Since seeing fresh food go to waste is one of my pet peeves, I tend to grocery shop every other day. I plan my menus out in advance, and shop for ingredients based on what I am going to make for the next few meals. But no matter what I have on tomorrow’s menu, I keep my cupboard stocked with a selection of pantry staples that are perfect for putting together almost any meal in a pinch. These 10 items are flavorful, versatile, and most importantly, won’t spoil. As long as I have these ingredients on hand, I know that I can whip up a tasty and nutritious spread any day of the week. Here’s a look at my pantry staples:
- Quinoa is the healthiest and most versatile grain to have in your cupboard. It is the only grain that offers a complete protein, and works just as well in a sweet breakfast dish as it does a savory side.
- Canned tomatoes are packed with just as many nutrients as fresh ones, and even better, they require no peeling, seeding or chopping. I use canned tomatoes often as the base for a quick sauce, served over pasta, chicken, or fish.
- Canned artichoke hearts are my go-to for a gourmet meal on the fly. Combine this pantry staple with mushrooms, and then simmer in white wine and chicken stock. Serve over chicken or pasta.
- Frozen chicken breasts aren’t a “pantry” staple per say, but they’re another food I always have on hand. They’re a perfect lean protein and last in your freezer as long as you need them to.
- Angel hair pasta makes a great quick dish any night of the week. I use whole-wheat pasta as it’s a healthier alternative. Toss with shrimp (fresh or frozen), olive, oil and garlic, and there you have it— a delicious and complete meal.
- Olive oil and balsamic vinegar are essential ingredients for any kitchen. Combined, they make the perfect base to dress almost any salad. And alone, olive oil is my go-to oil for flavorful cooking.
- Rolled oats are a definite staple in my home. From overnight oats to baking, I use them on a weekly basis.
- Canned beans are a great vegetarian source of protein. I prefer cannellini beans since they can be used in soups, salads, or sautéed with greens for a quick and easy meal. Depending on your personal preference though, chickpeas and black beans are other great options.
- Canned green chilies are the perfect way to spice up sauces, dips, chilies, and chicken dishes. If you can stand the heat, they’re the perfect way to punch up a bland recipe.
- Canned light tuna has over 21g of protein per can and is rich in healthy amino acids. There’s a reason it was a staple in your lunchbox growing up!
What staple ingredients do you always have in your cupboard?