Top 10 Pantry Staples
There are a few things I always stock up on because I use them so much in the kitchen. A lot of these are basic ingredients that show up again and again in a lot of recipes I make so I make sure to have them on hand. I get a lot of these in the bulk bins at my local co-op so be sure and check out the bulk section as there are so many neat things and great deals to be found.
If you haven’t heard of some of these I definitely urge you to pick one to try out and experiment with. I’ve provided some tried and true recipes that I make all the time to help you get started with your new ingredients.
1. Dulse Flakes
I love this stuff! It’s a type of red seaweed that is dried after harvesting. I put it on salads mostly, but also put it on pizza, scrambled eggs and in soups and dips. It contains high levels of iodine, as well as calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, potassium and zinc. It has vitamins A, C, E, and most of the B vitamins, including B6 and B12. (learn more about dulse here).
2. Nutritional Yeast
This stuff is pretty amazing as well. It has a lot of your B vitamins and is a complete protein on its own. It tastes a little cheesy so it’s perfect on pizzas, pasta and popcorn and I also like to put it on eggs. You can make a really great “cheese sauce” with it that tastes pretty close to the real thing. Go here for a few good recipes that use nutritional yeast or try out this cheezy taco mac recipe (you can sub tvp for the ground turkey to make it vegan).
3. Flax Seed
This amazing little seed is wonderful to have in your pantry, not only because it has your omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, but because it makes an excellent egg substitute in baking.
4. Vegetable Broth Powder
I didn’t even know this stuff existed until a few months ago. A lot of recipes I like to make call for veggie broth and I hate buying those cartons of pre-made stuff because they’re expensive and I go through them so quickly. This powder is perfect because it is a lot cheaper, makes a great base for many recipes, and all you have do is mix a couple of tablespoons in water and you have broth!
5. Canned Tomatoes & Tomato Paste
Tomatoes and tomato paste show up in a lot of vegetarian and vegan recipes and canned is an easier way to go. I use these a lot to make chili, pizza and pasta sauces, and in a lot of Indian inspired dishes. This is one of my favorite curry dishes that uses a can of diced tomatoes (I sub tofu for the chicken).
6. Coconut Milk
Just like tomatoes, coconut milk shows up a lot in recipes I make often. It’s great to have handy especially if you like Asian inspired dishes. I make red curry soup with kale and noodle salad with peanut sauce a lot around here and they both use coconut milk.
I’m a little late to the lentil game and not sure why I waited so long to start cooking with these! They are packed with protein, folate, thiamine (vitamin B1) and iron. They are very easy to cook with and can bulk up your meals for super cheap. I love making this red lentil dal recipe from Happy Herbivore.
Quinoa makes an excellent rice substitute that contains protein, B vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and quite a few other vitamins and minerals. I use this often as a base to curries and stir-fry, in soups and even have it for breakfast every once in awhile.
9. Dried & Canned Beans
I like to have a variety of canned and dried beans hanging around because they are excellent if you want to make something quick and filling. While dried beans take a little more planning and preparation, the advantage is that they are much lower in sodium than canned beans. Chickpeas are great to add to salads and use to make your own hummus, black beans are perfect in Chioptle-esque burrito bowls & brownies, Northern beans can make a Reese’s inspired peanut butter and the list goes on!
10. Garam Masala
I use this stuff in just about every recipe I make. It is a blend of ground spices that is used in a lot of Indian cooking and adds incredible flavor to whatever you’re making. I make vegan tofu tikka masala a lot around here and it uses not only garam masala, but a lot of other staples I’ve listed here.
06. October 2011 by Anastasia