Author: Abbey Collins

Welcome back to our Ultimate Everyday Aldi Grocery List series, in which I share some of my top Aldi-shopping tips and staples for healthy eating and shopping! Our first installment was on produce, and the second was all about dairy. Today, we’re digging into the pantry.

Pantry:

This section is large. If you’re willing to do a little work and prep, keeping the following items in your pantry will save you from “What’s for dinner???” panic when everyone is STARVING. I keep a few back-pocket recipes that everyone loves that I can pull together from these staples. Try these Healing Bowls, or these meatballs, or this eggs-in-purgatory recipe (just trust me on this one).

Canned tuna/tuna pouches: Eat it straight out of the pouch or make a quick tuna salad for lunch.

Canned tomatoes: All different kinds. I add these to so many soups, stews, and chili. You can make a simple three-ingredient (four if you count Kosher salt) pasta sauce for meatballs and zoodles. Heat 1T olive oil over medium heat, add two cloves of minced garlic and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Add one 28-oz. can of crushed tomatoes. Season with Kosher salt. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Voila!

Canned pumpkin: A seasonal favorite. Add it to chili, oatmeal, pancake batter, or taco filling.

Oatmeal: Steel-cut oats are so quick in the Instant Pot. Do you have one? It’s a life-changer! Old-fashioned oats are also a great breakfast to fill your belly and warm your bones on a cold Cleveland morning. Have you tried my egg white oatmeal yet?

Nuts and seeds: So many great options to have on hand to add a little bit of salty crunch (and protein and fat) to oatmeal, yogurt, salad, or snacks.

Almond butter: I love to dip apple slices in a spoonful of almond butter for an afternoon snack that really hits the spot.

Beans: Of course, you can add them to chili. But they are also great in a sausage, beans and greens stew. You can even make your own hummus!

Coffee: My husband and I really like the Fair Trade Organic Peru whole-bean coffee from Barissimo. They have several kinds of whole bean, ground, and K-cups. Choose your favorite … now you’re ready to take on the day!

Olive or avocado oil: Spend some time looking over all the different options for cooking and dressings.

Vinegar: A staple to make your own dressing for salads without all the unwanted ingredients from bottled dressing. Shake this one from Ina Garten up in a mason jar: 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 tsp dried oregano, ½ tsp Dijon mustard, ¼ red wine vinegar, ¼ cup olive oil, 1 tsp kosher salt, ½ tsp ground pepper. Adding a little acid to your dishes takes them to the next level. Don’t cook boring food; embrace your Top Chef.

Brown rice: a dinnertime staple. Cooking rice is not difficult; just follow the directions on the bag.

Quinoa: If this grain is new to you, use it as an alternative to rice, or search for a fun recipe on Pinterest.

Hot sauce: Another way to add some heat and another layer of flavor.

Dark chocolate: I’m a busy mama of three; do I really need to explain this one?

Stock-in-a-box: Such a good staple to have on hand for the base of a quick, veggie-filled soup.

Flavored sparkling water: Sometimes you just need a change from all that water you’re drinking, or maybe you’re trying to cut back on the Coke … enter La Croix.

Dried spices: If you’re going to start cooking more at home, you need a well-stocked spice rack. Start with garlic, onion, oregano, chili powder, cumin, rosemary, thyme, ginger, crushed red pepper flakes, cinnamon, and whole bay leaves.

What’s your go-to healthy pantry item?