Hello, friends! The most visited post here on my little blog is one I published four years ago and in it I shared my top must haves. Things have changed a little since then and since I’ve also been asked about some of my kitchen staples, I thought I’d share a peek into what our staples are. I had intended on getting this post up at the start of the new year to maybe help those who were transitioning into a healthier diet, but you know how it goes…life happens!
Please know that these are our staples and what we find works best for us. I encourage you to do your own research and play around to find what best suits your diet and lifestyle. Everything listed below is vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free.
In no particular order, here’s our kitchen staples:
Looking a little empty (a day before our big Trader Joe’s shopping day), but here’s a peek inside of our fridge! That glass growler contains homemade raw almond milk and there’s a jar with almonds soaking and ready to be turned into milk! I make about 2-3 batches of milk a week. The top shelf of our fridge (and a portion of the door in the fridge) contains jars of nuts + seeds…everything from hemp seeds to Brazil nuts.
And we clearly need to change a bulb in the fridge 😉
Kale and various other leafy greens: I, myself, go through 3-4 bunches of kale a week. I’ll throw a couple of handfuls in my smoothie, make a quick kale salad, saute it with garlic, or add it to soup for some extra vitamins. Kale is packed with protein, fiber, folate, and various other minerals. Other leafy greens we love to keep on hand: spinach, romaine, red leaf lettuce, chard, arugula, bok choy. These are great for salad, soups, wraps, or stir fry! I love to buy our kale, romaine, and red leaf from either Whole Foods or Natural Grocers because it’s zero waste (no packaging and we bring our reusable produce bags).
Organic Raw Nuts & Seeds: If you were to open our refrigerator, you would find jars of various nuts and seeds, such as: almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, and more! We use them mostly to make “milks,” but also for granola, grind into flours, throw into smoothies, roast + make our own nut/seed butters, and the list could go on. Since we don’t eat animal products, nuts & seeds are some of our go-to’s for protein, fiber, and vitamins + minerals (calcium, magnesium, zinc, etc.). It’s best to store nuts and seeds in the fridge (in airtight containers) because they can easily go rancid from light and/or heat. If you’re able to, purchase your nuts from a grocery store that keeps them refrigerated – we get ours from Natural Grocers as they carry a wide variety of nuts and seeds in their refrigerated bulk section.
Nut & Seed Butters: I fully admit, I don’t make our own as often as I’d like to because the convenience of store-bought wins most times. We LOVE to grab our peanut butter (which is technically a legume) and almond butter from Costco! Not only can you get a big jar for the fraction of the regular price in other stores, but they carry organic. We also plow through a jar of raw tahini in a week. I use tahini almost daily to make salad dressings or sauces. I recommend storing your unopened jars of nut/seed butters in your pantry upside down – this makes for easier stirring when it come time to open it. The natural oils are then able to distribute a bit more evenly, as opposed to sitting on top. A few things we look for when buying nut/seed butters is that there isn’t any added oil, salt, or sugar. I know the Costco PB does have added salt, but due to the right price (you get two BIG jars for the price of one small one) and the fact that they don’t add any other junk, it’s a really great option!
Coconut Secret’s Coconut Aminos: For someone who is gluten-free and soy-free, this is a great replacement for soy sauce! We’ve been using this brand for about six years and love it. I’ll use it in dressings, sauces, stir-fry, and various recipes. It has a salty and slightly sweet flavor to it and adds a really great flavor to your dishes. We buy ours from Natural Grocers and occasionally through The Raw Food World when it’s on sale. Trader Joe’s also carries an organic coconut aminos that is really good.
Hot sauce: We have a few favorites, which I will link within here, but we always have at least one bottle on hand…sometimes more! Josh and I love adding it to just about everything from roasted potatoes to soups and sauces. The ones I’m listing below are gluten-free, refined sugar-free, and don’t contain citric acid or weird gums.
Brands we love:
- Organic Harvest Foods (we’ve tried all three flavors and LOVE them). We buy them from Natural Grocers for way cheaper than the price listed online.
- Oregon Brineworks Hot Sauce >> while it does contain cane sugar, we buy it on occasion to support a local company and love that it’s raw and fermented!
- Frank’s RedHot® Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce >> gotta love the convenience of being able to find this in just about any grocery store and the price is super affordable for a large bottle!
Fresh organic fruits and veggies: Pretty self explanatory! I’d say 90% or more of our weekly groceries is fresh produce, which we buy from Trader Joe’s, Natural Grocers, and Whole Foods. I’ve done enough price comparison shopping (and quality), which is why we buy from all three. Most are stored in the fridge (greens, carrots, berries, etc.) while things such as apples, bananas, onions, etc. are kept in our pantry or on the counter. The majority of our bananas end up in the freezer for smoothies.
Kombucha: We always have 2-3 bottles of kombucha floating around in our fridge! We love Townshend’s Brew Dr. Kombucha (an Oregon company), some flavors of Humm Kombucha (a local Bend, OR company…we check the label and avoid the flavors that contain citric acid), GT’s Kombucha, and we really like a few flavors of Health-Ade (ginger-lemon, pink lady apple, holiday cheers, and maca berry). I’m on the hunt for that Reishi Chocolate one!!
A look inside our pantry. Those big plastic jugs are distilled white vinegar (which we use for household cleaning and to wash our produce with).
We have a couple of small baskets on our third shelf (from the top), which hold our supplements. I won’t go into detail, or share photos of those because I truly believe it’s best discussed with your health provider to find what brand and dose works best for you! I will say that we have kid’s multi vitamins, B-Complex, B12, vegan D3, nettle capsules, Ionic Zinc, organic CBD oil, and various homeopathic tinctures.
Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar: We love ACV!! We use it in dressings, sauces, baked goods, and sometimes make a quick drink with it. We like to buy Bragg’s or Dynamic Health as they’re both organic, raw, and contain “the mother.” Occasionally we’ll also buy organic coconut vinegar, which is really good as it’s not as potent as ACV and has a mild sweetness to it.
Organic Potatoes: Potatoes are life. Garnet, Jewel, Russet, and Gold potatoes are our go-to’s. Wedges, fries, diced….I really don’t care! I love them all! We add them to soup, make potato bowls (mashed or diced), throw them in tacos or wraps, or I’ll use them to make sauces. They are so versatile! We typically keep 8-10 pounds of them on hand and eat them almost daily.
Organic Dried Legumes: While not as convenient, buying dried beans, peas, and lentils are less expensive AND, in my opinion, they taste better! And if you own an InstantPot, you already know how easy it is to make a batch of beans. While I’m currently not eating most legumes (lentils are my only friend in that category), we have them on hand for soups, homemade hummus, and various other dishes. Once again, we grab our dried legumes from Natural Grocers and on occasion from Whole Foods. Legumes are a staple in our house because they’re an excellent source of protein, fiber, folate, B-vitamins, iron, zinc, and they’re great for digestive health! A must have for a growing child!
Hidden behind the rice, lentils, black beans, and garbanzo beans are: organic peas, white beans, and quinoa…
Non-Fortified Nutritional Yeast: A little over six years ago, I learned the truth about nutritional yeast and I urge the rest of you who aren’t aware, to investigate the brand you’re using. MOST nutritional yeasts out there are made with synthetic ingredients…which can do a lot of harm if you’re not careful. If you’re interested in learning more, here’s an old blog post of mine. Since I know a lot of vegans rely on nutritional yeast, I just want to make sure that you’re being safe! Although it’s a lot cheaper and convenient, I would stay away from the stuff you find in your local grocery store….unless you have an amazing store near you that carries Sari Foods Nutritional Yeast! When I first learned about nutritional yeast through Dr. Fuhrman, we were ordering his brand, but three ago we stumbled upon Sari Foods and haven’t looked back! On occasion, The Raw Food World offers their non-fortified nutritional yeast ‘at-cost’ (on sale), so I’d recommend shopping around. We use nutritional yeast very regularly and in various ways: added to soup, sauces, dips, dressings, sprinkled on pasta, roasted veggies, and more. It’s a quick way to add a boost of protein (2 Tablespoons = 8 grams of protein) and is a great source of other vitamins and minerals. We order Sari Foods through Amazon or you can order directly through their website and get free shipping when you spend more than $20…which is really easy to do!
Spices: Our spices quickly grew out of control that I had to buy an over the door hanging rack to organize them! Here’s a quick list of our favorites:
- Granulated garlic
- Granulated onion
- Himalayan salt
- Black pepper
- Smoked paprika
- Ceylon Cinnamon
There’s obviously A LOT of others that we love, but the ones listed above are ones we use almost daily. I love to buy ours from Natural Grocers because all of their spices are organic (and REALLY well priced) and while they do come in a plastic bag, I end up storing them in glass jars once I get them home. Sometimes we also get our spices from Savory Spice, a local shop here in Bend.
Our spice rack (in alphabetical order for easy navigation…and maybe also to my somewhat OCD self happy)…
Maple syrup, coconut sugar, Medjool dates, blackstrap molasses, & coconut nectar: These are our only sweeteners and I listed them in the order that they’re most frequently used. We prefer to buy our maple syrup from Graham Maple Farm in Vermont (keeping it in the family), but we supplement with buying an organic jug of it from Costco (it’s a REALLY good deal and it’s just down the street from our house). We use maple syrup A LOT. In dressings, on pancakes, in baked goods, and sometimes we even use it to sweeten coffee or tea. Coconut sugar is a go-to for a lot of our baked goods. Dates are for a quick snack, to throw in smoothies, or random recipes. I used to use molasses A LOT more than I do today, but I still use it on occasion drizzled on smoothie bowls, baked goods, or stirred in drinks for added nutrients. Coconut nectar is used every now and then to make protein bites or my tahini toffee sauce recipe.
Baking Flours: Since I’m currently still grain-free, my baking drawer is a lot less cluttered! My staples as of now are: almond flour, tapioca flour, cassava flour. I do keep a box of King Arthur’s Gluten-Free All Purpose Baking mix (as it is gum-free) on hand for Josh and Willow – for when I make them pancakes or if I bake them a treat.
Here’s a peek inside my baking drawer…
Equal Exchange Chocolate Chips: We typically buy the bittersweet chocolate chips, but on occasion we’ll grab a bag of the semi-sweet. If you’re local to Bend, you can find them at both Whole Foods and Market of Choice. For many years we purchased a few different brands, but when we learned about the importance of supporting fair trade chocolate, we made the switch to Equal Exchange – they’re organic and fair trade…and surprisingly, less expensive than what we used to buy! So – win, win! For those who aren’t aware, there are many companies who source their cacao from farms where child labor and slavery is prevalent. To learn more about fair trade, click HERE and I encourage you to download the Food Empowerment Project Chocolate List app on your phone!
Nutrex Pure Hawaiian Spirulina Powder: We’ve been using spirulina since before Willow was born and have kept it a staple in our house. We’ll throw it in smoothies, banana “ice cream,” use it in homemade energy bites, or make capsules. I consider it kind of like a multi-vitamin and it’s excellent for your digestive health AND a natural detoxifier. Spirulina contains protein, B-vitamins, selenium, potassium, magnesium, zinc and various other vitamins + minerals! We tend to order ours through Amazon, but in a pinch we’ll buy a small bottle from Natural Grocers. A little goes a LONG way…I add 1-1.5 teaspoons in a smoothie.
Organic Cacao Powder: In the post I wrote a few years ago, we used to stock our pantry with A LOT of “superfoods” which got to be really expensive. We’ve since narrowed down our supply to cacao powder and occasionally maca, lucuma, and mesquite. We use cacao in smoothies, baked goods, and homemade chocolate. We bounce between whatever is on sale, but right now I know we have Holy Kakow in our pantry right now.
Lentil Noodles: When you have a selective eater, such as we do, any way you can sneak in a good dose of protein is a win! Our go-to pasta choice for the past couple of years is lentil noodles because the ONLY ingredient is….lentils! It’s honestly the only type of pasta we buy these days. We love to grab ours from Trader Joe’s because it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than the other brands, plus we get a discount 😉
Organic Rice, Gluten-free Rolled Oats, Quinoa, Buckwheat: While these are not specifically my staples, they are the “grains” we keep in our pantry and Josh and Willow use them on occasion. We buy our rice, oats, and quinoa from Trader Joe’s and our buckwheat from Natural Grocers – I buy the actual groats and the cream of buckwheat cereal which Willow eats almost daily! Our favorite way to eat that buckwheat cereal: cooked with homemade almond milk and topped with coconut aminos and nutritional yeast! I love to add some sauteed kale to mine!
Oils: We mainly use coconut oil and avocado oil if roasting veggies or when we need to grease a cooking pan/dish. On occasion we will use olive oil for salad dressings…we personally don’t cook with olive oil since it isn’t a high heat oil and can release a toxic smoke (which is obviously harmful to your health).
Pacific Foods Organic Mushroom Broth: I fell in love with this broth when I did a few months of AIP and never let go. We love to keep a couple cartons in the pantry to make soup or sometimes I’ll cook up some kale with a splash of this instead of using oil. It adds such a deep, rich flavor to food and Whole Foods carries it at a really low price now. We also keep vegetable broth on hand, but I’m trying to be better about making our own!
Native Forest Unsweetened Coconut Milk (Simple): My obsession with coconut milk began when I did a few months of AIP. There are a lot of canned coconut milk options and a few that are gum-free, but this is my favorite brand/option as it is consistent (no clumps and the flavor is always perfect). We buy it from Natural Grocers or Vitacost. I don’t use it as much anymore, but I make sure to have one or two cans stocked in our pantry just in case.
Tea: We love tea and drink it almost daily! Our go-to brands are Numi and Traditional Medicinals because they’re organic, don’t use bleached tea bags, or contain any strange ingredients. The ones we always have on hand: Numi’s Turmeric Amber Sun, Traditional Medicinals Ginger Aid, Traditional Medicinals Nighty-Night, and either Traditional Medicinals (or Yogi) Throat Coat. As a treat, we love to grab some loose leaf tea from Townshend’s here in Bend – Dark Forest Chai is our FAVORITE!
Tomato Sauce: While I’d love to say we make our own all the time, we don’t. But here are two of our favorite convenient options! The 365 brand is really really inexpensive AND it’s organic! Most organic options are pricey and tend to have some unnecessary ingredients in them, but this jar from Whole Foods is under $3/ jar and is free from citric acid, natural flavors, and sugar. The spicy marinara shown in the photo below is a treat for Josh and myself…we buy this when it’s on sale at Natural Grocers because it is incredibly flavorful and, once again, no strange ingredients.
Here are some of other things we love to have on hand (everything is free from citric acid, natural flavors, and sugar):
This Wild Blueberry spread is amazing! We use it on toast, in oatmeal, or on muffins.
That salsa is seriously the best jarred salsa we’ve ever had…super fresh and every single flavor is SO good (especially the garlic one).
What are some of YOUR favorite staples?? I’d love to hear from you!
Thanks for stopping by!