23 Essential Pantry Staples You Can’t Do Without
A smartly organized pantry is an awesome thing. It helps you eat healthy, makes meal prep quick and easy and can really save you money. It also means you have food on hand in an emergency (like snow days). Figuring out what essentials to stock is the thing, especially if you’re challenged with limited space or a limited budget — or both. The trick is to buy ingredients that you’ll use frequently and that are versatile enough to be included in lots of recipes (couscous, anyone?). And here’s the real kicker: Think ahead to those nights when you come home late and face an almost empty fridge and pantry. What to make then? Here are some surprisingly versatile staples you’ll want in your pantry at all times.
1. Oats: Often overlooked these days in favor of trendier quinoa or rice, oatmeal is a superfood that’s full of fiber and protein. It’s great in breakfast bowls and smoothies, but it can also be cooked up savory-style. (Photo + Recipe via Heartbeet Kitchen)
2. Black Beans: Great for your health and your budget, black beans are super versatile to cook with. They can be used in dips and side dishes, but they can also take center stage as an entrée in the form of chilis, soups and veggie burgers. Did you know they’re also a secret ingredient in some delicious and decadent black bean dessert recipes? (Photo + Recipe via Green Kitchen Stories)
See also: 20 Protein-Packed Black Bean Recipes
3. Rice: Buddha bowls were so on trend earlier this year, filling up everyone’s Instagram feeds — and with good reason. A bowl of rice topped with veggies, meats and even fruit is healthy, filling and oh-so comforting. The really great thing about rice, though, is its versatility. Top it up with almost anything you have on hand and you have a delicious meal. Plus, don’t forget how much you LOVE the ease of the one-bowl clean-up. (Photo + Recipe via Half Baked Harvest)
4. Pasta: You’ve gotta love pasta for its shelf life — it keeps forever — and flavor as a staple. Seriously, if there’s such a thing as a *bad* pasta dish, we haven’t heard about it yet. Noodles taste great prepared very simply with just olive oil, salt and pepper, but add grated cheese or some jarred sauce, and it’s a feast. (Photo + Recipe via Damn Delicious)
5. Ramen: Okay, we mentioned “economical” and “noodle,” and of course that has you thinking of the obvious — ramen noodles! Once a dorm room staple, ramen has gone all upscale these days, with those in the know lining up at trendy restaurants for a bowl of the good stuff. But there are endless ways to dress up a bowl yourself at home, and they are all so removed from the kind you microwaved back in your college days. With a few simple hacks, you can transform a pack of instant noodles into a meal. (Photo + Recipe via Pickled Plum)
See also: Slurp-Worthy: 16 Ramen Soup Recipes
6. Rice Noodles: The “pasta” for us gluten-free folks, rice noodles and cellophane noodles are the perfect comfort foods. They’re also great for a quickie meal, because they’re so thin and tender, they only need to be soaked in hot water until soft. Toss in a few veggies and some frozen shrimp, then spice it all up with soy sauce or Sriracha and you’ve got a tasty meal. (Photo + Recipe via Passports and Pancakes)
See also: 40 Must-Try Asian-Inspired Noodle Dishes
7. Couscous: Super easy to make, extremely versatile and a healthy substitute for heartier carbs, couscous cooks up quickly and provides a tasty base for some substantial dishes. When the cupboard is almost bare, just cook up some couscous, throw on some poached eggs and garlicky greens and you have the perfect quickie meal that works for breakfast, lunch or dinner. (Photo + Recipe via Love and Lemons)
See also: 20 Crazy Good Ways to Eat Couscous
8. Sweet Potatoes: Take advantage of the upcoming holidays to stock up on sweet potatoes. They’re a great staple to have on hand year round. They’re great alone or simply baked with butter and salt, and they make a hearty addition to savory soups and stews. Sweeten them up with pumpkin pie spices when you’ve got a sweet tooth. (Photo + Recipe via Cooking Classy)
9. Pumpkin Puree: In the season of the pumpkin, we’d be remiss if we didn’t include this as one of the most versatile pantry staples. It’s a filling addition to just about anything you can eat or drink, and it has a long shelf life — canned pumpkin keeps for up to two years. (Photo + Recipe via Cookin’ Canuck)
See also: 40 Recipes That Use Canned Pumpkin
10. Coconut Milk: A not-so-surprising health food trend given the popularity of coconut oil and coconut flour, coconut milk has become a key player in tons of healthy recipes these days, from Paleo to dairy-free to vegan. It’s always been a staple of Thai cuisine — it’s delicious in curries, fish stews and creamy soups. And it whips up sweetly in warm beverages as well. (Photo + Recipe via With Food + Love)
11. Chia Seeds: Chia seeds are one superfood that packs a serious health punch. High in protein and fiber and an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids, their absorbent qualities make them helpful in controlling your appetite. When mixed with coconut milk or other nut milks, they make a tasty pudding for breakfast. They’re also a good egg substitute in vegan baking. (Photo + Recipe via Kitchen Konfidence)
See also: 20 Ways to Add Chia Seeds to Your Diet
12. Sriracha: Sriracha is one spicy condiment you’ll want to have on hand when your pantry stores get low. Not only is it great in dipping sauces, but it adds flavor to leftover meat, scrambled eggs and… well, almost anything you choose to put it on. You’d be surprised at some of the cool and crazy uses for Sriracha. (Photo + Recipe via Taste Love and Nourish)
13. Ginger: You may know it best as a pickled condiment for sushi, but ginger is a great staple to have on hand in your kitchen. You can keep a small chunk of it on your countertop, then simply use a spoon to peel away the skin and shred some into simple soups or salad dressings to take the taste to the next level. (Photo + Recipe via Brit + Co)
See also: 20 Ways to Cook With Fresh Ginger
14. Broth: There’s actually a lot more you can do with stock than just make soup. In fact, stock can be used to flavor up so many dishes, making it one of the most versatile staples around. Whether you prefer chicken, beef or veggie broth, it’s definitely one pantry item you never want to be without. (Photo + Recipe via A Beautiful Plate)
15. Nut Butter: Whether you favor peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter or a more exotic blend, nut butter is one of the most useful ingredients you can have in your kitchen. They’re great spread on toast or mixed in dips, or even eaten straight out of the jar, but they can be a bit spendy. You know we’re always fans of a DIY, so if you love nuts and you’ve got a food processor, you can make your own and keep a good stash on hand at all times. (Photo + Recipe via Bakerita)
16. Cookie Butter: Okay, it’s not as healthy as nut butter by ANY stretch, but this yummy spread is so great to have in your pantry when a craving for something sweet hits. It’s great on toast or in baked goodies, but in a pinch you can eat it by the spoonful while watching your fave shows. Consider that future craving crushed! (Photo + Recipe via My Tiny Oven)
17. Tomatoes: Whether you’ve got ’em diced or stewed or in the form of paste or sauces, canned tomatoes really deliver when the pantry gets low. They’re great substitutes when fresh tomatoes are out of season, and they can be used as a base in soups and stews when you’re out of stock. But more than anything, they can so easily be spiced up and reduced in a saucepan, then poured over noodles for a delicious meal. (Photo + Recipe via Ambitious Kitchen)
18. Corn: Versatile and delicious, corn can be tossed into a salad, turned into a soup or made into a salsa — and it’s always delicious. Canned corn has a long shelf life, and with so many ways to eat it, it’s a staple you’ll want to keep in your pantry at all times. (Photo + Recipe via Vegan Yak Attack)
See also: 45 Fresh Ways to Cook With Corn
19. Tortillas: From wraps to quesadillas to burritos to tacos, there are so many great things you can make with tortillas. They were likely staples in your dorm room, and for good reason. They keep longer than bread, and they’re versatile and quick and easy to cook with. You may be older now, with better cooking skills and more gear, but there’s definitely still a need for tortillas in your life. (Photo + Recipe via Bits of Umami)
20. Potatoes: The spud might just be the one ingredient we’ve done the most recipe roundups on. We’ve brought you mashed potatoes and latkes and potato salad, just to name a few. The things you can do with potatoes are seemingly endless: Hasselback, scalloped, au gratin, casseroles and even the humble baked potato with butter and sour cream are SO yummy and filling, they can be eaten as a side or as a meal by themselves. (Photo + Recipe via Lil’ Luna)
21. Dates: Dried fruits are a useful pantry staple. They can be added to oatmeal and salads, or eaten just as they are as a snack. Dates are especially versatile. When you’re out of sugar or other sweeteners, dates can be chopped up fine or processed in a mini chop and added to baked goods or sauces. (Photo + Recipe via Paleo Foodie Kitchen)
See also: It’s a Date! 20 Date Recipes to Try Now
22. Hot Cocoa Mix: You’ll recall from your dorm room days just how awesome it can be to come across that lone pack of cocoa mix when you thought the pantry was completely cleaned out. But those handy little packets are actually good for more than just drinks. They can be used in everything from baked goods to frozen treats. (Photo + Recipe via My San Francisco Kitchen)
23. Popcorn: When it comes to our favorite time of day, snacktime is certainly a solid contender. Tipping the scales in its favor are these terrific popcorn recipes that practically explode with flavor. Whether you enjoy a handful of kernels between meals or as a nibble during your next movie night, we promise you can’t go wrong. (Photo + Recipe via Lady and Pups)
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Pocket doors are so delightful in and of themselves. They appear when you need them, get tucked away when you don't, and make it easy to define rooms while keeping an open floor plan. Add to the pocket door a joyful patterned wallpaper surprise, and you will be sent right into fits of visual jubilation! Or something ;) Today we're sharing two simple and impactful pocket door makeovers that zhuzh up your space in a jiffy.
Anjelika Temple here, co-founder of Brit + Co and proud owner of several pocket doors! When I moved into my first real grown-up house a couple years ago, I knew I wanted to incorporate wallpaper so reached out to our friends at Chasing Paper to see how we might collaborate. It felt like a total lightbulb moment when I realized I could create a surprise pop of pattern on a couple sets of pocket doors.
Not only is it a whimsical way to bring color into a space, but the doors double as picture-perfect backdrops for all your SFH (selfies from home, obvs).
A few pro tips about install:
- Removable wallpaper is miraculously forgiving! You can take it on and off multiple times without it losing integrity (or mucking up your surface).
- I ordered this adhesive wallpaper installation kit with a squeegee and xacto knife and it worked super well. I also recommend a sharp pair of scissors for cutting longer lines.
- This is a two-person job! Get a friend, put on a playlist, and get ready to bond.
- Wild, organic patterns like Tally are great because it's challenging to spot any imperfections in pattern alignment; keep pattern choice in mind if you've got a lot of corners to match up. More geometric patterns and larger shapes leave less room for error (but are awesome in their own right!).
BATHROOM POCKET DOORS
In our primary bathroom, we chose the wallpaper pattern Tally, designed by Kelly Ventura, in White and Navy. In our space, the navy reads as a soft black, which is perfect for the space. It's easy to combine an ever-rotating collection of linens with the Tally pattern.
I love how the white trim becomes the perfect frame around this pocket door piece of art.
My favorite moment in this space is the fact that you actually get a third pop of pattern thanks to our serendipitously placed mirror!
And yes, this one works pretty darn well as a backdrop too ;)
LIVING ROOM DOUBLE DOORS
This set of doors is definitely a focal point of our home. It separates our living room from our primary bedroom which opens onto our backyard. The doors are pretty much always open, but when they're closed we wanted to evoke a fun, nature-inspired vibe. With that in mind, we selected the Lines and Moons pattern by Thimblepress in Green and Brown.
Earth mama vibes up in here! I love how the shapes and colors echo the ferns you see through the windows and the acorn wood details throughout the house.
Love this pattern moment, and xacto-ing out the door handle is def on the oddly satisfying DIY list.
For a pattern lover like me, I love that now I have this instant photo backdrop!
Thanks to Chasing Paper for providing these rolls of pure pattern amazingness. Head to chasingpaper.com to find our own favorites and start adding patterns to your home!
(Wallpaper wingwoman: Kayla Haykin; Photography: Kurt Andre)