in pursuit of more

living with just a little less

The following is a list of pantry items that I use most often in my recipes. As with most cooks (either at home or professionally), there are certain ingredients I seem to use repeatedly – and never, ever get tired of. This is thankfully due to a preference for cooking simply, and also in an effort to keep trips to the grocery store both manageable expense-wise, but also, time wise. As a self-confessed grocery shopping junkie, it’s just a fact that the demands of feeding a busy family requires more than just the romantic weekend market shopping trips.  Read: all that shopping can get exhausting, and no one should have to spend obscene amounts of money just to collect ingredients for that one new recipe you want to try (unless you want to and by all means I respect that too).

So I try to keep the re-stocks to a minimum – list making even more so. If I hit the grocery store without a plan, you can bet these are the staples you will find in my grocery cart. Add to that fresh produce, dairy, bread & eggs, and I’ve got everything we need to eat well for days.

— Beans and legumes —
French lentils (can substitute with Black Beluga Lentils)
Green lentils
Black Beans
Red Lentils
Pinto beans
White navy beans
Giant white Greek beans
— When using canned —
Kidney beans
White kidney beans
Black beans
— Oils —
Extra-virgin Olive Oil
Organic Canola Oil
Coconut Oil or Coconut Butter
Real Butter
Toasted Sesame Oil
— Spices —
Cumin Seeds
Ground Cumin
Cardamom Pods
Curry Powder
Black Mustard Seeds
Dried Basil
Dried Oregano
Garlic Powder
Himalayan Rock Salt (or any sea salt)
Whole Black Peppercorns
Ground Black Pepper
Chili powder
Chili flakes
Dried Parsley
— Whole Grains —
White Basmati Rice
Short Grain Brown Rice
Pearl Barley
Farro or Spelt
Wheat Berries
Long Grain Brown Rice

— Other Grains & Flour Products —
Slow Cooking Oats
Quick Oats
Coarse Polenta
Whole-grain Flour (look for freshly milled)
Chickpea Flour
— Dessert making Staples —
Baker’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate
Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Brown Sugar
Coconut Sugar
Baking Powder
Baking Soda
— Other frequently used items —
Parmesan Cheese
Coconut Milk
Almond Milk
Plain Yogurt (we eat full fat Mediterranean)
Canned Artichoke Hearts
Ready to use Lemon Juice
Canned Whole Tomatoes
Tomato paste
Vegetable broth
Red Wine Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar
Balsamic Vinegar
Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (soy sauce works for this)
Light Miso
Nutritional Yeast
Dijon Mustard
— Nuts & Seeds —
Sesame Seeds
Black Sesame Seeds
Macadamia Nuts
Pumpkin Seeds
Brazil nuts
— Nut Butters —
Almond Butter
Peanut Butter

Of course there are many fresh items that you will want to pick up while grocery shopping. If you do not have a game plan – you can be safe to start with these. Most commonly, I will pick up fresh items on-the-fly as follows: green onions,fresh herbs (like basil, cilantro or parsley).  Always a coloured bell pepper or two for color (but never green), and of course you can never have too many onions of all colours just in case.

Grab a few potatoes or sweet potatoes, a cauliflower, a bunch of kale, a lettuce, and always,always, avocados and tomatoes. Red or green cabbage is great as it will not go bad quickly (the same with its relative and our favourite brussels sprouts). Carrots are also a fantastic grab-anytime vegetable as they will store in your fridge long term and make you very happy with your next batch of hummus.