Pantry Staples: Stock A Healthy Pantry
Updated Aug 26, 2021
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Learn how to stock a healthy pantry with these pantry staples. Flours, nuts, legumes, sauces, seasonings, oils, and canned goods are the workhorse ingredients in a kitchen. They’re economical, versatile and can be mixed-and-matched in delicious, nutritious, and creative ways.
Just coming home from a long day at work? Didn’t have time to make a trip to the market? Staying home sick for the week? Say hello to your pantry. The humble items lining your shelves turn into key ingredients when it comes to quick and easy meals.
Below is a list of pantry staples I always have stocked in my kitchen. These items have a fairly long shelf life and are versatile when it comes to whipping up recipes. But you don’t need all of these. It’s okay to start with a few basics and build from there. Over time you’ll learn the ingredients you use most frequently when cooking and learn to stock appropriately.
Need some help organizing your pantry? Check out my pantry organization post for details on glass jars, labels, snack containers, and baskets.
Healthy Pantry Staples
While you may think of pantry staples as what’s in your cupboard, don’t forget about your fridge and freezer. Cold storage items can easily last for weeks and months and help to create complete meals. Here’s what I recommend:
In the Cupboard
- Flours: I always have almond flour, coconut flour, and tapioca flour on hand. Lesser used flours include cassava flour and arrowroot powder.
- Cans & Jars: Diced tomatoes, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, sweet corn, black beans, kidney beans, chicken stock (and beef or vegetable stock), tahini and chickpeas last for months and speed up recipes. Almond butter, canned tuna and marinara sauce are also favorites.
- Dried Goods: Rice, gluten-free oats and lentils are the three items I replenish most often.
- Nuts & Seeds: I’ve always got a wide variety including almonds, cashews, pecans, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, sunflower seeds and chia seeds. I store these in my pantry as I use them daily, but you can keep in your fridge or freezer for longer storage.
- Dried Fruit: I often top my salads with dried cranberries, sweet cherries or raisins. A couple of dried plums (prunes) are always great to snack on for fiber.
- Oil & Vinegar: I always have avocado oil, coconut oil and olive oil. Sesame oil and truffle oil are great finishing oils. And let’s not forget apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar for creating homemade vinaigrettes.
- Spices: I’d be lost without all the spices in my spice drawer. Some of my favorites are salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, parsley, cinnamon and curry powder. With plenty of spices you can also make your own blends, like taco seasoning and fajita seasoning.
- Baking Items & Sweeteners: Coconut sugar, cacao powder, baking soda, chocolate chips, honey, maple syrup, Medjool dates and vanilla extract are frequently used to whip up decadent dessert recipes.
- Milks: Canned coconut milk and boxed milk (usually macadamia milk) come in handy, especially if I don’t have homemade cashew milk, almond milk or oat milk on hand.
- Produce: Produce I store in my cupboard includes onions, shallots, sweet potatoes, and fresh garlic. In a bowl on my counter I always have an assortment of fresh fruit like bananas, apples, pears and oranges.
In the Fridge
- Dairy: Butter, ghee, cheese, and yogurt are certainly staples, both for sweet and savory dishes.
- Eggs: I think you know from all of my egg recipes, I’d be a little lost without this key protein.
- Sauces: Tamari soy sauce, coconut aminos, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, Dijon mustard and my homemade mayonnaise are the most frequently used sauces. I also have jars of minced garlic, ginger, lemon juice and lime juice.
- Produce: Here’s what you’ll often find in my crisper drawer: cabbage, cucumber, tomatoes, zucchini, and leafy greens. I’ve always got a box of baby spinach and avocados. And in jars with water I’ve got meal prepped and sliced carrots and celery sticks.
In the Freezer
- Frozen Vegetables & Fruit: My morning smoothies would not be possible without frozen berries, frozen bananas and frozen avocado chunks. My favorite frozen veggies include, spinach, green beans, peas, and the California blend (broccoli, cauliflower and carrots).
- Protein: Most often you’ll find chicken breasts, whole chicken, wild Alaskan salmon, cod, shrimp, ground beef, steaks, and bacon.
- Meal Prep Items: You know I’m all about meal prep, so there’s always a meal ready to go in my freezer. You’ll most often find leftovers of taco soup, zucchini lasagna, shepherd’s pie, carrot ginger soup, salmon patties, and hummus. And let’s not forget chia pudding for the easiest grab and go breakfast (after it’s thawed).
12 Easy Pantry Recipes Using Pantry Staples
These recipes use many of the ingredients listed above. And while some may include fresh produce, feel free to use canned or frozen substitutions.
- Taco Soup: It doesn’t get much easier than ground beef, plus canned beans, corn, and tomatoes, plus a few spices.
- Coconut Curry Chicken: A flavorful chicken recipe with simple ingredients, topped on a bed of rice.
- Deviled Eggs: Spruce up your hard boiled eggs with mayonnaise, mustard and spices.
- Roasted Red Pepper Hummus: Combine those canned garbanzo beans with a jar of roasted red peppers for the best snack.
- Lentil Salad: Lentils, cucumbers, onions and herbs come together for a refreshing salad.
- Salmon Patties: I usually make this recipe with fresh salmon, but canned salmon is just fine.
- Paleo Pancakes: With a blend of flours, baking soda, eggs, milk, maple syrup, vinegar and vanilla extract a stack of pancakes is easy.
- Garlic Butter Shrimp: Frozen shrimp are quickly sautéed and infused with garlicky flavor.
- Shakshuka: Swap fresh tomatoes for canned tomatoes and you’ve got yourself an easy, tasty breakfast.
- Tuna Stuffed Avocados: Canned tuna is turned into a complete meal with a few veggies and avocados.
- Cassava Flour Tortillas: If you forgot to stock bread, not to worry. It’s easy to make homemade tortillas with cassava flour, oil, water and salt.
- Chia Seed Pudding: The ultimate pantry recipe that’s so versatile, you just need chia seeds and milk.