I finally have compiled a list of all the items I keep on hand in my cooking pantry. Having this pantry well stocked with things like nuts, grains, canned tomatoes, coconut milk and plenty of spices, helps me stay on track and gives me options and flexibility. I always try and have a plan for the week but stocking the basics helps so much when unexpected events happen. I hope this list helps you as you try and keep nutrient-dense options in your pantry that are also easy to use.
I have included links here for hard to find items for your convenience. I know that if you are not sure what an ingredient is, it is helpful to have a pictured description with help on where to purchase it.
Avocado Oil– I like to use this for sauteing at high heat when you don’t want the flavor you would get from coconut oil or ghee… a very neutral tasting oil.
Coconut Oil– This oil is perfect for cooking at high heat and adds great flavor to Indian and Thai food.
Ghee– I go through so much ghee. It is my favorite when cooking at high heat and also for topping off an Indian Rice Bowl, oatmeal or cup of coffee. My favorite brands are 4th and Heart and Organic Valley.
Lemon Infused Olive Oil– I use this Lemon Infused Olive Oil for salad dressings, chimichurri, and my salsa verde.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil– I make it a point to purchase the freshest Olive Oil I can find. We have a local store that bottles the olive oil upon purchase.
Apple Cider Vinegar– This vinegar is perfect for chutneys & salads. It is also one of the main ingredients in my slaw dressings.
Balsamic Vinegar– I use this for sauces and salads…especially a Caprese salad.
Brown Rice Vinegar– A really good replacement for regular rice vinegar, especially because typical rice vinegar has added sugars.
Red Wine Vinegar– I use this for chutneys and herbal salad dressings.
White Balsamic Vinegar– This vinegar has a sweeter taste than an aged Balsamic. Perfect when you don’t want a strong “vinegary” flavor. The delicate flavor brings a lot to homemade salad dressings.
Canned and Bottled Goods
Anchovies– I use anchovies for Caesar or Green Goddess salad dressings or just to melt down with olive oil for a pasta sauce topped with parmesan.
Artichokes– These are great in frittatas and dips.
Artichokes in Olive Oil– I use these in my Artichoke Squares and they are so tasty in a frittata. They are available at most supermarkets or at Trader Joes.
Beef Stock– I like to make my own beef stock but it is good to have organic grass-fed beef stock on hand.
Butternut Squash– This makes for quick and easy soups and are the base for my Cranberry Butternut Muffins. I buy a 12 pack from Amazon so that I always have them on hand whenever I want to bake or make a soup.
Capers– A caper is actually an edible flower bud from a caper bush with s slightly tangy and lemony flavor. It’s great for adding a little zest to a dish. These are a great topper for smoked salmon or in a salsa verde and chimichurri sauce.
Chicken Stock– Although I make my own chicken stock I always like to have organic free-range chicken stock in my pantry so if I forget to thaw some stock from my own reserves, I have something on hand.
Coconut Milk– Both coconut milk and coconut cream are great in Indian and Thai food, also a great addition to any soup or sauce where you might want a bit of creaminess without using milk products!
Cornichons- These are baby dill pickles that I enjoy with a charcuterie platter and some mustard. Also a great addition to potato salad. I find them at Trader Joes.
Fig Jam- Figs and goat cheese go hand in hand so I use fig jam to top a goat cheese and arugula pizza or to pour over hand-rolled chevre’ for an appetizer on a cheese plate.
Fire Roasted Tomatoes– These tomatoes are ideal when you want to add a smoky flavor to your dish. Muir Glen is my favorite brand.
Green Curry Paste– I use this for green Thai curry.
Green Olives– I use these for salads, pizza, or a topping for Lemon Moroccan Chicken. I also add them to a cheese plate or just eat them as a snack.
Kalamata Olives– Kalamatas are perfect for greek salads and pizzas.
Nut Butters– I love all kinds of nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew etc.) and they make great savory sauces for a noodle bowl. I purchase these
Pumpkin– Canned pumpkin is easy to use for muffins but I also use pumpkin in soups as well. This is something I always want on hand so I purchase 12 cans at a time so that I always have it available. It is sometimes difficult to find during the summer months in the supermarket.
Panang Curry Paste– This is my favorite for Panang curry.
Red Curry Paste– This is a prime ingredient in red Thai curry.
Roasted Bell Peppers– Trader Joe’s has a combination of red and yellow peppers in one jar and they are my favorite. I can make a beautiful hummus with these or they are a quick addition to a frittata even a charcuterie board.
Sun Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil– These are amazing as a pizza topping and also awesome in a meatloaf or a frittata!
Organic San Marzano tomatoes– These tomatoes do not have that tinny flavor of other canned tomatoes. They are the best!
Tomato Paste– Tomato paste deepens the flavor of any tomato-based sauce, soup or chili.
Tomato Puree- I use this in pasta sauces & chili.
Tomato Sauce– I also use this for pasta sauces & chili.
Tuna– I only purchase Wild Planet canned tuna. It has been 3rd party tested for mercury levels and is low compared to other canned tuna’s. this makes a great really quick lunch to go with some fresh greens and a few Simple Mills crackers.
Avocado Oil Mayonnaise– Most mayo has soybean oil and most soybeans are a GMO food, so I find avocado mayo to be the perfect substitute!
Braggs Liquid Aminos– I love this…it’s the perfect replacement for soy sauce, salad dressings, curry, teas and sauces.
Coconut Aminos– Great for salad dressings and adds flavor to any Chinese dish.
Fermented Pickles- These are so good for you but also great on sandwiches or chopped up to make a homemade Thousand Island Dressing. (my family loves TID on burgers)
Fish Sauce– I use Red Door because it is not full of sugar and preservatives. Fish sauce is used in Asian inspired dishes and salad dressings.
Horseradish- I use this to make a cocktail sauce or serve it alongside a grass-fed steak or roast.
Hot Sauce– Because I like hot sauces!!!!
Maple Syrup- This is a great natural sweetener for not only baked goods but for salad dressings as well.
Mirin- Mirin is a slightly tangy rice wine that is used in many Asian foods. It is a great addition in stir-fry and soups.
Raw Honey– Raw honey is very healing and a great sweetener and one of my favorite toppings for oatmeal and plain yogurt. My top choice it to get this local from my farmers market but I’ve linked another option here as well.
Sriracha– I use this to top pretty much everything. Pay attention to which brand you purchase because some have preservatives and way too much sugar!
Stone Ground Mustard
Tamari– This actually is better than soy sauce because it is fermented.
Thai Chili Paste– Thai chilies have a different flavor and I really like it so I will use this to spice up any Thai dish.
Thai Chili Oil– I love this when I want to bring on the heat, drizzle over any curry or Thai salad!
Toasted Sesame Oil- This adds a delicious nutty flavor to stir fry and Asian salad dressings!
These dried goods are things I use often in recipes that I rotate. I would recommend that you figure out what you like and how often you will use these things before buying them. I will say that if you like spicy, nothing beats having dried chiles on hand to add to a dish!
Dried Ancho Chiles– I use this in my chili’s and enchilada sauce.
Dried Guajillo Chiles– This is another good one for enchilada sauce and salsa as well.
Dried Mushrooms– These are great for soups and stews and a base for gravies.
Dried Thai Chilies– I use these for Thai curries and soups.
Sun Dried Tomatoes– I love the sweetness of a sun-dried tomato so they become the base for most of my pasta sauces and also my pizza sauce.
All legumes have a different flavor and can be used as a side dish, in a soup or mixed into a salad. Beans have both fiber and protein so they are a great choice for energizing carbohydrates!
Black Beans– Perfect for soup and also my Black Bean Cakes.
French Lentils– I like these in soups or salads.
Mung Beans– These are incredibly nutritious and great for sprouting. Also, perfect for soups and kitchari.
Navy Beans– These make delicious soups and hummus.
Pinto Beans– I like these for my Mexican Beans or in chili.
Red Lentils– I use this in dal (an Indian lentil dish) and soups.
Split Mung Beans– I like these in soups or kitchari.
Barley– Barley is my favorite in soup!
Black Forbidden Rice– This is my favorite rice of all. The nutty flavor is delicious and this rice goes well with almost any meal or as a hot breakfast dish mixed with some cinnamon and raw honey.
Brown Basmati Rice
Farro– This looks a little like barley. It comes from Italy and I use it for salads quite a bit. Farro also holds up really well in soup.
Millet– Millet is a great replacement for couscous (which is wheat based) because it is gluten-free.
Red Rice– I love red rice for gumbo and it’s also great for any meal as a replacement for white rice.
I don’t stock my pantry with traditional white flour pasta so most of these are substitutes of some kind. I prefer a pasta that has fiber but is still tasty and can round out a dish! Sometimes you just crave pasta so I love using different varieties that are more nutrient dense.
Black Bean Penne– This form of pasta is made with black bean flour and is high in protein and grain free.
Brown Rice Ramen: I love these for the winter cold season when you need something comforting and healthy!
Brown Rice Spaghetti– Brown rice is gluten-free and this pasta tastes similar to regular pasta but still has the fiber from the whole grain.
Brown Rice Vietnamese Noodles– I use these noodles in Thai curries, soups & noodle bowls.
Gluten Free Lasagne Noodles– These are not the cleanest but I love lasagne and when eggplant or zucchini is not in season (I use them as noodles) I use these noodles instead.
Red Lentil Fusilli– Fusilli is high in protein and grain free.
Herbs and Spices
I try to get organic herbs and spices and I also try and find the freshest option available. I love buying from an actual spice store like Penzeys because it makes a difference in the flavor of your cooking. I suggest you figure out which ones you use the most and then start buying that from a spice store or just upgrade the quality. These are the spices I use most frequently for seasoning:
Ancho Chili Powder
Black Mustard Seed
Black Pepper Berries
Black Sesame Seeds
Chipotle Chili Powder
Crushed Red Pepper
Ground Black Pepper
Hawaiian Black Salt
Himalayan Pink Sea Salt
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