Updated: Jun 20, 2022
Having the essentials at the ready in your store cupboard makes healthy cooking that much easier. To help you prepare, I've put together a list of my go-to ingredients that make cooking for a family as easy, quick and hassle-free as possible.
The main road block to preparing a meal is usually that when you read a recipe, you don't have the ingredients at home, meaning that a trip to the shops is required.
By stocking your kitchen with these key ingredients in advance, you should be able to make any of my recipes in minutes, hassle free and without any prior thought. My little helper can be seen below cooking with many of the ingredients mentioned.
1. Chicken stock
I often use stock as its so flavoursome, rich in essential fatty acids and protein to help your body build and repair healthy muscle, bone, skin, and blood cells. It's also a rich source of minerals, like iron, and great for gut health.
2. Cocoa powder
A healthier way to create the colour and taste of chocolate, without actually using any.
3. Coconut Cream
I use this in curries and smoothies to add a lovely silky texture. It's full of good fats and tastes deliciously creamy.
4. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has a number of emerging benefits for your health. It tastes great and I use it in my granola and savoury dishes. I use coconut oil (virgin and organic if possible) whenever I don’t cook with butter. I prefer both to vegetables oils (I use olive oil too but unheated).
Nuts are great to decorate platters, snack on, use in granola bars and as base for desserts. I use pistachios, cashews, Brazil nuts and macadamias alot. Ground almonds are a great substitute for flour when baking, as it has higher nutrient levels compared to bleached flour. Nuts have high levels of omega-3, vitamins and minerals, including magnesium and Vitamin E.
6. Red bell pepper flakes
These lovely red flakes look like chilli and make dishes look beautiful but aren’t hot. They have mild sweet taste and i love decorating savoury dishes with them. I buy mine from the Ottolenghi store.
Make sure to have cumin, coriander, baharat, All spice, turmeric and curry powder in your cupboard; these are used a lot in my house. Spices are quick to add to dishes but add a big punch to the flavour. They also have many health properties.
Seeds are full of fibre, good fats and important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. I use them for healthy granola, cereal bars, lots of different kinds of desserts and for sprinkling on savoury dishes.
9. Tomato puree and pasata
A great secret weapon to always have in your pantry. I use in most dinners as a quick and easy way to add flavour, colour and richness to what I am cooking. Kids love most things in a rich tomato sauce, so this helps in healthy meals such as fish-balls, shakshukas and meatballs.
10. Vanilla paste
I use this is almost all my sweet recipes. It gives it sweetness and so much flavour but without adding sugar. It transforms most recipes and is a must in your larder!
Have I missed any key store cupboard ingredient that you find is a complete life-saver? Let me know in the comments below.