Having a well stocked pantry is key to me. Although I am sure I buy more than I need (like for instance special ingredients or spices that I needed for one specific recipe that I haven’t used since), there are things that I keep buying over and over again. These are my pantry essentials.
Lentils. My favorite are the small green Le Puy variety and the red ones. My mom makes a delicious lentil dish with carrots, leeks and sausages. Like many dishes I love eating in France, this lentil recipe is not suitable and compatible with my Southern Californian environment and lifestyle. We still do eat a lot of lentils, especially mixed with rice as it is a good source of protein. I like to add caramelized onions to jazz it up, like in the Mujaddara which is the rice and beans of the Middle East. I typically use the coral ones for soups (like this one that I love) or dals.
Rice: Mostly short grain brown rice and white Basmati rice.
Beans: We are a almost vegetarian household, so we eat a lot rice and beans. I always have Garbanzo beans (to make hummus) and black beans (for chilis)
Tomatoes: I use canned tomatoes all the time: in soups, stews, chilis, sauce etc…I go with the whole San Marzano types. I also have tomato paste and my favorite jarred Marinara sauce.
Pasta: This is no a brainer. My daughter would literally eat pasta every day so I have a bunch. Typically whole grain elbow, penne and spaghetti. All by Barilla. I also love these Farro linguine and Jovial brown rice pasta
Quinoa: Again, this protein packed grain comes handy. I like to cook it with a bouillon cube for extra flavor.
Chicken Broth, Vegetable broth: Although I am sure it pays off to do it, I just never take the time to do my own.
Canned tuna: Great for a quick lunch on some bread or tossed in a salad.
In the spice department, I typically use a lot of:
-Ground cumin -Ground coriander
-Chili powder -Dried oregano
-Cinnamon -Red pepper flakes
-Sea salt (Maldon and kosher salt)
-Dijon mustard (a must ) –Vegenaise (vegetarian mayonnaise)
-Ketchup (I would like to find a healthier substitute as my daughter is a true addict to the original one that’s not so healthy)
-Soy Sauce –Bragg Liquid Aminos
When it comes to oil and vinegar, my favorites are:
-Extra Virgin olive oil -Canola oil
-Sesame oil -Coconut oil
-Balsamic vinegar -Champagne vinegar
-Red wine vinegar
For Baking and other things
-Whole wheat flour
-All Regular flour
-Unsweetened cocoa power
-Nuts (raw almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans…)
-Seeds (sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds…)
-Steel cut Oats
-Nut Butter (almond, peanut, hazelnut, cashew, tahini)
-Crackers (basic water crackers but we also like these Raincoast Crisps…so good with cheese)
In my freezer:
I typically don’t buy a lot of frozen food and pretty much never freeze anything but I always have:
That’s it! I am curious to hear, what are your staples?