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

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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

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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.

  • 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

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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.

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