5 Pantry Staples That I Keep Stocked At All Times
When I first started following the paleo diet 3 years ago, my pantry was full of all purpose flour, various sugars, and sweets galore. I bought vegetable oil like it was going out of style….mostly because I fried everything I could. Needless to say, healthy eating was not on my radar.
When I transitioned from the modern diet to clean eating, I knew a pantry and refrigerator purge was in order. The only problem was that I didn’t know what products to buy that would replace everything I was throwing out. After all, diet, or no diet, I still enjoyed cooking and baking. Fortunately, over time, I started to notice a pattern. Five products stood out as pantry staples that I just couldn’t live without!
#1 Almond Flour
My number one pantry staple is almond flour. Hands down, this ingredient is the most versatile and the most widely used in my entire stash. Chicken breading, meatball filler, sauce thickener, muffins, brownies, pancakes, cookies, and bread…oh my! It doesn’t matter whether the dish is savory or sweet, almond flour is a great wheat flour alternative!
Don’t believe me? Check out all three of my cookbook pages below to see how many of my recipes include this all-purpose ingredient.
No doubt about it, almond flour is a Messy Masterpiece award winning pantry staple. But, not all almond flours are created equal. Due to my son’s peanut allergy, I have to be careful which almond flour brands are in our home. Some brands contain a cross contamination warning. For this reason, I am a loyal Blue Diamond Almond Flour customer.
I like to buy the large 3lb bag on Amazon because it costs less per ounce than the smaller bags I can find in stores. Gets yours now at the link below!
#2 Arrowroot Starch
Now that you know how much I love almond flour, let me introduce you to the ingredient that took my almond flour recipes to the next level. Coming in at my #2 pantry staple spot, is arrowroot starch.
If you’re unfamiliar with arrowroot starch, it’s very similar to corn starch. However, instead of being extracted from corn (which is a grain), arrowroot is extracted from the root of several different types of tropical plants which makes it much more paleo friendly.
Through much trial and error, I learned to mix my almond flour with arrowroot starch in a 2:1 ratio. Almond flour on it’s own is great, but can leave recipes with a grainy texture that doesn’t hold together. By adding arrowroot, the end results are much more similar to all-purpose flour.
In addition to being used as an add in, arrowroot can be great on it’s own. Check out my recipe for Homemade Sweet and Sour Chicken to see how.
Though mostly good, I will say to be wary when trying new recipes that solely use arrowroot as a base. Arrowroot can create an uncooked, gooey texture if not mixed properly with almond flour or other ingredients. None-the-less, you are always sure to find this 4lb bulk bag of arrowroot in my pantry.
#3 Honey or Maple Syrup
It’s no secret that I have a sweet tooth. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that a paleo sweetener was high on my list of “must have” items.
In the beginning of my diet, I noticed many clean eating recipes replaced cane sugar with monk fruit or erythritol. Unfortunately, after trying both these sweeteners, I decided to go a different route. Both monk fruit and erythritol left my stomach feeling bloated and upset. So stevia was next on my list to try.
Although I do like Stevia, it can get rather pricey with the amount needed to replace sugar and it can leave an odd aftertaste in some recipes. This is why using raw honey or 100% pure maple syrup won out as my #3 top pantry staple.
In my opinion, honey and maple syrup are interchangeable. It’s uncommon that you will find both in my house at the same time. However, there will always be one. These sweeteners are great to use in (and on) my Paleo Chocolate Chip Pancakes, cookie dough, sweet sauces, jams, and even some savory dishes. I once mixed honey and buffalo sauce to toss my almond flour crusted chicken tenders…holy YUM!!
I like to buy Nate’s 100% Pure Organic, Raw, And Unfiltered like the one below. For maple syrup, as long as you’re buying 100% pure and not Mrs. Butterworths, the brand really doesn’t matter.
#4 Plant Butter
This pantry staple is a more recent find. Until my son went dairy free, I used Kerrygold butter or olive oil in most of my paleo dishes. Then a friend introduced me to Country Crock’s Plant Butter and my life hasn’t been the same since.
Country Crock’s Plant Butter not only tastes like real butter, it acts like real butter. What I mean by that is it is 100% interchangeable for the real deal. Cookies, muffins, biscuits, and pie crust can all be made with this product without a noticeable difference. The best part is that it is made with avocado oil so it’s paleo friendly too!
Since butter is such a huge player when it comes to quality cooking and baking, it makes sense that my #4 pick had to be this creamy butter substitute! Head over to the Country Crock website to find a carrying store near you!
#5 Extra Light Tasting Olive Oil
Do you remember how earlier I mentioned how I used to fry things fairly often? Well, I still do! LOL! I just found a more friendly product to use in place of vegetable oil! Pantry staple #5 is Bertolli Extra Light Olive Oil.
In case you’re wondering “why extra light and not regular”, let me explain. I like to use regular olive oil when making bread dips and salad dressings, but I don’t really enjoy the aftertaste when using it in baked goods or when frying. That’s why you’ll always find the extra light version in my pantry at all times. Versatility is the better bang for my buck!
Usually, at least one of my weeknight meals involves cooking something in Bertolli Extra Light Olive Oil. One of my favorites is my fried Chicken “Parm”. As an added bonus, I usually serve this dish with a bowl of salad topped with, you guessed it, an olive oil balsamic vinaigrette. Two is better than one after all!
Because frying requires quite a bit of oil, I like to buy the bulk size listed below. That way I can get more uses out of it without spending as much on the smaller quantity bottles.
So, there you have it. A quick glimpse into my kitchen cabinets to see which items you’re most likely to find. With the exception of my Family Favorites Cookbook (which focuses on options for non-dieters, kids, and picky eaters), most of the recipes you’ll find on my blog will include at least two products from the list above.
Stocking up on these items for yourself means that you’ll be ready the next time a tasting recipe comes along that you’re dying to try! As always, if you do decided to give one of my recipes a try, please be sure to reach out on my Contact page to let me what you thought! Any feedback, is great feedback!