Post from the Past: 10 Foods You Should Always Have in Your Pantry (that you probably don’t)

These are not in any particular order, and obviously, this list is far from complete. However, if you have these pantry staples at all times, you’ll have the basis for a tasty, healthy meal once you add fresh vegetables and protein.

  1. 1. Coconut oil

Unlike olive or vegetable oils, coconut oil is safe for cooking at high temperatures, along with butter. It is a source of healthy fat and does not flavor foods with a coconut taste.

  1. Kombu seaweed

These long strips of dried seaweed contain valuable minerals that are missing from our soil and from iodized salt. The best way to cook with kombu is to add it to a pot of rice or other grain that soaks up water, or to soup. Once the rice or soup is done, discard the seaweed; the minerals remain behind. Add kombu to the following recipes:

  1. Quinoa

This grain (pronounced keen-wa) is gaining popularity, and rightly so. It’s got a delicious, fresh flavor and a unique texture—and it’s a complete source of protein. Quinoa can be substituted for almost any grain in almost any recipe. It should be rinsed thoroughly before cooking.

  1. Coconut milk (full-fat)

The natural milk replacement, coconut milk can be used in smoothies, over cereal, even in coffee! It’s a great liquid base for cooking meat along with some well-placed spices.

  1. No-salt-added canned beans

If you have time and foresight to soak dry beans overnight, great! If not, a no-salt-added canned bean is a great basis for a meal, whether it be chili, tacos, huevos rancheros, or your own concoction.

  1. Brown basmati rice or wild rice blend

Brown basmati rice has a richer flavor than regular old brown rice, and it’s full of nutrients. To break down the phytic acid in rice that saps calcium, soak rice for an hour before cooking, then detract 10-20 minutes from cook time.

  1. Canned salmon (wild Alaskan)

Salmon is a great way to get omega-3s—and some variety from tuna. Recipe ideas are salmon patties for breakfast, curried salmon salad for lunch, and salmon meatloaf for dinner.

  1. Stevia

Stevia is a natural, plant-based, calorie-free sweetener that has none of the acid-producing effects of sugar. The best form is Stevia in the Raw, which is less processed. Check out their Recipe Section. You can use stevia in everything from beverages to desserts to sauces.

  1. Rice noodles

Rice noodles are a great gluten-free substitute for regular pasta. You can get spaghetti or linguini thickness. Add your favorite pasta sauce (be sure to check the ingredients label for soy oils and high-fructose corn syrup) or try one of the recipes below.

  • Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad. Try a different sweetener with this recipe—stevia, maple syrup, local honey, or sugar in the raw.
  • Tofu Stir-fry. Be sure to use coconut oil instead of canola oil in this recipe, and again, a sugar alternative is a good choice.
  1. Almond butter

Since many people are allergic to peanut butter, almond butter is a great substitute for sandwiches and recipes.

Other resources:

  • This site should be named “Nourishing Ourselves.” Great for adults as well as kids!

  • Recipes are great for families, though they do include vegetables oils and packaged foods in some recipes. You can sign up for a daily recipe e-mail. Use or delete!

  • Sources for raw milk in South Carolina.

  • The site of the magazine by the same name, this site contains whole food recipes.

  • A gourmand’s health dream.

  • Focuses not only on drugs and alcohol but caffeine and food addictions.


*Originally posted 6/16/10 on

Click on a tab to select how you'd like to leave your comment

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *