Top Pantry Essentials To Cook Like A Pro!

By Carol Dudar

pantry essentials

These days we are all thinking about pantry essentials but a well stocked and maintained healthy pantry is a great feature of a well functioning kitchen.

Stocking up on these nutritional pantry essentials means that many meals can be organized, prepped and made using ingredients you mostly have on hand. Many pantry staples are quite affordable to purchase, quite stable, and can help you create nutritional meals for yourself and your family at a very reasonable cost. When you often think you don’t have anything in the house to eat, you can rely on these pantry essentials to provide interesting and healthy meals.

If you are inspired by this list of ingredients or recipes, but aren’t able to find/get some of these specific pantry ingredients, you can always purchase them online for home delivery.

clear glass jars for the pantry

Pantry Essentials

Cupboard pantry items usually have an exceptionally long expiration date. Start looking for one or two ingredients in your cupboard and build a recipe from there.

Cupboard Essentials

  • Dried mushrooms of all varieties
  • Canned chickpeas
  • Bags of lentils (red, green, brown, black)
  • Cans of  full fat coconut milk
  • Cans of coconut cream
  • Coconut sugar 
  • Quinoa 
  • Cans of jackfruit in water or brine
  • Raw cashews
  • Coconut oil
  • Rice noodles
  • Rice paper wrappers
  • Nori sheets 


  1. Save the liquid from chickpeas to make vegan aioli or meringues!
  2. Dried mushrooms can be found in most grocery stores and asian food stores.

a great pantry for healthy eating

Dried Herbs, Spices And Baking Essentials

Having a strong spice, herb and baking ingredient foundation in your pantry will help you confidently and easily improvise meal ideas: anything from soups, main courses, dips, breakfast ideas, and desserts.clearlife beauty product

  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Chives
  • Parsley
  • Ginger*
  • Cinnamon
  • Turmeric
  • Chili flakes
  • Sumac 
  • Fennel seeds
  • Harissa spice mix
  • Cardamon
  • Cocoa powder
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • baking soda
  • Baking powder 
  • Pure vanilla extract
  • Maldon sea salt 
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • Cider vinegar
  • Avocado oil
  • Coconut nectar syrup
  • Dried fruit like mango, papaya, apricots, dates


  1. Substitute ground ginger for fresh if you don’t have it on hand. 
  2. Find your dried fruits that don’t have added sugars and oils in health food stores. Substitute in when you do not have fresh fruits.
  3. Maldon and Sumac can be found in specialty and spice shops
  4. When buying baking powder check the label and buy non-aluminum.
  5. Keep dried herbs on hand in airtight containers in a dark, cool place so in case you don’t have fresh herbs available, you can quickly improvise.
  6. When possible, select non aluminum baking powder.

organized jars for the perfect pantry

You may also like this article: Tips For A Zero Waste Kitchen!

Fridge Essentials

  • Toasted sesame oil
  • Mirin 
  • Chickpea flour
  • Coconut flour
  • Almond flour
  • Gluten free flour
  •  Tahini
  • Chia seeds
  • Tamari or Coconut aminos 
  • Tahini
  • Sesame seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Pistachios
  • Hemp seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Whole raw almonds
  • Fresh garlic
  • Fresh ginger
  • Maple syrup
  • Nut butter (almond, mixed nut, pumpkin seed, cashew etc)
  • Miso (white, or red)


  1. Keeping the flours and seeds in airtight sealed containers or ziploc bags in the fridge will keep them fresh longer.
  2. If you are not eating wheat: coconut aminos can substitute for tamari or soy sauce.

Freezer Essentials:

Like the cupboard, if you have a well stocked freezer, it is a great place to start a meal idea. Pull one or two items from the freezer, and build a recipe from there. Freezer items don’t last quite as long as cupboard ingredients, so use them up more regularly.

  • Frozen peas
  • Frozen spinach
  • Corn tortillas 
  • Frozen avocado (for soups, and smoothies)
  • Frozen fruit (raspberries, blueberries, pomegranate seeds, rhubarb, frozen fresh coconut, mango) for smoothies, topping on granola 
  • Fresh ginger can be kept in the freezer, can be peeled,grated or chopped as needed.
  • Frozen fruit (raspberries, blueberries, pomegranate seeds, rhubarb, frozen fresh coconut, mango)


  • Keep frozen avocado and fruit in the freezer for soups, smoothies, using for desserts, or topped on granola.
  • Fresh ginger can be kept in the freezer, can be peeled, grated or chopped as needed.Keep a sharpie in your kitchen (maybe hanging close to your fridge?), and write the dates on the packaged items when you purchased them before putting them in the freezer.
  • Put the older ingredients at the front, and the new ones at the back for better rotation.


Delicious recipes from our recipe index using pantry staples:


Mushroom dumplings

This recipe can be made with rehydrated mushrooms if you don’t have fresh mushrooms and can be prepared, frozen and cooked off when needed or whenever you get a dumpling craving. Dumplings are easy to make but do take time. They are a great Saturday or Sunday weekend project.





Quinoa Fritters

Serve on their own or with roasted vegetables of your choice. The fritters can be made, baked and frozen. Try serving them with our Green Tahini dressing found in this recipe or with the vegan Aioli found in this recipe






Pizza Bianca

Make the pizza base, then top with tomato sauce and favourite toppings, or as a white pizza with any fresh ingredients you might have on hand.






Chickpea Flour Crepes

This can be filled with whatever fresh or frozen vegetable ingredients and substitute dried herbs/spices from your pantry you have for the fresh ones. 






Polenta From Vegan Cacio E Pepe Polenta

Top with roasted vegetables of your preference, or tomato sauce and a sprinkle of cheese.







Chilled Pea, Coconut and Avocado Soup with Biscuits

Or with the Vegan Cream Pea Soup.  You can also just make the biscuits and serve with another soup of your choice.






Thai Coconut Soup 

You can substitute rice or gluten free noodles if you don’t have fresh zucchini to make zucchini noodles.