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HomeLifestyleOff-the-Cuff Cooking: 13 Components to Carry on Hand

Off-the-Cuff Cooking: 13 Components to Carry on Hand

What I Keep in My Pantry for Off-the-Cuff Cooking | Wit & Delight
Images by Sonja Overhiser at A Couple Cooks

Editor’s Word: This publish, initially revealed in January of 2021, is right here to unravel your last-minute meal woes. Maintain these elements available and also you’ll by no means marvel what’s for dinner once more.

Right here’s the odd factor about being a cookbook creator and recipe author. For on a regular basis cooking, I hardly ever observe a recipe. Sure, my husband Alex and I are skilled recipe builders however when it comes all the way down to it, the vast majority of our meals are utterly off the cuff. Truthfully, that’s our secret to wholesome, plant-forward consuming in the long run. Make a number of recipes per week, then fill in the remainder with impromptu cooking!

In fact, cooking on this manner requires a way of confidence within the kitchen. However the extra you be taught primary constructing blocks and meal ideas, the extra artistic and assured you possibly can grow to be! So to start out off the yr, right here’s a grasp listing of the fundamental elements we preserve round and some easy recipes as an instance every one. Bear in mind: These are simply concepts and examples. Customise them to your tastes, weight loss plan, and what you have got available!

Pantry elements (& recipe concepts!)

Let’s begin with the precise pantry, then transfer to the fridge. Listed below are my high picks to maintain available:

Canned beans

Beans are full of plant-based protein and able to eat with little prep! There are such a lot of quick and simple meals you can also make with these powerhouses; listed here are some favorites:

Couscous (& different pasta)

Positive, everyone knows pasta is good to maintain round for fast meals. However a secret some individuals don’t learn about is that this: couscous! It cooks in simply 5 minutes, making it good for simple dinners. Use customary couscous or pearl couscous, which is bigger and ball-shaped. Attempt it in:

Farro, quinoa, and rice

Entire grains are clutch to maintain round for simple sides. Some favorites of ours: farro, a chewy grain like barley that cooks in half the time, and quinoa, that widespread protein-packed fluff. A brand new favourite various to rice: lentil rice, which is product of lentils and cooks in half the time. (Right here are a number of choices.) Attempt them as:


Lentils are one other staple ingredient full of plant-based protein and fiber. They’re nice as a facet dish or for bowl meals or tacos. We love them in salads or for lunches too! Eat them as:

Canned tuna (actually!)

Does maintaining tuna available sound retro? As a result of if that’s the case, we’re all in regards to the Nineteen Seventies pantry filled with canned tuna. Why? It’s protein-packed, tremendous shelf-stable, and makes for filling meals. Attempt it in:


Oatmeal powers us most days, and it’s excellent for entire grain wholesome breakfasts! It’s nice for snacks too. A few of our favourite methods to eat it off the cuff:

Outdated Bay (secret weapon!)

There’s nothing fairly like Outdated Bay for impromptu seasoning! This basic seafood seasoning mixture of paprika, celery seed, and plenty of secret herbs at all times hits the spot. Seize it on the grocery retailer or make your personal.

What I Keep in My Pantry for Off-the-Cuff Cooking | Wit & Delight

Fridge elements (& recipe concepts!)


Skip them at breakfast and save eggs for dinner! Eggs are filled with protein and a part of a nutritious diet, sparsely. A few of our favorites are:


Gotta have them for all these tacos! And don’t overlook quesadillas and fast burritos and wraps. More often than not, whipping up a fast quesadilla is hundreds quicker than getting takeout or quick meals.


Our veggie of alternative lately is broccoli: It’s full of vitamins and the right facet for all types of meals. Attempt it in a throw-together meal:

Leafy greens: kale or spinach

Throw a number of handfuls of greens into absolutely anything to infuse the good things! Pre-packaged child greens are useful for fast meals. We throw them in soups, stews, scrambles, stir-fries, bowl meals, and naturally: smoothies.

Tofu or tempeh

You don’t must eat vegan to get pleasure from these tasty proteins. Tofu is a part of a nutritious diet, sparsely. Tempeh is lesser-known however a favourite of ours, because it has a extra strong texture and taste. Attempt it in:

Smoked shoyu (secret weapon!)

Lastly, right here’s a secret weapon condiment: smoked soy sauce (aka smoked shoyu)! It’s turning into extra extensively accessible at grocery shops: examine close to the Japanese merchandise. The intensely savory, smoky taste is unbelievable for utilizing in off-the-cuff recipes as a seasoning. Throw it in any of the recipes above.

What I Keep in My Pantry for Off-the-Cuff Cooking | Wit & Delight
Broccoli makes nice impromptu bowl meals.

And that’s it: slightly rundown of a few of our favorites! Once more, the recipes above are supposed to be guides. Use them to customise your personal expertise based mostly on the elements you have got available.

Inform us: What do you make as “off-the-cuff” recipes? What do you wish to preserve round in your pantry and fridge? Tell us within the feedback under!



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