True foodies have a stocked pantry at all times -- and they know how to use every pantry staple to its full potential. Canned and dried goods can be used for so much more than adding a side of green beans to your dinnertime meal or boiling a box of pasta when you're strapped for time. Take a look at our easy pantry staples recipes and the answers to all of your questions about these versatile ingredients.
What is a pantry staple?
A pantry staple is any non-perishable food item that doesn't require refrigeration. The shelf life of a pantry staple can range anywhere from 1 to 6 years, depending on the item and how you store it. To get the most freshness out of your pantry staples, store your items in a cool and dry place, such as your pantry, kitchen cabinets, or basement.
Pantry Staples to Stock Up On
There are many products to choose from, but some pantry staples are better than others for using in a variety of recipes. The cooking-friendly pantry staples you should stock up on include:
|Canned vegetables||Dried pasta||Dried fruit|
|Canned fruits||Canned pasta sauce||Nuts|
|Meat and vegetable broth||Cereal||Canned meat|
|Canned soups||Oatmeal||Rice and other dried grains|
Pantry Staples for Vegans
We haven't forgotten about our plant-based friends! In addition to the non-meat and non-dairy selections above, be sure to load up on these pantry staples if you're a vegan:
|Chickpeas (garbanzo beans)||Farro||Miso paste|
|Heart of palm||Couscous||Tahini|
|Rice||Vegetable broth||Seeds (flax, chia, etc.)|
Pantry Staples Recipes
Whatever your tastes or dietary needs, there are countless ways to throw together shelf-stable ingredients to create a fantastic dish. These easy pantry staples recipes are our favorites.
|Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas: Trust us -- you won't miss the meat in this hearty, healthful spin on a Mexican favorite. If you're craving meat, add some canned chicken chunks.||Creamy Moroccan Tomato Soup: If you thought you had to spend all day in the kitchen to create a rich-yet-textured soup, this easy-to-make, beginner-friendly recipe will be a game changer.|
|Red Lentil Soup: The fresh veggies called for in this recipe can be easily swapped out for canned versions -- and you won't have to sacrifice taste.||Victoria Granof's Pasta con Ceci: It may have a fancy name, but this Mediterranean-inspired recipe will be done in minutes (and devoured even more quickly).|
|New England Bean & Bog Cassoulet: No fresh meat on hand? No problem. Substitute canned chicken and Vienna sausage for a surprisingly-gourmet meal.||Sun-Dried Tomato, White Bean, & Artichoke Pesto Pasta Salad: This salad calls for pantry staples, but has summer-fresh flavor.|
|Raw Food Dehydrated Potato Pancakes: If you have a few potatoes floating around in your pantry, forget about mashing them. This recipe is great to throw in the oven in the late afternoon so you can savor it come dinnertime.||Red Lentil Sloppy Joes: Where's the beef? You won't miss it with this hearty, vegan recipe that will please both plant-based and meat eaters. Pro tip: use spicy mustard, double the chili powder, and add a dash of hot sauce to liven up your joes.|
|Polenta with Roasted Tomatoes: Polenta is an underrated pantry staple, and if you don't have fresh produce, swap in canned spinach for this savory recipe.||Quick Black Bean Soup: We can't emphasize the "quick" in this recipe enough -- in about 30 minutes, you'll transform canned black beans to mouthwatering soup.|