Top 10 Pantry Essentials


One of the major keys to success for cooking health supportive meals in your kitchen is to have a pantry always stocked with health supportive ingredients. Meals don’t always have to be fancy with a bunch of ingredients to taste delicious and make you feel good! Sometimes all you need are a few essentials and a punch of spice to make it come together.


Having a well-stocked pantry will save you time and stress in the kitchen, especially on those days where the unexpected comes up, because let’s face it, planning only gets us so far. Here are the ChefGirl, RD top 10 pantry essentials to set you up for success!


1. Good Quality Oils 

  • Extra-virgin olive oil

    • First press, not refined

    • Good for vinaigrettes/dressings and for finishing dishes because of its intense flavor

  • High-heat cooking oil

    • These oils are good for use in cooking due to their high smoke point so they won’t burn

    • Sunflower oil, avocado oil, organic canola oil

  • Toasted sesame oil

    • Good for finishing in Asian-inspired dishes due to its intense flavor

2. Vinegars

  • You can keep whichever types of vinegars you prefer in your home. They are very versatile and it’s best to have some variety.

  • Use in dressings, marinades 

  • Balsamic, red wine, champagne, apple cider, sherry, brown rice 

3. Canned Tomatoes (chopped, diced, pureed), Tomato paste 

  • Easy to turn into a homemade sauce or soup with some stock 

  • Good to have on hand in the winter when tomatoes are out of season 

4. Canned Beans

  • Convenient source of plant-based protein

  • Simple meal time solution: add beans into a salad, tacos, stir fry, pasta, really anything; or pair with some brown rice and veggies for a complete meal 

  • Be sure to rinse well before using 

5. Canned Fish 

  • Nutrient powerhouses: protein, healthy fats, calcium

  • Canned wild salmon, sardines, anchovies, sustainably caught tuna fish

  • Quick source of protein to add to salads, sandwiches, grain bowl 

6. Grains/Pasta

  • Brown rice – I always like to have some quick-cooking types of rice on hand for those nights that you just weren’t expecting 

  • Oats and any other whole grains that you like (farro, quinoa, wheatberries, barley, millet) 

  • You can always cook up a large batch of grains that you have on hand and use them throughout the week 

  • Whole grain pasta or plant-protein pasta (i.e. lentil, chickpea pastas) 

7. Nuts/Seeds/Nut butter 

  • Whatever type you prefer (i.e. chia, flax, pumpkin, sunflower, hemp seeds) 

  • Good for adding additional healthy fats/protein/fiber to meals, like salads grain bowls, stir fry, or smoothies, or to have as a snack

8. Boxed Stock/Broth

  • Because really, we don’t always have time to make our own stock 

  • For making soups, stews, sauces, cooking grains, and more 

9. Well-stocked Spice Rack 

  • For adding flavor to any meal + added health benefits of many spices 

  • Salt & pepper, of course 

  • Get adventurous! Try spices like curry powder, turmeric, cayenne, coriander, cumin…

10. Onions, Garlic, Shallots

  • Best stored in cool, dark, dry places (i.e. your pantry) with good ventilation (i.e. in mesh bag, not plastic) when whole 

  • Staple items to have on hand for cooking just about anything to enhance flavors