We’ve found eating Paleo has changed a lot about they way we cook, and one of the biggest things is the contents of our cupboards! Below is a list of Paleo staples we always have in our kitchens…
Spices. We can’t really tell you which ones as it depends on what you like to eat, but we couldn’t live without chilli, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, paprika and the obvious black pepper. Ground spices from the supermarket are absolutely fine, but if you buy whole ones to toast and grind yourself then the flavour will be better. If you find yourself often adding the same blend (e.g. to chilli) it might be worth making a big batch and storing in a jar to make things a bit quicker.
Herbs. A great way to add flavour quickly and easily. If you find a few that you use on a regular basis then it’s absolutely worth having a couple of plants, but otherwise it’s really easy to store these in the freezer. You can buy pre frozen ones in the supermarket (Waitrose have a great selection) or freeze your own: either just stick them straight in or have a go at this great idea: storing them in frozen oil blocks. Dried are better than nothing, but not great!
Oils/Fats. You’ll need something to cook with: standard olive oil (don’t use extra virgin for cooking), ghee (make your own!) or coconut oil are probably your best bets. Then something tasty for dressings – this is where you need a great extra virgin olive. We also then have nut and coconut oils which are great for baking or adding a bit of extra flavour.
Vinegar. For dressings, sauces and adding acidity to marinades. We generally have a balsamic and a wine or cider vinegar.
Nuts & Seeds. Again it’s up to you, but it’s good to have something on hand for snacking, baking and chucking over salads/soups for a bit of extra texture. Ground almonds are particularly useful and you’ll find we use them quite a lot in recipes.
Onions & Garlic. Included in 90% of everything we cook!
Coconut goodness! Milk, creamed, desiccated and flaked are all really useful and great paleo staples. Again you’ll find we use these a lot.
Vegetables. Again this is completely up to you, but it’s generally a good idea to always have something in the house to add to meals or snack on. A bag of frozen peas works well as a standby and is also useful if you break yourself at the gym.
Stock. Easy to make your own and a great way to add depth of flavour to just about anything savoury without any nasty additives. Check out our recipe list for a couple of options.
Tomatoes. Something that you can keep in the cupboard and pull out for a quick sauce any time you need it. Cans, cartons, jars and tubes of purée are all good options.
Fruit. Again the type and format depends on your personal preference, but lets face it, we all have moments where we need a bit of a sugar hit (if you don’t I am hugely jealous…). Frozen berries are a great option, as are dried fruits – although do be careful and read ingredient lists as there’s often a whole heap of sugar added in.
Snacks. We find it’s a good idea to have a few immediate (i.e. zero preparation required) food options ready to go for emergencies. Check out our recipe list for a few ideas of things to make, otherwise a few good options are: nut butters, nuts, veg (radishes are great as they can be eaten straight away), mini cans of tuna, fruit.
A meal you can have ready in under 10 minutes. Because otherwise you’ll find yourself tempted to pick up fish and chips on the way home when you’re late and tired! Have a few portions of stew, curry or chilli in the freezer ready to go. A can of tuna, sardines or mackerel fillets will also go a long way in an emergency – add them to mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes and you’ve got fishcakes!
Check out our Favourite Resources section for a list of places where you can buy the above ingredients.
Most of what you need is exactly the same as you always would. However we thought we should give you a list of what we use all the time, because it’s what we assume you’ll have when cooking most of our recipes…
A really amazing and fantastic non serrated sharp knife, and something to sharpen it with. This opens up a whole load of butchery opportunities and makes life a lot easier.
A good frying pan and a saucepan. Nothing too crazy! It’s also helpful to have something you can use on the hob and put into the oven. We both love our Le Creusets very much and whilst they are expensive, they are worth the investment if you are serious about cooking and will last you forever. You can sometimes pick up some great bargains on eBay for Le Creusets. I got my entire set of six saucepans for a total of £150, with delivery!
A blender or food processor of some sort. Even a cheap stick blender will take you a long way.
A whole heap of containers. I try and steer clear of plastic but it’s not easy or expensive, so I choose BPA-free where possible. IKEA now do some clip lock glass tupperwares in a variety of sizes so that’s a good start.
Boring standard things like a chopping board, vegetable peeler, roasting tray, wooden spoon, mixing bowl and sieve/colander.
And that’s pretty much it! I would sincerely recommend investing in good quality versions of the above before you worry about anything else.
Other useful, but by no means essential items are:
– Muffin trays, for mini omelettes and fishcakes.
– Spiraliser, for making spaghetti out of vegetables.
– Scales/measuring cups. You’ll find yourself using a lot of American recipes for paleo which use cups so it’ll be easier if you have them.
– Ovenproof dish. Nice to have but you can just use a roasting tray which is much more versatile.
– A radio or other music playing device. Because food tastes better when the chef is singing loudly to crappy 80s music.