It never ceases to amaze me how complicated we make food, health, and nutrition. It even trickles over into what we have in our kitchens to cook with. Believe it or not, you may think that your kitchen has to be stocked with tons of different things to make fantastic food at home.
It really doesn’t. Especially if you are someone who’s just learning to cook more at home, starting to learn to like doing it, but still want efficiency. So what’s really essential to have in your pantry? Here’s an illustrated list of what you need in your kitchen, pantry, and fridge in order to master being a part-time, at-home chef.
As you can see I kept it simple and manageable because far too many of you end up with things you never need or use. And while things can be shelf stable, they also have expiration dates.
Oils and Vinegars: Extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic, red-wine vinegar and white vinegar.
Cans and Jars: White Beans, Chickpeas, Black Beans, Red Beans, Tuna, Tomato Paste, Diced Tomatoes, Tomato Sauce, Chicken or Vegetable stock.
Organic* Spices and Dried Herbs: Kosher Salt, Pink himalayan Sea Salt, Red Pepper Chili Flakes, Ground Cayenne, Thyme, Oregano, Rosemary, Bay Leaves, Black Pepper (Grinder), Paprika, Cinnamon,Cumin, Nutmeg, Garlic Powder, Onion (Granulated or Ground).
Grains and starches: Brown Rice, Quinoa, Farro, Pasta, Lentils.
Nuts and Nut Butters: Walnuts, Almonds, Peanut Butter, Cashews, Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds
Sweeteners: Honey, Maple Syrup
Preserves and Pickles: Olives, Capers, Pickles. Jams, Fruit Preserves and Applesauce.
Condiments: Mustard (Yellow and Dijon), Ketchup, Salsa, Coconut Aminos, Soy Sauce, Nutritional Yeast
Produce: Garlic, Onions, Potatoes,Lemons, Organic, Non-GMO Tofu (Vegetarians/Vegans).
Freezer: Meat, Spinach, Corn, Peas, Green Beans, Berries (Buy It Fresh, Bag It Yourself).
I hope you enjoy buying less, stocking up on what’s essential and have fun exploring your optimal at home cooking ritual.
P.S. If you love to cook, are a master at home chef, and/or on your way to becoming an Instagram food influencer, you can add whatever you want to your pantry.
P.P.S. I intentionally left off most baking ingredients because of all the variations in flours, practices, and utensil requirements. Most essentialists simply buy bread from local makers who have mastered it.