Kitchen Set Up – The New Pantry Essentials

Every kitchen needs to be well-stocked to be able to handle a variety of last minute cooking decisions, and in particular everyone’s evolving nutrition needs. The problem is most people do not take the time to set this up – and end up spending a lot more than they need and then having things that simply go to waste.

While less is more – less but better quality is really what you want to aim for when setting up some good pantry basics. Space and your (or your family’s) personal tastes/diet will dictate how much and what you keep on hand.

A top 5 complaint of the average working parent is that grocery shopping is a waste of time and something done multiple times during the week.

Setting up your pantry well can go a long way to avoid this. Once you have everything set up – set aside an hour or so on a weekend or quiet week day night – put some jazz on – and make a list to keep yourself up-to-date or ready for new meals to come.

My favourite pantry in the world has to be Nigella Lawson’s, but nutritionally speaking, it is more like an adult decadence shop. I love how excited she gets every time she goes to get something. We should all feel the same way.

Without further ado, here are the New Pantry Essentials…

Flours – unbleached organic wheat, organic unbleached pastry, organic kamut, organic quinoa. Xanthan gum for gluten-free baking.

Sugars – organic cane crystal and powdered form. To make brown sugar when you need it mix your cane sugar with a bit of molasses.

Dry Pastas – multi-grain – spaghetti and macaroni style, kamut penne, egg noodles, brown rice (for gluten intolerant family and/or friends), good quality potato gnocchi (2 packages).

Grains – couscous, rice, barley, quinoa, steel cut-oats, flax, white cornmeal (used as a dusting for doughs), short grain brown rice, organic arborio, organic brown basmati.

Garlic (organic) – full and also minced in olive oil for emergencies.

Oils – virgin olive oil, safflower oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, white and/or black truffle oil – buy one and make sure it has actual truffle in the bottle – not essence of…

Stocks – organic chicken and vegetable.

Jarred Tomatoes – canned only if no BPA lining (We recommend Eden brand) – sauce, diced, stewed, paste (make certain they are low – or no sodium(salt) added.

Spreads – organic nut butters (peanut, pumpkin, almond,) jam, jelly – no sugar added – there are many great organic and small batch options – I recommend a good marmalade and red berry jam – they can also be used in marinades and baking. Tahini.

Natural Sweeteners – organic honey, organic maple syrup (will need refrigeration once opened), organic agave, organic molasses.

Vinegars – balsamic both white and red – please invest in an organic one, organic apple cider, rice wine
Specialty Sauces – good quality hot sauce like Piri-piri, Tabasco, organic low sodium soy sauce, Bragg’s Aminos.

Nuts (if you have a family member with a nut allergy I recommend not storing any of these especially if they are a child) – almonds, walnuts, pecans, pine nuts, flaked coconut – keep the healthiest and best quality on hand.

Dried Fruit – raisins, apricots, dates, cherries, cranberries – the only item that I know many people do not like organic here are the apricots due to their undesirable colour.

Dried or Canned Beans– black, navy, pinto, kidney, chick peas – organic and water packed.

Canned Fish/Seafood – tuna, wild salmon, clams, sardines, anchovies – packed in water and from sustainable sources. Look for BPA free cans – We like Vital Choice.

Specialty Items – artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, olives – green, black and a stuffed variety.

Mustards – sweet and grainy, and another more exotic style or one with heat.

Herbs and Spices – oregano, basil, parsley, rosemary, cumin, cayenne, and everything else you like – because these are the jewels to the crown when cooking. Fresh is best – but organic dried will do in a pinch.

Salts and Peppers – kosher, pink or grey sea salt, herbed sea salt, whole black and pink peppercorns , crushed blacked pepper. A good salt and peppermill set is a great gift to ask for your pantry.

Baking Ingredients – baking powder, baking soda, rapid rise yeast, cream of tartar, good chocolate and organic semi-sweet chocolate chips, unsweetened cocoa powder.

Extracts – vanilla, almond, lemon, peppermint.

Feel free to cut and paste this list!

Posted in Nutrition, Organization, Well Being.


  1. This seems like a whole lot of food to have on-hand. A lot of it does not seem like my normal grocer would even have it. Is this a specialized diet listing?

  2. Hi Jackie,

    Not at all. Please refer back to the start of the article where we clarify that you have to gage your and your family’s needs and tastes. Most big-box grocers carry at least 90% of what is listed here.
    I hope you find it helpful.

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