Last week I shared about my family’s meal schedule and how I do my planning and grocery lists. I had a lot of good feedback about how helpful that was and also a few questions about some of the specific items I keep on hand, so today I’m going to share my pantry essentials that I always stock up on to make my weekly shopping and meal prepping easier.
We don’t eat many canned foods but there are definitely a few items that I always need for some of the recipes in my regular rotation. My most important canned item is full fat coconut milk. I use coconut milk to make a tasty coffee creamer, in Lincoln’s breakfast porridge, for tons of my favorite desserts, and also often need a can to add to a curry recipe. Another couple of canned foods I am never without is diced tomatoes and tomato paste; I feel like I need these ingredients for at least one recipe a week! I like to cook dried beans whenever I can but sometimes there just isn’t time in my schedule to be available to monitor a pot of beans simmering on the stove for a few hours. For this reason, whenever my favorite brand of canned beans is on sale I like to stock up because we go through a ton of garbanzo and black beans in our home. Lastly, I like to keep some cans of organic soups in the back of the pantry for “emergencies” (aka to send with Josh to work if we end up without leftovers for lunch one day).
Bulk Bin Items
I always have a few pounds each of basmati rice, mung beans, red lentils, and quinoa in my pantry for making daal, soup, stir fries, curries, and Buddha bowls. I also keep oats and buckwheat for breakfast porridge, and cashews (my toddler’s favorite) or some other type of nut on hand for snacking.
I always have a big jar of ghee that I make myself and use for the vast majority of my cooking but I also keep a variety of healthy fats available for different applications. I use olive oil mostly for salad dressings or pizza sauces, coconut oil for baking and body care, and avocado oil for aioli and a few other random recipes here and there.
I absolutely love to bake and oftentimes am struck by the urge to make a big batch of muffins or cookies at a totally unplanned moment, so I make sure to stay prepared with a good amount all my favorite flours and sweeteners in my pantry at all times. For flours I always have some sprouted wheat or spelt, cassava, almond, coconut, tapioca, arrowroot, and masa. Maple syrup, honey, and coconut sugar are the main sweeteners I rotate through. I also make sure I have plenty of baking powder, baking soda and some good extracts. I cannot count how many times I’ve been inspired to make a particular recipe and been so happy to have the necessary ingredients in my kitchen already!
I always have several types of vinegars for making different salad dressings, tons of spices (I plan on doing a whole other post about what I keep in my spice drawer soon), a variety of herbal teas, quarts of bone broth in case I run out of homemade, and peanut butter for the males in my family who are completely obsessed.
It sounds like quite a lot of stuff when it’s all written out but having our most frequently used ingredients on hand really simplifies my weekly grocery trips by eliminating the need to purchase a lot of the items that I need to put together my meals for the week. I mentioned this in my meal planning post but one of the most important keys to implementing this whole process is to keep a running list (I have one on the fridge as well as my main one on my phone) and whenever I use the last of something, I immediately go write it down on the list to ensure that I remember to pick up more next time I am at the store. Keeping my pantry stocked makes my grocery lists shorter, shopping trips quicker, and overall makes meal planning and sticking to a schedule so much easier!