Vegetarian Shopping List and Shopping Tips from a Registered Dietitian

As a professional registered dietitian and recipe developer, grocery shopping is literally part of my job. I’ve collected some useful tips and tricks along the way. In this post, I share my Vegetarian Shopping List, along with best practices for saving money on groceries.

Going to the supermarket shouldn’t stress you out. Use this guide to stock your kitchen with ease!

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How to use this shopping list

  • Please understand that this list is only intended as a general guide. Buy only what works for you and your family and leave the rest behind.
  • It is not necessary to buy everything on the list. It’s totally fine to stock your pantry gradually over time.
  • Include foods that fit your cultural preferences and traditions, and eliminate those that don’t. This list is based on foods that I personally like to have in my kitchen. You’d probably like to store a few different items and that’s great!
  • Include some “fun foods,” especially in the snack and dessert department. Eating plant-based doesn’t mean you have to feel restricted or deprived!
  • Be sure to add ingredients for any new recipes or dishes you want to try. I have a free guide with over 100 vegetarian ideas if you need help getting started!
Vegetables, canned tomatoes and a bottle of olive oil on a light background.

Vegetarian Shopping List

Download a printable version of this shopping list here.

fresh products

  • 1-2 dark leafy greens (ie spinach, kale)
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • 2-4 “dinner vegetables” (ie broccoli, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, bell peppers, asparagus, potatoes, sweet potatoes)
  • bananas
  • Avocado
  • lemons
  • limes
  • 1-2 fruits in season (ie oranges, apples, berries)
  • Fresh herbs (ie basil, cilantro, parsley)
  • Chili Peppers
  • dates


  • Bread and/or rolls/sandwiches
  • Tortillas (small for tacos, large for burritos and wraps)
  • Dessert

Cereals and legumes

  • Pasta
  • Oatmeal
  • Rice
  • Rice noodles
  • Popcorn
  • 1-2 additional whole grains (ie farro, barley, quinoa)
  • lentils
  • dried beans or peas

Nuts and seeds

  • Peanut butter or nut butter (ie almond butter, cashew butter)
  • tahini
  • chia seeds
  • flax seeds
  • 1-2 additional nuts and seeds (ie walnuts, walnuts, almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds)

Canned products

  • 2-3 canned beans (ie chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans)
  • canned tomatoes
  • canned coconut milk

Other pantry staples

  • Flour
  • baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Sugar
  • Maple syrup
  • nutritional yeast
  • grated coconut
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 cooking oils (ie grapeseed oil, coconut oil, avocado oil)
  • 2-3 vinegars (ie apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar)
  • Spices and dried herbs (i.e. garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, chili powder, curry powder, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, salt, pepper)
  • Vanilla extract
  • i am willow
  • Condiments (ie ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise)
  • vegetable broth
  • olives
  • fruit cream
  • Chocolate chips

Snacks/Convenience Foods

  • tortilla chips and sauce
  • Dried fruit
  • prepared soups
  • energy bars
  • cereal or granola


  • Coffee
  • matcha
  • Caffeine Free Herbal Tea
  • Soda water

refrigerated food

  • tofu
  • tempeh
  • Milk of choice (ie oat milk, soy milk, almond milk, cow’s milk)
  • Non-Dairy Yogurt and/or Yogurt Alternative
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • miso
  • Fermented pickled vegetables (ie kimchi, sauerkraut)
  • hummus

frozen meals

  • 2-3 frozen vegetables (ie corn, peas, spinach, broccoli)
  • 1-2 frozen fruits (ie wild blueberries, tropical fruit mix)
  • edamame
  • Frozen convenience foods (i.e., frozen cheese/veggie pizza, frozen bean burritos, frozen bean burgers)
  • Dairy-free ice cream or parfait

Other kitchen essentials

  • Paper towels
  • Dishes soap
  • parchment paper and/or aluminum foil

Printable Vegetarian Shopping List

For your convenience, I’ve also created a printable PDF version of this vegetarian shopping list.

Access the printable shopping list here.

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Grocery Shopping Tips

Make a list and plan a few meals ahead of time

The first step to any successful trip to the grocery store is to have a plan.

Use this shopping list to get started with the basics. Also, plan some recipes or meals that you want to prepare for the next week and add the necessary ingredients to your list.

If you need some recipe ideas, I have a free resource with over 100 vegetarian meal prep ideas. My eBook, Easy Vegetarian Meal Prep, is another helpful guide to keep on hand.

Look for seasonal products

Choosing seasonal produce is a smart way to save on groceries while maximizing flavor and nutrient content.

See my seasonal produce guide for more information.

Buy only what you will use

Especially when it comes to fresh produce and bakery, try to only buy what you will actually use to reduce food waste. Supplement fresh foods with canned and frozen items to last until your next trip to the store.

If you accidentally buy too much, you can freeze most types of fresh produce and baked goods to make them last longer. Making a large batch of soup is also a great way to use up the extra vegetables!

DON’T just buy the perimeter

Have you ever heard that you should only shop on the perimeter of the grocery store? This tip is completely out of date!

There are so many nutritious and convenient items in the middle aisles of most grocery stores. This is where you’ll usually find healthy staples like oatmeal, canned beans, rice, olive oil, and chia seeds. Don’t skip this part of the store!

See the bulk section

If you’re stocking up on pantry staples, don’t forget to check out the bulk section. You can often save money on items purchased in bulk, and you can also bring your own reusable containers to reduce packaging waste.

Balance of price and convenience

Understand that there is usually a price for convenience. For example, a package of chopped butternut squash will probably cost more than a whole squash that you have to cut yourself.

Neither of these is necessarily a bad choice, you just have to weigh the pros and cons. Is saving money or spending less time preparing your meals more important to you at this stage of life?

DON’T skip the Convenience Meals and Fun Foods

Have you ever stocked up on tons of healthy ingredients and then felt like you had nothing eat as soon as you get home? I know I’ve been there.

You probably don’t always feel like making a bunch of meals and snacks from scratch, and that’s okay.

I like to buy a couple of convenience foods (canned soups and a frozen pizza are my favorites) in case I don’t have the time or energy to cook all the time.

In addition to keeping hunger at bay, including some convenient meals and snacks could actually save you money in the long run because you won’t need to order takeout or delivery.

Bring reusable bags

Last but not least, because we can always use another reminder, don’t forget your reusable bags! 🙂

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