Your pantry is where you store your baking staples and other household favorites like pasta, canned soup, and cereal. And we’re here to tell you it can also be a haven for a plethora of delicious superfoods. Sure, you can keep plenty of these healthy items in your refrigerator and freezer, but why take up prime real estate there when you can easily put your pantry to good use?
While not nutritionally recognized, the term “superfoods” refers to particularly nutrient-rich foods that provide a myriad of important health benefits. Examples of these healthy superstars include fruits like berries and avocado, and vegetables such as kale and spinach. Unlike fresh produce, the superfoods you can keep in your pantry don’t require refrigeration. In fact, many of them can stay fresh in your pantry for months (or even years) at a time, which is yet another reason to have them on hand.
So what are some of these superfoods that are suitable for the pantry? They run the gamut from nuts and seeds (think pistachios and hemp seeds) to lentils and even spices like turmeric. And since these foods are so diverse and easy to store, they’re also incredibly easy to cook with. Need a little crunch in your morning yogurt or smoothie bowl? Toss in some hemp seeds! Looking to add some flavor to an otherwise boring vegetable side? Roast the veggies with turmeric! Continue reading for a list of superfoods to stock in your pantry, along with some ideas on how to cook with ’em.
These healthy green nuts can last up to six months at room temperature, and are best stored in a cool, dark place, like the pantry. (To extend pistachios shelf life, you can also pop ’em in the freezer.) From a health perspective, pistachios are packed with fiber, potassium, and healthy unsaturated fats. Due to their impressive nutrition profile, pistachios can help fight inflammation in the body and, per a study that appeared in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, may lower your chances of developing cardiovascular disease. Enjoy pistachios in this Green Risotto With Pistachio Pesto or give Pistachio Pudding a try.
Since many nuts are considered superfoods, nut butters are often seen as exceedingly healthy as well, so long as they don’t contain too much palm oil or added sugar. Almond butter is one of the healthiest nut butters you can buy, and is a great source of protein, vitamin E, and magnesium. Better yet? A jar of almond butter will stay good in your pantry for at least five months, and is often fine to consume even after its expiration date. Add more almond butter to your diet courtesy of this colorful Pomegranate-Almond Toast.
Grains get a bad rap, but farro—an ancient grain—is one of the healthiest options. It can also last in your pantry for about six months. Unlike, say, white rice, farro is loaded with fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. According to the Mayo Clinic, it also improves heart health and digestive health on account of its impressive fiber content. If you haven’t had farro before, give this savory White Bean and Farro Salad a try.
Quinoa, like farro, is an ancient grain, and it will keep in your pantry for about a year. Similar to farro, quinoa is also a great source of fiber and protein. Additionally, it contains all nine essential amino acids, and is naturally gluten-free. You can find a way to work quinoa into just about anything, but it really shines when it serves as the base for a hearty grain bowl or side dish. This Skillet Quinoa With Olives and Crispy Tofu recipe is a plant-based meal that uses Moroccan spices to create plenty of flavor.
Lentils and other legumes, like beans and split peas, are basically pantry staples, and can stay fresh in the pantry for approximately three years. They provide a hefty amount of fiber and satiating protein, and are also a great source of B vitamins, which help make sure that the body’s cells function properly. As you likely know already, lentils work great in a soup (like this Winter Lentil Soup) but also shine in a curry or a hearty dip.
Though shopping for olive oil can be a daunting task, it deserves a spot in your pantry for many reasons. Aside from its impressive versatility in the kitchen, which spans from roasted vegetables to cakes, olive oil is a great source of monounsaturated fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation. It also provides an impressive amount of vitamins E and K, and if you store your olive oil in a cool, dark place, such as a pantry, it will last for several months.
This bright spice had its moment a few years ago (who remembers turmeric lattes and turmeric tea?) and remains as healthy as ever. It’s an excellent source of antioxidants, and also helps fight inflammation. Turmeric may also help reduce the symptoms of arthritis, prevent Alzheimer’s and cancer, and alleviate intestinal issues such as digestion and heartburn. Whether you store this in your pantry or on your spice rack, it will stay fresh for several years. Use it in an aptly named Mango-Turmeric Smoothie or toss a tablespoon in the next time you make curry.
Seaweed may not be for everyone, but if you like it, consider purchasing some nori—a type of dry, edible seaweed that’s typically used in sushi—to keep in the pantry. It will stay fresh for about three years, and is loaded with vitamin K, folate, iodine and fiber. If making sushi at home sounds like too tricky a task, try making your own miso soup instead.