What I love about living with a full pantry is that I don’t have to think ahead to make a delicious dinner or whip up a fun baking project. Usually when I’m hungry, I don’t have the energy to go to the store to buy any kind of specialty item, so I usually go with the path of least resistance. With a full pantry and a few key fresh items in the fridge or garden, the path of least resistance might be soba noodles with veggies and peanut sauce, pesto noodles with toasted pine nuts and shaved parmesan, morning glory muffins, or coconut red curry with brown rice.
It’s worth noting here that I don’t cook meat (with the exception of Amy’s white bean, kale and sausage soup which is amazing) It’s not really an environmental, health, or animal cruelty-issue; it’s more practical and due to the fact that everyone can always stand to eat more vegetables, which is easier to do without the calorie-dense alternative of animal protein lying around.
I’ve compiled a list of what I try to keep stocked in my pantry at all times. As I run through one ingredient, I add it to my bulk-shopping list to be replenished.
The great thing about storing things in sealed jars (and buying small quantities at a time) is that they really do keep for a long time in the pantry.
Nuts & Seeds, etc.
Large flake coconut
Small flake coconut
Raisins (golden and regular)
Dry goods: Grains, flours, starches, beans etc:
Whole wheat flour
Whole wheat pastry flour
Whole wheat couscous
Steel cut oats
Dried white beans
Several kinds of dried pasta: (I probably eat pasta 3 nights a week)
Spaghetti or linguini
Baking and such:
Oil and vinegars (ish):
Good extra virgin olive oil
Rice wine vinegar
Apple cider vinegar
White vinegar (for pickling)
(Note: I don’t use canola oil anymore, even for baking really. I just substitute olive or coconut.)
Small UHT 2% milks (These don’t need refrigerating and come in handy when you just need a bit of milk. I don’t drink it enough to keep a carton in my fridge)
Cans of pineapple juice (for smoothies)
Giant tub o’ Adams creamy peanut butter
Canned black beans
Canned garbanzo beans
Coffee (for my coffee-drinking brunch attendees)
Frozen homemade pesto cubes (stored in ice trays)
Loaf of bread
Fridge or garden:
Fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano. In the summer mint, cilantro, dill and basil)
Hunk of parmesan
Loaf of sharp white cheddar
(Of course there are many more things in my fridge. I buy LOTS of veggies that are in season, whatever prepackaged temptation Whole Foods has out on display that week, sometimes tortillas, almond milk, yogurt, etc. However, I try to make sure I always have the above items on hand, in addition to whatever else I might buy).
What's in your pantry?