I’m thinking about what I would want to have around at a bare minimum that would still enable me to cook a variety of tasty, healthy meals for our family.
Here’s what I have so far:
Grains & Beans
Brown Rice (stored in the fridge or freezer)
Black beans (canned and/or dry)
Whole Wheat flour, stored in the freezer
Whole wheat pasta, spaghetti, macaroni, spirals, etc.
Additional grains and beans; such as barley, spelt, oats, pinto beans, etc.
Shelf stable milk substitute; rice, soy, almond, etc.
Canned tomato products, diced, paste, sauce, etc.
Fats & Oils
Extra Virgin Olive oil
Coconut oil, & or Palm oil shortening
Seasonings & Spices
Onions (I consider these along with garlic to be a pantry staple)
Vegetable broth or bouillon (cubes or powder – homemade version works)
Arrowroot powder or organic corn starch
Black pepper (preferably in the form of pepper corns and a grinder)
Apple Cider Vinegar, raw
Soy Sauce, or Nama Shoyu
Agave nectar, preferably raw (because I like it better, that’s why 😉 )
Nuts, such as: almonds, cashews, and walnuts
Seeds: sesame and sunflower seeds
Frozen juice, such as orange, and apple
Frozen blueberries &/or other fruit for smoothies, muffins, pancakes, syrup, etc.
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Assorted fresh fruits and vegetables, these will vary seasonally. Try to have at least 5 varieties of each on hand.
Spring: Greens (spinach, lettuce, etc.), New potatoes, peas, carrots, beets, strawberries, rhubarb, watercress
Summer: Tomatoes, summer squash/zucchini, eggplant, corn, raspberries, peaches, plums, apricots, Asian pears, cucumber
Fall: Beets, potatoes, kale, kohlrabi, sweet potatoes, apples, raspberries, peaches, broccoli
Winter: Potatoes, parsnips, carrots, winter squash, apples, cabbage, greens
Some things like potatoes, onions, garlic, winter squash, and apples will keep well for months when stored properly.
I think that’s about it.
I do keep a more extensive supply on hand, with extras like coconut milk (can you be addicted to coconut milk? I just might be), chocolate chips (grain sweetened), and numerous spices and herbs.
But, this list is more about what to stock if you’re just starting out, or have a limited budget but still need to eat ;-).
With these items on hand (depending on the produce selection), I could make:
Stir-Fry with brown rice (lots of variations possible here, including sweet and sour sauce, if you have canned pineapple on hand)
Rice and bean salad with assorted vegetables and a vinaigrette (olive oil, vinegar, basil, salt & pepper)
Lentil soup (without the mustard, or add that to the pantry)
Lentil rice casserole (use dried basil, I did)
Fresh homemade bread
Black bean and rice burritos with fresh veggies added (salsa extra for this, unless you made it fresh from the produce available)
Tomato-Basil pasta (needs cashews)
A Variation on out of the cupboard soup (depending on what’s in your cupboard)
Hummus (need a lemon for this)
And numerous other options depending on the produce available, such as:
Baked potatoes with steamed veggies and vinagrette dressing