What Essentials You Should Have in Your Pantry
By Sabrina Tibbetts • March 07, 2019
The sun is shining, the snow is melting—it’s that time of the year again! Are you dreading it or excited to start fresh? It’s all about organizing this time of year and getting rid of unwanted clutter.
Let’s start with the kitchen of course, it’s the heart of the home! And the heart of the kitchen is the pantry. It may be a little terrifying to start cleaning, but don’t worry, Colavita is here to help. We’ve created the perfect guide to all the necessities you’ll need in your pantry this spring. These items are healthy and—most importantly—versatile for all your spring recipe needs!
Let’s start off with the basic of basics, and yes, I’m talking EVOO. Coming in at #1 in the chart above, our Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil is THE oil to cook with. From baking to frying, it’s the multipurpose oil that will keep your heart healthy. Olive oil is rich in antioxidants, healthy monosaturated fats, and studies suggest that it reduces inflammation, which help the fight against diseases like cancer. Bonus: olive oil is resistant to high heat because of its monosaturated fats—making it perfect for frying! Now that you know some of the benefits of this amazing oil, why not treat yourself to more than one and add Colavita Lemon Extra Virgin Olive Oil (#2) to your pantry. It’s perfect for recipes that call for citrus and it provides some extra fresh flavor to dressings, marinades, you name it!
You can’t have a proper meal without some hearty grains, so we’ve selected all the necessary grains that you’ll need, such as (#3 - #6) polenta, arborio rice, couscous, and of course pasta! Our Colavita Polenta is gluten free, making it perfect for those in your life that don’t or can’t eat gluten. It’s a great source of protein and fiber and it’s low in fat and rich in vitamins and minerals. Try it in our Breakfast Polenta.
Colavita Arborio Rice is a hearty option full of Vitamin A and C and it’s perfect for risotto and rice pudding! Add some variety to the grains in your pantry with Colavita Couscous. Couscous is a great source of plant-based protein and with the Mediterranean diet growing in popularity this year, we promise that you’ll frequent this grain in many of your dishes. Last, but not least—pasta! Swap out your usual for Colavita Whole Wheat Capellini. Whole wheat pasta has more indigestible fiber, and more nutritional benefits which include vitamin E, B, antioxidants, protein, and healthy fats. Try arborio rice in our Korean Risotto Bowl with Krispy Tofu.
The must-have staple that you might be overlooking in your pantry are jarred vegetables (#7-#8, #11, #13). These preserved goodies pack a ton of flavor and are perfect for pastas, salads and just about any dish! And they’re stored in delicious Colavita olive oil— WIN-WIN! We’ve got Sun Dried Tomatoes, Hot Chili Peppers, Country-Style Pitted Olives, and Artichoke Hearts. Perfect for all your recipe needs! Try some Colavita olives in our Mediterranean Power Bowl!
Everyone has some form of packed tomatoes in their pantry so why not ditch the tin can for an eco-friendly boxed version? Our Colavita Diced Tomatoes (#9) are non-GMO and from the finest Italian tomatoes that are picked and packed the same day to ensure quality. We’ll promise you’ll be reaching for these whether you’re making breakfast shakshuka or classic marinara. Try our Anda Bjurji Scrambled Eggs.
You can’t complete your pantry without vinegar, so I’ve selected a trifecta of the best and most used vinegars for your pantry. Firstly, Balsamic Vinegar (#10) is a must. It’s sweet and fruity, perfect for salads, marinades, and more. We’ve also got your classic White Balsamic (#12) and Red Wine Vinegar (#14) which are both extremely versatile. Vinegars are THE magic ingredient for dressings, so make sure to keep a few them in your pantry so you can stop using store bought marinades and dressings and make healthier options all on your own!
Now for other staple pantry items!
Ginger is a MUST! Ginger (#1) is a power house of flavor, popular in Asian cuisine as well as many Western desserts. Ginger is also used as a home remedy to help relieve stomach problems like aches and help with pain relief, which may be due to chemical properties in the plant that may reduce both nausea and inflammation.
Hot Pepper Flakes (#2) are a necessity if you want a little spice in your life. You can add them to just about anything and good news, you probably already have this popular spice in your pantry!
The next pantry item is probably one you’re not too familiar with, but it has remarkable health benefits and an incredible flavor. Bay leaves (#3) are often used in Mediterranean and Latin American cuisine, most commonly to flavor stews, braises, and soups. They also have antibacterial properties and according to a study by the Phytotherapy research journal, they contain parthenolide which reduces inflammation. Pretty amazing if you ask me!
I think it’s safe to say we’re all obsessed with coffee (#4), but if you’re a coffee lover like I am, you need to start buying and grinding your own beans—it makes all the difference! That coffee flavor we all love actually comes from the oil of the bean which starts to evaporate once grounded! Beans last much longer than grounds because of this reason and if you switch to beans you’ll taste the difference. Trust me!
Oregano (#5) is a necessity in Italian cuisine—it’s in A LOT of Mediterranean dishes, so be sure to keep this on had at all times, for all of your pasta needs.
Up next— canned tuna (#6). Scratching your head as to why it’s part of our list? Canned tuna is inexpensive, packed with protein and each serving contains less than 1 gram of fat so you’ll want to have this in your pantry for a quick snack or meal. Tuna is also a great source of iron and potassium so start adding it to your diet. Mix canned tuna with some white beans in our Tuna and White Bean Radiccio Lettuce Wraps recipe!
We’ll make this next one quick. Salt! (#7) Properly seasoning your food with salt is an art and a necessity.
This one needs no introduction and it’s one of my favorites. Garlic! Although garlic powder is convenient, fresh garlic (#8) is stronger and is full of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. With benefits like these, why would you ever use the powdered version? Garlic makes a big appearance in our Thai Beef Salad recipe!
Chicken stock (#9) is another must have in your pantry. Stock is different from broth because it’s thicker and made from bones and contains collagen, marrow, amino acids and minerals! It has less sodium than broth so it’s great to thicken up dishes.
Chickpeas (#10) are a Mediterranean diet staple and they’re high in protein and fiber, making them a great alternative to meat. This powerhouse legume is extremely versatile, and you can add them to curry’s, salads, sandwiches and of course, use them in hummus! Try our Springtime Hummus Bowl with Roasted Veggies!
Now that your pantry has been perfected, it’s finally time for the refrigerated items!
As you probably know, Miso paste (#1) is a popular Japanese seasoning made from fermented soy beans and frequently used to flavor soup, sauces and lots of other Asian dishes. But what you don’t know is that Miso is rich in essential minerals and vitamins, including B, E, K and folic acid. And because it’s fermented it has probiotics, making it good for your gut!
Similar to Miso, Tahini (#2) is another popular paste rich in vitamins and used in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. Tahini is made from ground sesame seeds and is used as a condiment as well as to flavor dishes like hummus. Wanna use tahini? Try out these Carrot Zucchini and Scallion Fritters!
Now for tomato-based items, our must haves are ketchup and tomato paste. Ketchup (#3) is an American favorite, so chances of you already having this classic condiment is pretty high but make sure to have tomato paste (#4) in your refrigerator too—you can never have too many tomato-based items!
Dijon Mustard (#5) is a great staple and another classic condiment, but unlike your typical mustard it’s made from hotter brown or black mustard seeds as well as low acidic liquids like white wine, giving it a sharp flavor. Give Dijon a try instead of your usual yellow mustard.
Lemons (#6) are used in just about everything, from desserts, drinks, dressings, and more! Lemons are high in vitamin c and according to the American Heart Association, it may reduce the risk of ischemic stroke in women along with other citrus fruits. Not too shabby for a fruit you’ll never eat on its own. Lemons play a big part in our Pesto Crusted Salmon!
Have you ever heard of Oat Milk (#7)? It’s the latest plant-based milk in the market, and it’s made from blending oats and water together. It’s frothier and richer in taste, compared to other plant milks making it most similar to cow milk. Although it’s higher in calories than other plant milks, it has a high content of heart healthy fibers, calcium, and vitamin D. It’s not only great for smoothies and latte’s but it’s great to cook with too, which is why it’s on our must haves!
As an Italian brand, we couldn’t go through a spring cleaning without any cheese, so we’ve carefully selected the one you absolutely need to have you need in your fridge—Parmegiano Reggiano! Believe it or not, Parmegiano Reggiano (#8) is actually pretty healthy for you. It’s lactose-free, a great source of protein and low in fat. If you’re a cheese lover, remember— harder cheeses tend to be lower in fat but higher protein content. Our Cavatappi with Kale Pesto and White Beans recipe is packed with parmegiano!
Our very last staple is soy sauce, a fundamental flavor in many different Asian Cuisines. Soy sauce (#9) is made from fermented soybeans and although it’s high is sodium its sodium content is lower than table salt!
Spring cleaning is always stressful, but we at Colavita hope this guide will help you purge and revamp your kitchen with some incredible ingredients, and even inspire you to try new recipes!