As you may have heard, there's this little bug going around called COV-19, and everyone's telling you stock your pantry and keep a two-week supply of food around just in case things get really ugly. But stocking up means something different to everyone: There are those who intend to ride out the apocalypse one spoonful of peanut butter at a time, and those who can turn a random pile of canned goods into an impressive-looking meal even when the world is on fire. Which side do you wanna be on?
If it's the latter, we've got exactly what you need to know, and first things first: You've gotta load up that pantry. A well-stocked pantry means having non-perishables to turn to when you can't get to the store; they'll keep basically forever, or until you need them. Here's a full breakdown of what we keep in our pantries and why, but if you need a grocery list, here you go:
Our Pantry Essentials
- Rice and other grains (quinoa, barley, farro, etc.)
- Salt and pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Vinegars (red, white, apple cider, balsamic—whatever suits your fancy)
- Vegetable or chicken stock (bouillon cubes or boxed for the pantry shelf, or homemade stuff in the freezer)
- Beans, canned or dry
- Canned fish (tuna, anchovies, sardines)
- Briny things (olives, capers, pickles)
- Hot sauce and soy sauce
- Spices (if you're not already stocked, aim for fun stuff like za'atar, chili powder, or curry powder)
- Canned tomatoes
- Pasta and noodles
- Baking essentials like flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, and vegetable oil
- Frozen vegetables
How to Cook with All of It
The point of pantry staples is that you can make bare-bones meals out of them, but you can also amp them up with fresh vegetables, meat, dairy, and eggs when those are on hand. Garlic and onions are a good thing to keep around, too, and if you're stuck (say, sick) eating only pantry food, you'll thank yourself if you grabbed some fun stuff as well: candy, chocolate, chips, and maybe a wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano to keep in the fridge.
Once you've gone grocery shopping and gotten the stockpile ready, here are our favorite recipes to turn all those canned and dry goods into meals that don't feel sad.
Easy Ribollita Recipe
This Italian soup recipe relies mostly on root vegetables, beans, and greens that are just as good if they're frozen.
Cacio e Pepe Recipe
Cacio e pepe is basically grown-up mac and cheese that's just as quick and comforting as the boxed stuff.
Tuna Melt Casserole Recipe
If you don't have mushrooms and leeks, no worries—this tuna noodle casserole will be even more like the classic version you might have grown up with.
Roasted Potatoes and Chickpeas with Za'atar
Za'atar is the real star of this super simple recipe, and it's exactly why we like to always keep some fun spices around.
Easy Saimin Recipe
Make the broth ahead of time and keep it in the freezer, and you can have Hawaiian-style saimin almost as fast as it would take to nuke a ramen cup.
Sardine and Tomato Galette Recipe
Like we said, we love to have a few cans of tinned fish on the shelf. They're perfect for enriching a tomato-based sauce, or for taking center stage in this easy galette.
Easy Tomato Soup Recipe
Yep, here's how to actually use up an entire can of tomato paste.
Greek Rice with Greens Recipe
Heap some wilted greens into your rice and the result will feel like a treat, not a desperation meal.
Spaghetti Carbonara Recipe
You'll need bacon and eggs to make a real carbonara, so we almost always have those in the fridge.
Easy Antipasti Salad Recipe
Think of this antipasti salad recipe as a framework, so sub in whatever oil-cured, pickled stuff you've got if your shelves look a little different.
Sweet Potato Chip Tortilla Recipe
This Spanish-style tortilla looks fancy, but it's really just potato chips and eggs.
Stir-Fried Instant Ramen Noodles with Pork and Cabbage Recipe
You're probably not going to have all this stuff around all the time, but basically: Play around with your instant ramen by adding whatever veg and meat you've got.
Aloo Parathas Recipe
Spiced potatoes make the filling for these easy-to-make rounds of stuffed dough.
5-Minute Hummus Recipe
You can, in fact, make good homemade hummus without having to soak, boil, or peel any chickpeas.
Chickpea Fritters Recipe
These fritters use canned chickpeas and a bunch of frozen vegetables, so you can really pull them together whenever.
Welsh Rarebit Recipe
Beer and cheese are essential for these cheesy toasts, and who doesn't always have that around?
Soy-Cured Eggs Recipe
Soy-cured eggs keep for several days, and while they're a satisfying snack on their own, they'll also improve any salad, noodle, or rice dish that you add them to.
Trail Mix Trifle Recipe
And this is exactly why we recommend keeping some fun stuff around. We took cues from trail mix for this trifle, but you can use whatever sweets are your favorite.
Banana Chocolate Cream Pie Recipe
Keep some ripe or even overripe bananas in the freeze, and you can have this no-bake cream pie without much effort.
Triple Chocolate Brownies Recipe
Some people keep a box of mix in the pantry as a staple, but we promise that this triple chocolate brownie recipe is better than anything you can buy.
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