The well-stocked fridge and pantry – wholefood, plant-based style

So many clients have asked me for a primer on how to stock the kitchen so that they can prepare wholefood, plant-based recipes in a jiffy, that I decided to write a post about it – that way everyone can benefit!

Here are the foods I make sure I have in the pantry, freezer and fridge at all times:


  • Onions – brown for cooking, and Spanish (red) for salads
  • Fresh garlic
  • Potatoes – both ‘regular’ white potatoes and sweet potatoes
  • Several varieties of dry legumes e.g. chick peas, pinto beans, black beans, lentils – good fruit and veg shops have these in money-saving 1 kg packs; my household goes through so many legumes that I buy them in 5 kg bags from Honest to Goodness
  • A few cans of legumes for ’emergencies’ i.e. when I’ve run out of home-cooked ones, which I cook in bulk and freeze until required
  • Organic canned diced tomatoes – no added salt, in BPA-free cans
  • Organic passata (tomato purée) – no added salt
  • Tomato paste – no added salt
  • Rice – red, black and brown varieties
  • Quinoa
  • Rolled oats (traditional, not quick oats)
  • Steel-cut oats
  • Polenta
  • Freekeh (green wheat)
  • Legume pasta (Explore Asian brand – it’s gluten free and highly nutritious)
  • Nutritional yeast – for adding a ‘cheesy’ flavour to meals and sauces
  • Nori sheets and other varieties of seaweed including wakame, arame and dulse
  • Dried fruit including dates to replace sugar in baking, goji berries, dried apricots and figs, along with sun-dried tomatoes (loose ones, not packed in oil) which I use almost daily to add flavour and texture to soups, casseroles and stews
  • Cacao (raw chocolate) and carob powder
  • Several varieties of vinegar including balsamic, white balsamic, raspberry wine, pomegranate balsamic, and apple cider
  • A wide range of dried herbs and spices including oregano, basil, thyme, dill, turmeric, cumin, coriander, paprika, cinnamon, cardamom, sumac, saffron, dehydrated onion flakes and garlic powder, plus vanilla


  • Peas
  • Chopped spinach (I buy the cubes, which defrost quickly)
  • Berries
  • Mango
  • Cooked legumes, drained and packed into storage containers or zip-lock bags



  • Ready-made plant milks e.g. oat, whole-bean soy and almond
  • Fresh ginger
  • Wholemeal spelt flour for baking
  • Several varieties of nuts (e.g. Brazils, almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans) and seeds (e.g. pepitas, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, linseed/flaxseed, hemp, chia)
  • Tahini
  • Nut butters – peanut, ABC (almond-Brazil-cashew), macadamia or whatever variety I’ve made in my Thermomix
  • Wholegrain mustard – low-sodium
  • And of course, a wide variety of seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables, which form the centre-piece of every meal in our household, and fresh herbs.


In addition, here are some gadgets and accessories that I would find it very hard to live without:

  • All-in-one kitchen machine – I have a Thermomix which cooks, steams, chops, kneads, blends and purées; if the Thermomix is outside your budget, take a look at some of its lower-priced competitors such as the ThermoChef or Maxika SuperChef
  • If you don’t have an all-in one kitchen machine, you’ll need a high-powered blender (e.g. Vitamix, NutriBullet, Blendtec) and a food processor
  • Multi-cooker – my Phillips multi-cooker is a pressure cooker (great for cooking legumes in just a fraction of the time that they would take on the stove), slow cooker and rice cooker, with a sauté function for browning onions before you add other ingredients, and even has a 40°C setting which is perfect for making plant milk yogurt (I use Bonsoy and a non-dairy culture which I buy from Green Living Australia)
  • High-quality PTFE- and PFOA-free non-stick saucepans, frying pans and bake-ware e.g. Neoflam, Green Pan, Pyrex, silicone bake-ware
  • Non-stick baking paper and baking cups – these allow me to cook delicious sweet potato ‘chips’ in the oven, without oil, and save me from the hassle of greasing and flouring cake and muffin tins
  • Vegetable dicer/slicer
  • Herb scissors – this clever gadget has 5 separate blades, all closely spaced, allowing me to finely chop fresh herbs in no time flat
  • And of course, good quality knives from a paring knife to full-sized chef’s knives, and kitchen scissors.


What about you? What healthy staple would you absolutely not be without? Post a comment and share your must-haves!

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Leave your comments below:


  • Deb Morgan

    Reply Reply July 8, 2010

    I also like to have long life soy or rice milk, pasta, rice or corn thins, unhulled tahini, and nut butters (although you probably make your own).

    • robynchuter

      Reply Reply July 8, 2010

      Good point Deb. I make my own rice milk, peanut butter, ABC (almond, Brazil and cashew) and macadamia spread in my Thermomix. Yesterday I made a delicious almond and dried apricot spread. Yum!

      • Deb Morgan

        Reply Reply July 8, 2010

        How do you make your own rice milk?????

  • robynchuter

    Reply Reply July 8, 2010

    Here’s how I make it in my Thermomix: I think you could grind the rice and seeds/nuts in a coffee grinder or nut mill instead, then mix with water and cook on low heat,stirring constantly. I haven’t tried it this way so won’t vouch for the results! But it’s absolutely superb when made in the Thermomix and couldn’t be easier.

  • Louise Blake

    Reply Reply July 13, 2010

    Thanks for this one, Robyn! Now I am on a quest to find out what some of these things are, get them in my pantry & then actually eat them!

    I would also add dried fruit, which I have with my morning porridge, made with water & rice milk.

    By the way, my kids are getting used to a variety of beans now….who would have thought??

  • robynchuter

    Reply Reply July 14, 2010

    Yes, I’m so glad you mentioned them. I always have sultanas, dates, dried figs and apricots.They make great sweet treats instead of processed, sugary rubbish!

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