These are the top vegan van life kitchen essentials we couldn’t live without on our van trips. If you’re feeling nervous about maintaining a vegan lifestyle while away in your van, this post will give you inspiration on what vegan van life kitchen essentials to stock up on so you feel prepared and in control.
Whether you’re going away for a weekend in a city or embarking on a 3-month long trip exploring a totally new part of the world, this post about vegan van life kitchen essentials will give you some great ideas on what to fill your cupboard with.
Being vegan in 2021 is easier than ever. We hope that this list of top van life kitchen essentials will give you the confidence to go travelling in your van as a vegan. Even if you are not vegan or just flexitarian this might be a helpful list to have with you when packing your van for your next trip away.
Here is everything you need to know about the most cupboard friendly, long shelf life foods we couldn’t leave behind.
This post is all about the Vegan Van Life Kitchen Essentials.
Vegan Van Life Kitchen Essentials
Living in a van means you need to be space-savvy, creative and a little more organised than usual. It may be a challenge if you aren’t a seasoned van-lifer, but we promise that you do not need to compromise on making great, tasty food while travelling.
Cooking on the road is not only essential to fuel you for your adventure, but it’s a huge part of the fun! Creating a delicious meal to enjoy with a beautiful view and great company, could soon be one of your favourite parts about van life. After a day of driving, hiking or sightseeing, there is nothing your body needs more than a delicious homemade meal.
Here are 21 ideas on what to stock your cupboards with before you leave for your next trip. If you’ve had a long day these staples can be used on their own to make a delicious, easy meal or you could add in some fresh items to level up your cooking.
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1. Pasta, Rice, Dry Udon Noodles, Couscous
As much as we love potatoes and bread, dry carbs are perfect for a van life kitchen cupboard. They will keep for months and you can always have them on hand for a quick carb addition to any meal. Plus these carbs are a super cheap way to cook a filling meal.
Pasta is top of this cupboard essentials list. From pesto pasta to pasta salad to spaghetti bolognese, it’s for sure something we couldn’t leave behind. Couscous is great for a salad with some fresh veggies and a simple olive oil, balsamic vinegar dressing. Noodles and rice are wonderful in chilli, curry, stir fry and more!
2. Soy Sauce and Oil
These are our top two liquids staples. We use oil in 90% of my cooking and soy sauce is always a great ingredient to have on hand, especially if you like Asian inspired meals.
Starting off your day with an energy-sustaining oatmeal or overnight oats is sure to keep you energised for the jam-packed day ahead. Plus you can customise oatmeal to your taste. The topping ideas are endless. Think banana, chia seeds, peanut butter, agave nectar or even a spoon of biscuit spread if you are feeling fancy.
Not only this, but you can also make some super easy no-bake oat bars as a homemade snack. Here is a recipe for 5 ingredient oat bars that look delicious and use simple ingredients you could keep in your cupboard for a time when you’re craving a sweeter morning snack.
4. Tinned Chickpeas and Beans
Getting in your protein as a vegan doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. In fact, tins of chickpeas and beans are some of the cheapest ways to add a protein source to your meals.
5. Chopped Tomatoes
Tomatoes are a staple in so many van life meals. From spaghetti bolognese to curry to pasta sauce, tinned tomatoes are probably one of the most versatile foods you can keep in your cupboard.
Another vegan protein source that doesn’t need to be kept in the fridge is lentils. You can get these tinned or dry. Tinned lentils will cook faster, which is fab if you don’t have a lot of time to prepare your meals, but if you have time we recommend dry lentils. Not only do they take up less cupboard space, but they also taste better.
Our favourite way to include lentils into our meal plan is as a dhal.
7. Peanut Butter
If you’re anything like me, you could eat peanut butter just from the jar with a spoon. But the reason we really love always keeping a jar of PB on hand is that it is good both for sweet and savoury meals. Add it to your oats in the morning for some extra flavour or in the no bake oat bars or use as a base in a satay sauce for a stir fry or side dip.
8. Biscuits and Dark Chocolate
We had to include some sweet snacks on this list. Plus it couldn’t be easier to make a homemade rocky road by simple melting the chocolate over broken biscuits, accidentally vegan marshmallows and some dried fruit. Maybe you even decide to make smores when you have a stopover with a campfire. To some maybe this is an indulgent addition to the list but for those of us with a sweet tooth, these are a must.
9. Hot Drinks
There’s nothing better than starting the day with a perfect brew or ending the day with a warming hot chocolate. We couldn’t leave this off the list because we know how lost we would be without a box of tea bags, coffee and some cocoa. After a bad day sometimes all you want to do is curl up in bed with a warm cuppa.
10. Canned Veg
Of course, fresh or frozen veg is ideal but if you don’t have access to a fridge/freezer or haven’t had a chance to pick up groceries in the day having a can or two of veg can save you. Our favourite canned veg are sweetcorn, green beans, garden peas, and carrots.
11. Agave Nectar
Let’s not forget this sweet food cupboard essential. If you haven’t tried it, agave nectar is almost like a vegan honey substitute. It’s a little runnier and doesn’t have as strong a flavour, but it will be perfect to have on hand to add to oatmeal or to sweeten your cooking.
12. Baked Beans
Baked beans are a perfect lazy lunch option with a couple of slices of toast. Plus they are super filling, high protein and dead cheap.
13. High-Calorie Snack Bars
Make your own oat bars or grab a few calorie-dense snack bars. Our favourite bars to stock up on before a trip are clif bars. They have so many flavours so you are sure to find one you love. They are perfect when you’re on the go and need something to tie you over before your next meal or to take in your day bag.
14. Dry Herbs and Spices
An essential if you are planning to cook most of your own meals is to bring a few herbs and spices. Our top 5 recommendations would be mixed herbs, paprika, chilli flakes, garlic powder, and curry powder, plus salt and pepper.
15. Vegan Pesto
No matter how much you love to cook, some days there just isn’t enough energy left in the tank to make a meal from scratch. Trust me, you’ll thank your past self for planning for those days you can whip up a meal with minimal effort.
Boil pasta, add a jar of pesto, a can of chickpeas and maybe a tin of sweetcorn and dinner is done. Plus pesto is also great for adding a twist of flavour to any wraps, pittas and sandwiches.
16. Sweet Chilli Sauce
Use this in stir fry, as a dipping sauce or even as part of a homemade peanut satay sauce.
17. Long Shelf Life Desserts
If you have a sweet tooth you will thank yourself for bringing along some long shelf-life desserts.
If you’re in the UK pick up some Lazy Day Tiffins and Millionaire’s shortbread or grab a few Kent & Fraser Brownies. These last, unopened, in your cupboard for weeks, so they will be right on hand to satisfy those post-dinner dessert cravings.
Who doesn’t love soup for an easy lunch? Many canned soups are accidentally vegan and a really affordable meal option.
19. Canned Peaches
Why not grab a can of tinned peaches for a lazy, yet healthier dessert option. If you don’t think you can get hold of any fresh fruit it might be nice idea to have these peaches on hand to satisfy those fruit cravings in an instant.
20. Dried Fruit
Dried fruit such as apricots, dates and raisins are great for a day bag and on-the-go snacking. Plus you can put these on your oatmeal or even use in a recipe.
21. Vegetable Stock Cubes
Veggie stock cubes are essential for making most of our favourite meals. They hardly take up any space in your cupboard but will be the foundation of many meals. Useful in homemade soup, bolognese, ramen, stew, pie, curry, chilli, and the list goes on! I wouldn’t leave for my trip without a pack of stock cubes on board.
This post was all about the Vegan Van Life Kitchen Essentials.
What are your favourite vegan van life kitchen essentials? Comment your experience travelling in a van as a vegan or send us a DM over on Instagram. We’d love to chat about all things van life, travel and food with you!
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