Shopping around for staples for your pantry and kitchen can often be overwhelming – especially when it comes to whipping up something quick for lunch or dinnertime. Never fear – we’re here to tell you the top ten pantry items that you should always have on hand for food emergencies. And it is even more important for our friends in Victoria, who might be planning on cooking at home a little longer – here is some cooking inspiration for you.
With an almost indefinite shelf life, beans are a great addition to soups, curries, or even a simple roast salad – with all the different types of beans available – you won’t regret stocking up on this iron-filled veggie. Chickpeas, black beans, lentils, borlotti beans, and even cans of mixed beans can be a great way to mix-up your usual weeknight dinner, or to provide a vegetarian alternative.
Tomatoes are another unlimited option when creating fresh meals – you can add tinned tomatoes to soups, stews, pasta, and sauces, and they also have a long shelf life. You can even create pasta sauces for those cold winter nights. Passata is another great option, too.
Carbs (Rice and Pasta)
If you need a meal to fill you up fast, complex carbs such as whole-grain pasta and brown rice are great staples to have in your pantry. Turn a green salad into a pesto pasta salad with some cooked penne or opt for spaghetti and meatballs for a 15-minute dinner. To hearten up your curries, add some brown rice on the side, or even create a Chinese vegetable fried rice.
From savoury to sweet – oats are more versatile than your morning bowl of porridge. Although we love a good wintery oat porridge in the colder months (it can also keep you fuller for longer!), you can create desserts, healthy snacks, cookies, and even savoury oatmeal and granola!
Dried Fruits and Nuts
Your mid-morning snack has just gotten better with the addition of dried fruit and nuts – not only are they are a great source of vitamins and minerals, but they are also delicious too. You can even add dried fruits like apricots into savoury pies, or bake sultanas into your cookies for a sweet bite.
A usual kitchen essential, olive oil is a staple in many pantries around the world. For shallow frying, cooking, roasting – olive oil is also a great substitute for salad dressing (add some balsamic vinegar too if you prefer) or even making a traditional Olive Oil cake!
Another great addition to your pantry to elevate your cooking is spices – from Italian Herbs, Oregano, Cinnamon, Cumin – there are endless possibilities when it comes to dried spices. You can even obtain spices for specific cuisines including Moroccan, Indian, and Mexican!
Flour and Yeast
The crux of baking staples is flour and yeast – make sure you have both plain and self-raising flour in the pantry for baking, cooking, and frying. If you’re feeling like a challenge – baking bread can also be a great activity over the weekend.
Stock (Veggie, Chicken or Beef)
Adding a splash of stock to any savoury dish can really bring it up a notch. Umami is one of the key flavours in cooking, and salty stock can bring that to the forefront. From Japanese noodle soups with chicken broth to spicy lentil soup, curries, or a roast – adding stock to any meal is a great way to intensify the flavours. Plus, you can grab big cartons to last a while, but make sure you pop it in the fridge once it is open.
You might just think PB is a classic toast spread – and trust us – we agree. But did you know your classic jar of Peanut Butter can also be used for sauces? Add some into a curry for a satay-inspired noodle dish, or ad a dollop into your cookie mix for a nutty bite. There are also great alternatives to peanuts, including almond, hemp, cashew, and hazelnut butter for something different.