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Simplifying meal planning and shopping

love making a new dish every now and then, but I also like having some go-to recipes that I can make on repeat. So I’ve been thinking about how to make shopping easier and still have what I need—or most of what I need—on hand. I still Google for substitutes, and that’s been a lifesaver more than once.

Here are my current lists, which are a work in progress. I have some favorite cookbooks and cooking blogs that I return to regularly. How about you? I’d like to hear how you make the magic happen. Reply and let me know. 

15 pantry items

  1. Canned tomatoes
  2. Onions
  3. Garlic
  4. Olive oil
  5. Dried or canned beans
  6. Pasta
  7. Baking ingredients (see list below)
  8. Rice/quinoa
  9. Frozen vegetables
  10. Lemon juice
  11. Oatmeal
  12. Potatoes
  13. Cabbage
  14. Celery/carrots
  15. Olives
Bowls of herbs and spices at a market. Photo by Mahz Alam on Unsplash
Photo by Mahz Alam on Unsplash


10 spices*

  1. Salt (Kosher and sea salt)
  2. Pepper
  3. Red pepper or chile powder
  4. Cumin
  5. Italian seasoning
  6. Herbs de Provence
  7. Turmeric
  8. Coffee rub
  9. Garlic powder
  10. Onion powder

    *We also have a lot of spices for Indian cooking, but that would double the list! 

Other plant-based cooking ingredients

  • Tofu
  • Nutritional yeast flakes
  • Flaxseed and/or chia seeds
  • Coconut aminos or Braggs Liquid Aminos
  • Coconut cream
  • Walnuts/pecans
  • Hemp seeds

Baking ingredients 

  1. Vanilla
  2. Sugar
  3. Flour
  4. Bread flour
  5. Baking soda
  6. Baking powder
  7. Cocoa
  8. Applesauce
  9. Chocolate chips
  10. Corn meal

12 recipes on repeat

  1. Pasta puttanesca sauce
  2. Bean salad sandwiches
  3. Plant-based sausage
  4. Simple artisan bread or rolls
  5. English muffins
  6. Rice porridge
  7. Chili
  8. Lentil soup
  9. Peach and tomato tofu salad
  10. Brussels sprout curry
  11. Fancy ramen
  12. Cabbage salad

Haeder photo by Jan Canty on Unsplash