredible and unique spices, but are also sourced directly from the farmers. Win-win.
- Aleppo pepper
- Bay leaves
- Black pepper
- Cayenne pepper
- Caraway seed
- Celery seed
- Chili powder
- Chipotle powder
- Crushed red pepper
- Curry powder
- Garam masala
- Italian seasoning
- Nutritional yeast
- Onion powder
- Poppy seeds
- Sea salt
- Sesame seeds
- Spanish paprika
It’s a good idea to keep a variety of bulk items on hand, which can be helpful when you don’t have time to shop (or just use as “staple” ingredients). Foods such as rice, beans, tomato sauce, oatmeal, and nondairy milk will keep for long periods of time. And you can also save money by buying some of these items in large quantities.
- Almond flour
- Almonds, raw
- Arrowroot starch
- Amaranth flour
- Brown rice
- Dried fruit
- Chickpeas, cans
- Dried beans
- Non-dairy milk
- Nuts & seeds
- Oats, Old Fashioned
- Oats, Steel Cut
- Pasta, Whole Wheat (spaghetti, corkscrew, penne, macaroni, etc.)
- Pasta sauce
These are so many options for store-bought condiments you can try. And you can also make your own sauces by combining condiments, spices, fresh herbs, nuts and seeds, vegetables, fruits, and more.
- Agave nectar
- BBQ sauce
- Brown rice syrup
- Liquid aminos
- Coconut aminos
- Cream cheese, vegan
- Curry paste
- Hoisin sauce (if store-bought, be sure to check that it’s vegan)
- Horseradish sauce (if store-bought, be sure to check that it’s vegan)
- Hot sauce
- Liquid smoke
- Maple syrup
- Mayo, vegan
- Mustards (yellow, dijon, whole grain, etc.)
- Nut butters (peanut, almond, walnut, cashew, etc.)
- Salad dressings
- Sweet chile sauce
- Sour cream, vegan
- Soy sauce, low-sodium, or tamari (for gluten-free)
- Tahini– make this Tahini Sauce/Dressing as a great dressing or dip for many types of meals
- Vanilla beans/extract
- Vegetable broth, low sodium
- Vinegars (cider, balsamic, malt, white balsamic, rice, red wine, white wine, etc.)
- Worcestershire (be sure to check that it’s vegan)
Fermented foods, like kimchi pastes and sauerkraut are usually a part of my plant based grocery list. They are so good for gut health and more!
- Cashew cheeses (like this Vegan Queso, great for nachos, baked potatoes, you name it!)
- Miso– this Miso Peanut Sauce is a great sauce for Asian dishes
- Non-dairy yogurt
- Fermented veggies (red onion, cucumber, radishes, beets, garlic cloves, cauliflower, peppers, snap beans, carrots or turnips)
- Tempeh– we love this Baked Tempeh w/ Chimichurri Sauce
There are so many other foods that don’t fall into a particular category, but are so important when doing your plant based grocery shopping, such as canned vegetables or tomatoes, corn tortillas, all different types of noodles, olives, tofu, seitan and tempeh, and more.
- Canned beans (chickpeas, white, pinto, black, etc.)
- Canned vegetables
- Corn tortillas
- Frozen vegetables
- Canned tomatoes (diced, crushed, whole or sauce)
- Noodles (rice, udon, whole wheat, etc.)
- Parchment paper
- Rice crackers
- Tempeh– whip up an easy Vegan BLT with Spicy Mayo
- Tofu– try this Sweet Potato Bowl w/ Tahini Sauce
- Seaweed (kelp, nori, wakame, etc.)
- Tortilla chips
- Whole grain cereals
- Vegan chocolate chips (we like Enjoy Life brand)
- Veggie burgers (like these Shiitake Black Bean Burgers or Vegan Black Bean Burgers)
- Whole grain cereals
I hope this plant based grocery list was helpful, and will give you some ideas for the vast amount of food that is included on a plant-based diet.
Want shopping tips? Head on over to Plant-Based Shopping- Tips & Tricks to learn ways to shop healthier and easier.
And don’t forget to download the Whole Food Plant-Based Shopping List PDF.