20 Must-Have Lenten Staples

These 20 must-have Lenten staples are your arsenal to pull a vegan meal together that feeds a hungry crowd in no more than 30 minutes of active cooking time. Bonus: In this post, you will find links to quick and easy recipes to use our recommended staples.

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What is Lent?

In the Christian faith, Lent is the period that precedes the celebration of Easter. The tradition of lent differs among Christian congregations. In the Orthodox faith in general, and in my Coptic (Christian Egyptian) church in specific, lent means abstaining from animal products and observing a strict vegan diet.

What to shop and Cook during Lent 

To carnivores, lent is a radical lifestyle change that is not always easy to adjust to. The absence of animal protein in our diet for whole 55 days, triggers a recurrent sense of hunger, which requires creativity from home-cooks
to overcome.

It wasn’t long ago when I too was struggling with meal plans during the 55 days of Lent, or Orthodox fasting, yet this list of vegan pantry staples, which I put together here, is a sanity saver and always comes in handy.

Print out this list of vegan pantry staples, or save it on your home screen. It will come in handy when you are totally out of ideas on what to buy, or what to cook today for your fasting crowd?!

No-Fail Vegan Recipes Are One Click Away Here👇

To save you time, we linked each vegan pantry staple on this list with easy and quick recipes. So you are one click away from a delicious vegan feast.

List of Ingredients & Recipes 

1. Pasta

Pasta in all shapes and forms can save the day, when you need to prepare a filling meatless meal in 20 minutes flat.

If you opt for more vitamins and probably less carb, I suggest that you try gluten free pasta , or natural noodles made from carrot, beet, and spinach to make this delicious recipe of Mushrooms Fettuccini.

Beet Pasta in Mushroom Cognac Sauce
Mushrooms Fettuccini. Photo Credit: Chez Nermine

2.  Lentils

Lentils are packed with nutrients such as fibre, folate, and potassium. They are also a filling option and a great substitute for animal protein.

Orange lentils that are GMO free is my go-to to make scrumptious and quick Egyptian lentil soup  , or Kushari Iskandarani, a speciality that hails from my hometown Alexandria-Egypt.

Spicy Lentil Soup Topped with Toasted Bread
Photo Credit: Chez Nermine

Black lentils are excellent to whip up a nutritious Black Lentil Salad or to make Egyptian Kushari (aka Koshari, koshary), the iconic Egyptian street food, that has heaps of rice, vermicelli, pasta, and black lentils, topped with fried onions, fiery tomato sauce, and a garlic vinegar sauce. 

PS: Lentils must be soaked in hot water for at least one hour.

3. Tomato Cans, tomato juice & tomato paste

Whether it is tomato juice, whole tomato in cans or tomato paste, all of them are fundamental cooking assets for vegan cooking. They add a much needed acid kick to plain veggies, carbs, and legumes. They also make an excellent base of delicious sauces and soups, such as a scrumptious vegan tomato basil soup.

Basil Tomato Soup
Photo Credit: Canva

4. Mushrooms cans

Mushrooms in cans is a legit substitute for fresh mushrooms that have a short fridge life. Sauté them with some crushed garlic and chopped onions, sprinkle some dry herbs, such as thyme, or oregano, and then use them as topping for pizza, focaccia, or pasta.

5. Beans cans

Being an excellent source of fiber and protein, bean cans save your time. No need for overnight soaking and cooking. Opt for a good quality of bean cans, preferably organic.

My go-to beans are kidney beans, and cannellini beans. Rinse them well under tap water, add a can of corn and make this delicious trio bean salad. Another easy breakfast, or dinner, could be a fava beans salsa, all you need is a can of Egyptian Fava beans.

6. Dry chickpeas

Dry chickpeas are a significant asset in your pantry. Soak them overnight and then use them the second day in making falafel vegan patties, hummus, or Halabesa, the delicious, spicy, vegan and easy Egyptian soup.

Vegan Chickpeas Soup
Photo Credit: Chez Nermine

7. Split fava beans

Split Fava Beans are soaked overnight and then turned into a luscious Egyptian Green Dip known as Bissara or Bosara , or blended with herbs and fried to make Egyptian Falafel (Ta’ameya).

8. Corn flour

Corn flour is an excellent gluten-free thickening agent, and a vegan and dairy-free substitute for cream to make vegan sauces and desserts. I use it all the time during lent to make desserts, such as Faux Coconut-Apricot Pannacotta , or Vegan Triple Chocolate pudding.

9. Tahini paste

Tahini Paste

Tahini paste is a superfood as it  acts as an antioxidant and helps lower inflammation in the body. It is also one versatile vegan ingredient that will jazz up many of your sour and sweet recipes. Try Beet Baba Ghanouj ( an interesting twist on the classic Egyptian dip by Samar Said). , or the classic eggplants babajanouj.


10. Zaatar blend

Zaatar Blend is a mix of dry thyme, marjoram, and oregano. Some Za’atar variations include spices such as cumin, coriander, and sumac. Given the enzymes of the dry herbs,  it is widely believed, that it sharpens human focus, boosts the immune system, and mood.

Za’atar could be a dry rub for vegetables, or a topping for a flatbread “manakeesh”. Try this healthy, low calorie, low carb Za’atar Manakeesh.

11. Non-dairy milk

Non-Dairy milk such as cashew milk, oat milk, almond milk , or coconut milk  has a much longer shelf life. Use these no dairy options as a substitute for regular milk in smoothies and desserts such as our  Triple Chocolate Vegan Pudding  ,or Vegan Kunafa Tarts (also known as Kataifi or Kunafeh).

12. Cocoa powder

We all need that kick of chocolate!

Opt for the best cocoa powder you can put your hands on. My personal favorite is Hershey’s and I have been using it for years in baking, smoothies, desserts, just name it!

Mix it with some non-dairy milk and corn flour in a blender, and then whisk over low heat until it becomes a pudding.  Adding some dark chocolate chips and a dash of cinnamon won’t hurt.

Vegan Chocolate Bars
Vegan chocolate bars

Yet, the best and easiest of all is the vegan chocolate bars studded with nuts.

13. Olives

Those brine delicacies are indispensable during lent. Whether you eat them as a snack or pound them to a zesty tapenade, or disperse them in a salad, or a pasta. Olives are one of your main assets to add flavors to your lenten dishes. My favorite choice are kalamata olives and pepper stuffed green olives.

14. Pickles

There is a big variety of store-bought  pickles from sweet and sour to fiery. Pick the jars that are to your liking and use them in sandwiches and salads to amp up the flavor. If you wanna try the homemade ones, then try these typical pickled turnips.

15. Dark chocolate chips

Dark chocolate chips are perfect for vegan baking, or even to melt them in a non-dairy milk for a warm hot chocolate. Also, they are lovely guilt-free candies-like when your sweet tooth urge kicks in.

16. Halva

This Middle Eastern invention comes in a variety with and without nuts. It is made of sweetened sesame paste so it is packed with nutrients.  There are also some varieties mixed with chocolate that are absolutely delicious. Pick one of your choice and indulge.

17. Vegetables bouillon

Choose a good quality (organic & GMO-free) vegetable bouillon that can amp up the flavor in your vegan soups, and vegetable stews. Also, using vegetable bouillon is the easiest way to make broth too as a base for your soups and stews.

18. Grains & rice

Basmati/Jasmin rice, freekeh, quinoa, bulgur are all quick and filling forms of grains that can make excellent cold, or hot dishes. Any of these grains take no longer than fifteen minutes to cook, which is so convenient on busy days.

19. Frozen vegetables

Pack your freezer with all frozen vegetables. I am a big fan myself, as they are pre-cleaned, pre-chopped, and in some cases, are half way cooked too. Therefore, they take no significant time to cook.

As a Middle Eastern household, I always have stacked up frozen molokhia, okra, corn, peas, green beans, French fries, sweet potato fries, asparagus, and mixed vegetables in my freezer. Any of these vegetables are cooked under 30 minutes.

20. Frozen fruits 

Some days, a smoothie on the go is all you need to start your day right!  Get those frozen fruits, as they packed with vitamins and fiber. Blend them with non-dairy milk, and some honey, and sip your smoothie when you are on the run. It is such a quick treat, yet energy and mood booster. 

Frozen red fruits
Frozen red fruits

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Comment, Like and Share

Now, it is your turn to tell us, what is your go-to Vegan pantry Staples?!  Would love to read your comments.

Please share this article with your friends who are interested in vegan food.

For More Vegan Meals Inspiration Check:


Disclaimer:Chez Nermine blog is an Amazon Associate. We earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. Our commission doesn’t affect the  price of the product you purchase.

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Former diplomat | Travel & Food Writer | Stauch advocate of Culinary Diplomacy. Find more here: https://cheznermine.com/about/

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