Vegan Grocery List For Beginners (Printable PDF)

by Alena

Our complete vegan grocery list for beginners and seasoned vegans makes your next shopping trip a breeze! It includes everything you need to follow a delicious and healthy plant-based diet. Be sure to get your free printable PDF, too!

If going vegan seems appealing to you but grocery shopping for plant-based food feels overwhelming, you’ve come to the right place!

Buying food at the store can be tedious, especially if you are on a budget or feel overwhelmed with all the sneaky non-vegan ingredients.

Our grocery list can be the key to happy, easy shopping — just print it, circle or highlight the items you need and add whatever else you want to get.

Grab our printable vegan grocery list PDF below and enjoy our shopping tips!

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Vegan food 101

What do vegans eat

Vegans eat from all the plant-based food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.

Nowadays, there are vegan alternatives for every dairy or meat product, so food swaps are really accessible!

What vegans don’t eat

Vegans don’t any animal-derived products which include meat, fish, dairy, eggs and honey.

While these foods seem straightforward and easy to identify as animal products, there are often “hidden” animal ingredients in our food.

Let’s go over the basics of what to look out for when shopping for food.

  • 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)

Sneaky animal-based ingredients

  • Casein
  • Whey
  • Lanolin
  • Rennet
  • Shellac
  • Lactose
  • Collagen
  • Glycerin
  • Lard

How to build your vegan grocery list

Everyone has different needs and our shopping list aims to provide you with all the vegan choices you have at the grocery store!

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.

We suggest that you print out the free PDF and cross out what you don’t want or highlight want you need.

You’ll also find a handy list with common sneaky non-vegan ingredients in everyday food items in the download!

two printable pages to create a vegan grocery list

download our free printable vegan grocery list

Grab your free PDF and sign up for our newsletter by entering your email below!

Vegan grocery list

Let’s go through the different food groups and grocery isles together!

From fresh produce and grains to legumes, nuts, seeds, tasty condiments, baking items, meat and dairy replacements and — last but not least — snacks and treats, you’ll find everything you need.

If you don’t have many specialty products at your local store, there’s a strong chance you can order them online!

We’ve listed the food groups in a way that represents how much you should focus on them in your diet — 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!

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Vegetables

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.

If you’re not super keen on their taste, you can sneak them into delicious meals like pasta or even smoothies to disguise their flavor while benefiting from their healthfulness!

Fresh vegetables

  • 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
  • Mushrooms
  • Asparagus, artichokes, celery
  • Cucumber, avocado
  • Green beans, snow peas, snap peas

Frozen vegetables

We suggest you have a few bags of different frozen vegetables on hand in case you’re running out of fresh ones or don’t have the time to go to the store!

They are nutritious and budget-friendly but can contain butter or other non-vegan ingredients, so check the label.

  • Asparagus
  • Baby lima beans
  • Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts
  • Corn, winter squash, sweet potato
  • Green beans, peas
  • Mixed vegetables
  • Spinach
  • Hash brown shreds

Canned vegetables

There are few pantry staples that beat the convenience of canned vegetables! They are perfect emergency food — just look at these vegan recipes made from pantry items.

  • Whole or diced tomatoes
  • Tomato paste or sauce
  • Vegetable soup
  • Corn
  • Peas, green beans, carrots
  • Mushrooms
  • Roasted red peppers
  • Artichokes
  • Pumpkin puree
  • Olives, pickled vegetables
  • Sauerkraut, kimchi
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
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Grains

Grains give us steady energy (thank you, complex carbs), fuel our brains, contain vital nutrients and taste fantastic!

Even refined grains aren’t necessarily super bad for you; following an overall healthy dietary pattern and eating from all major food groups is what will benefit you the most. 

Around 50% of your grain intake should come from whole grains, according to the USDA.

There are low-fiber and high-fiber grains, bread, pasta and more choices in this section!

Whole grains

Focus on these more wholesome choices if you can, and be sure to try new varieties you haven’t eaten before!

Refined grains

Pair any refined grains 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!

  • Pasta
  • Couscous, bulgur
  • White bread, crackers, rolls, wraps
  • White rice
  • Cereals like shredded wheat
  • All-purpose flour
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Legumes

Legumes 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!

If you’re not used to eating them, start with hummus or Mexican recipes as they don’t taste super beany – or you can add some white beans to your smoothie to help your kids consume more legumes!

Dried legumes

If you have time to cook your own beans or lentils from scratch 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
  • Chickpeas
  • Lima beans
  • Split peas, yellow and green
  • Lentils: green, brown, red, yellow
  • Flour made from chickpeas, mung beans, soy

Canned legumes

Always have a few varieties of canned beans or lentils in your pantry! That way, a quick plant-based bowl or soup is never more than a few steps away. 

  • Kidney or red beans
  • Black beans
  • Cannellini, white beans
  • Lentils
  • Pinto beans, navy beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Bean soups or chili
  • Baked beans

Soy products

Soy’s uses are practically endless as you can see in our soy guide.

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! 

  • Tofu: plain, smoked, marinated, silken
  • Tempeh
  • Edamame
  • Soy milk
  • Soy yogurt
  • Natto
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Fruits

Nature’s candy should be on your plate every single day! Fruit provides you with a good amount of fiber, vitamins and antioxidants and rotating different types offers you a large range of phytonutrients.

Fruit can be added to oatmeal or porridge, breakfast cereal, smoothies, salads, in baking or used as a simple snack.

Fresh fruit

Focus on what’s in season 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
  • Grapes
  • Figs
  • Kiwi
  • Pomegranate
  • Bananas, mangoes, pineapple
  • Oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit
  • Watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe
  • Nectarines, apricots, plums, cherries
  • Passionfruit, dragon fruit, lychee, guava, jackfruit

Frozen fruit

Before fruits are frozen, they’re picked when they are really ripe. Frozen fruit helps reduce food waste, extends shelf life and is super handy!

This 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
  • Cherries
  • Mangoes
  • Pineapple
  • Peaches
  • Mixed fruit

Dried 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 calories.

Use them as a wholesome sweetener and check out your recipes below for examples!

  • Dates
  • Figs
  • Mulberries
  • Raisins
  • Prunes
  • Cranberries
  • Goji berries
  • Apricots 
  • Mangoes, pineapple
  • Apple or banana chips

Canned fruit

Most canned fruit comes with quite a bit of added sugar, so don’t rely in them too much.

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
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Nuts & seeds

Nuts and seeds are great sources of protein, fiber, minerals and vitamins — which makes them awesome little powerhouses!

These healthy fats are great for topping your salads or bowls, adding to oatmeal or smoothies or making into milk or coffee creamer!

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 
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Condiments

Make your food taste fantastic with this huge selection of vegan-friendly condiments! Stock up on some basic pantry spices, get a couple of sauces or make them yourself (recipes below.)

Herbs & 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

Vegan flavorings

  • Vinegar: balsamic, white, apple cider, rice
  • Oil: olive, sesame, canola, peanut, coconut, flax
  • Vegetable stock or broth
  • Liquid smoke
  • Bottled lemon juice
  • Capers
  • Curry paste
  • Sambal oelek
  • Harissa
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Vegemite 
  • Seaweed: kombu, wakame, nori
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Baking & cooking items

Dairy replacements

There are so many delicious dairy replacements in stores these days! They don’t always imitate dairy products 100% but with all those different flavors, we’re positive you’ll find something you like.

Common brands include Silk, Daiya, Miyoko, So Delicious, Oatly and Chao.

Try to get fortified plant-based milk alternatives for some extra calcium, B12, iodine and vitamin D in your diet!

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

Snacks & treats

Welcome to the fun section! Find delicious sweet, crispy, crunchy and creamy goodness here.

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.

Watch out for less-obvious animal-derived ingredients like whey, gelatine or egg whites!

Beverages

Almost all beverages are fully plant-based by default — the most common exception being dairy-based beverages like hot chocolate or cappuccino.

However, juice, wine and beer can all be made using fish bladders during the filtering process. Companies usually don’t let you know about that but some brands have chosen to add a “vegan” label to their products.

Check out this resource for specific vegan beverages or browse Barnivore for a vegan beer, wine and liquor guide.

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Shopping tips

Creating a sensible grocery list is much easier if you know what you’ll be making over the next few days or week!

Check out our guide on meal planning as well as a 7-day vegan meal plan to get some ideas on how you can create variety or meet personal goals.

Budget tips

  • 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
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Adjustments for this list

  • 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 whole plant-based foods with lost of fresh produce, and cook most meals from scratch

Find our guides for specific vegan diets below or see our overview of different vegan diets here!

Vegan basics

Here’s a straightforward list of vegan staple foods to have at home if you don’t want to go through our complete grocery list.

  • 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

Tips for healthy shopping items

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

Meet nutrition needs

Here are potentially 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

Conclusion

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.

Be sure to grab our free grocery list below. Happy shopping!

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!

two printable pages to create a vegan grocery list

download our free printable vegan grocery list

Grab your free PDF and sign up for our newsletter by entering your email below!

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Which are your must-have items to get at the grocery store? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to Pin this article.

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Alena sitting in a cafe with a bowl of fresh plant-based food and a glass of coffee in front of her

About Alena Handwritten FontAlena Schowalter is a Certified Vegan Nutritionist who has been a vegetarian since childhood and vegan since 2012. Together with her husband, she founded nutriciously in 2015 and has been guiding thousands of people through different transition stages towards a healthy plant-based diet. She’s received training in the fields of nutrition, music therapy and social work. Alena enjoys discussions around vegan ethics, walks through nature and creating new recipes.

47 thoughts on “Vegan Grocery List For Beginners (Printable PDF)”

  1. Are liquid aminos good to add to the shopping list as well? I’m trying to find a healthy alternative to soy sauce.

    Reply
    • Sure Sarah, you can use liquid aminos! They do have less salt than soy sauce. It is just as versatile and we chose soy sauce for this list because it’s the easiest one to get for people. We personally have tamari instead.

      Reply
  2. Thank you! This was oooh so helpful in constructing my grocery list being than I am still fairly new to the vegan lifestyle! Thank you again and again!

    Reply
    • There’s no generic advice here, just go to the grocery store and check the ingredients! Toast can sometimes have butter or milk. Jam can have gelatine but is vegan most of the time :)

      Reply
  3. Great list :) I did want to mention though that, at least in my area, curry paste can contain shrimp paste, so you have to be careful.

    Reply
    • True, Lindsay! Not always a safe bet and we encourage everyone to check the ingredients at least once before buying :) Here in Thailand, where we’re currently staying, there’s shrimp paste in most of them.

      Reply
  4. Thanks. Nice comprehensive varietied list. Currently, in my part of the country , we can easily get local vege or “salads” such as ulam raja, pegaga, petai, cekur, kesum, kantan, etc Jackfruit and coconut are ample & easily available. Just to share….

    Reply
  5. I am a 77yr.old widow and I want vegan recipes; because I am post polio and cannot exercise as I used to. I am in need of good recipes.Thanks Virginia Goad.

    Reply
    • Hi there Virginia,
      thanks for stopping by. Happy to know you’re up for this change! You can search our website for recipes or look on findingvegan.com or forksoverknives.com
      Hope this helps :)

      Reply
  6. Just starting the vegan diet and I’m super excited about it. So glad for articles like this one. Not only a list of food you can have but also information on the benefits from the food.

    Reply
  7. This site is great! I am new to the vegan style. I have been looking at a different site and researching but this helps a lot. It is nice to know that there are substitutes for things that I love to eat like eggs and cheese. I haven’t seen weight loss yet but have lost a few inches in the waist.

    Reply
  8. Honey is not a vegan product ….try agave nectar as a sweetener alternative. Not as thick as honey, but not super runny either.

    Reply
  9. Great Article! Please update. When I see the the year 2016 I wonder why u guys haven’t updated it. This has so much info. Great job.

    Reply
    • Thanks Dani and I totally agree we should update it soon – just easier said than done if you have 100+ articles that want to be regularly updated ;)

      Reply
    • Hey Simon, thanks for the feedback! Glad you like the article.
      Our system tells me that you received the email with the downloadable PDF — have you been able to download it by now?
      Let us know so we can assist you!
      Best wishes,
      Alena

      Reply
  10. This information has been just what I’ve been looking for! I’m quite excited and ready to get started. How do I get the PDF of “36 Thoughts on Ultimate Vegan Grocery List for Beginners?”

    Reply
    • Hi Susan,
      thanks for your comment! I just sent you the free grocery list PDF, hope you like it :)
      Feel free to get in touch if you need any further support.
      Best wishes,
      Alena

      Reply
  11. Hey Alena,

    Great article! I can see how much work you must have put in that.
    But unfortunately, I can’t open the pdf either..

    Best,
    Christina

    Reply
    • Hi Christina,
      thanks for the lovely feedback! Did you enter your email address so we can send you the downloadable PDF? Which file are you unable to open? I’d love to help! :)
      Best wishes,
      Alena

      Reply
    • Hey, there are two forms at the beginning and end of the article which say “download our printable vegan grocery list” together with the printables pictured — are these not displayed to you? Alternatively, you can just join our regular newsletter which opens the door to our Member Area with lots of downloads like this: http://nutriciously.com/newsletter/
      Hope this helps :)

      Reply
  12. What an amazing overview..it makes it so easy to know what you can and can’t have on a vegan diet. Just a quick note about glycerin as I see it quite a lot in gluten free baking recipes. There are actually two types of glycerin… traditionally it’s made with tallow or lard, but now you can get vegetable glycerin as well. This is made from things like olive and coconut oil etc 🙂

    Reply
  13. Great article BUT clicking on the printable PDF just takes me back to the article.
    Is there a link that will open the PDF list only?

    Reply
    • Hi Diana, when clicking on the button “Download for Free” a pop-up should appear where you need to enter your email address! There is where the PDF will be sent :) I can check our system for your address to see whether there has been a problem – you need to confirm your address first before the PDf can be delivered if you are not yet a subscriber.
      Hope this helps!

      Reply
  14. Question; why is Soy Sauce not for Vegans? I thought only animal derived foods were not permitted on a Vegan diet. While searching for a grocery list for new vegans, I’ve come across several sites that have Soy Sauce on their list of condiments and others not.

    Reply
    • Soy sauce is almost always vegan. I have no idea why some people would not include it on their list — perhaps they swap it for Tamari which is pretty much the same but gluten-free. I use soy sauce almost daily and in my of my recipes on this website!

      Reply

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