Kitchen Cupboard Essentials List

Written by Sophie

My friend recently moved house and asked for a list of what our essentials would be to stock up her new kitchen cupboards so we started thinking about the things that we use the most, and those that are most versatile and also have nutritional benefits (so don’t think you’ll find biscuits on here!)

I then moved recently and tested this list out for myself so can vouch for the fact that we have a well stocked cupboard with many meal options before we even start on the fridge!

I’ve written a list with the benefits/uses along side as well as a list below that just has the actual foods so that you can easily copy/paste/print and take with you.

Squirrel Sister’s Store Cupboard essentials


  • Olive Oil (perfect in dressings and sauces)
  • Coconut Oil (great for general cooking as well as baking)

Spices – these are the choices that we use the most

  • Paprika (you can use this on it’s own on chicken, fish or other meats, as well as being able to add it to soups, stirfries and even fajjitas!)
  • Cayenne Pepper (SO good for you with it’s heat speeding up your metabolism and anti-inflammatory properties. It gives dishes a bit of an extra kick, without being overpowering as chilli can sometimes be)
  • Cumin (used in middle-eastern, Indian and Asian cuisine – great on it’s own in a veggie soup)
  • Ground Coriander (similar uses to cumin)
  • Cinnamon (Great for stabilizing blood sugar so keeps sugar cravings at bay and helps regulate fullness and energy dips diring the day. Can add it to porridge, sprinkle it on an apple as a snack, or add it to a smoothie. It is also used in a lot of indian and middle-eastern savoury dishes)
  • Himalayan Salt (the only salt that’s good for you – it’s full of brilliant benefits!)
  • Black Pepper (I don’t think I need to explain this one)
  • Chilli Flakes (if you like a bit of spice it is so easy to add this to anything whether it’s a soup, salad or part of a recipe)

Vegetables and pulses

  • Tinned tomatoes (a fantastic base for sauces, casseroles and soups, whether you eat meat or are vegetarian)
  • Tomato paste (adds a bit more of an intense flavor than just the tinned tomatoes, but can also use it in drier dishes like stirfries or on a pizza!)
  • Chickpeas (great to make your own hummus with, great to bulk out casseroles and soups as well to keep you fuller for longer. And the basis for our favourite…falafals! A great vegetarian/vegan source of protein too)
  • Kidney beans (again great to add to other dishes to add a bit more goodness and bulk it out)
  • Lentils (you can have lentils as a side dish mixed in with other bits, add to veggie burgers to give them a bit more substance and also blend into a soup to make thicker. They are also great as a meat substitute in a mince or stirfry.)

Vinegars and sauces

  • Balsamic Vinegar (lovely flavour that can be reduced to a marinade, or just used in a salad dressing! It is important to get higher quality balsamic as otherwise it is just full of sugar and stabilisers)
  • Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (very alkalizing, can be taken as a tonic when you’ve overdone it, or can add it to dressings and sauces if you don’t want it on it’s own. This one does need to be organic)
  • Tamari sauce (it’s a gluten-free, less processed version of soya sauce and tastes exactly the same!)
  • Tahini (really useful to make hummus, add to sauces and dressings, and can even use it as a spread if you like the flavor)
  • Nut butter (you can bake with it or just have it on toast or a cracker. Make sure it’s without added sugar and if possible without added salt)
  • Coconut milk (not a sauce, but useful to make a sauce or even add to a stirfry!)


  • Porridge Oats (a great staple for a healthy breakfast, full of vitamin B and fibre. If you don’t like it as porridge you can make muesli or blend it in a smoothie…or even make our pancake recipe on the blog)
  • Brown Rice (great post-workout carb, full of vitamin B and fibre)
  • Brown rice pasta/noodles (full of the benefits of brown rice, gluten free but feels like you’re having proper pasta/noodles! We tend to buy the Dove’s Farm pasta and love it with pesto and roast veg)


  • English breakfast (because when in doubt, everyone needs a cup of tea and sometimes only English Breakfast will do)
  • Green Tea (full of anti-oxidants, gives you a caffeine fix and if you drink it in high quantities, it has been said to burn additional calories!)
  • Peppermint (great for your digestion, very comforting and perfect after dinner to relax and help curb sweet cravings if you’re trying to resist)

Baking essentials

  • Ground Almonds (these are brilliant in cakes, gluten-free brownies and pancakes, full of protein and good fats, keeping you fuller for longer than your average flour!)
  • Buckwheat or Brown Rice flour (a great alternative to wheat flour….lower in carb count and higher in nutrients!)
  • Baking powder (useful in cakes to make them rise)
  • Baking soda (purer form of Baking powder again used in cakes to make them rise)
  • Sultanas (sweet addition for baking, adding to cereals/muesli’s or just having with some yoghurt)
  • Coconut Sugar (great substitute for sugar)
  • Maple Syrup (an even purer and vegan substitute for sugar, also great on pancakes, in porridge too!)

Fresh stuff – this is really up to you, but these are choices that we regularly use and are pretty versatile as well so you can add to a lot of different dishes!


  • Lemons (great flavour enhancer for savoury or sweet dishes, and perfect in hot or cold water to give some flavour)
  • Onions (great flavour enhancer in stews, soups, stir fries…)
  • Garlic (another great flavour enhancer
  • Carrots (easy snack vegetable that you can have raw, or add to dishes or roast!)
  • Celery (great for stocks and soups….also as a crudite for dips if you find it hard to resist crisps!)
  • Mushrooms (a great substitute for meat due to it’s satisfying texture)
  • Spinach (great in smoothies, curries, as a salad base or just sautéed with some poached eggs – so good for you!)
  • Sweet Potatoes (great on their own as mash, wedges or roasted….or as a base for falafel, in a dip or even brownies!)
  • Courgette (if you like courgetti)
  • Cauliflower (really useful as a carb substitute if you want rice or mash and can also add into any stew/curry)


  • Apples (lower in sugar than a lot of fruits, refreshing and full of vitamins)
  • Bananas (full of magnesium and potassium which are great for hangovers, or before/after sport)
  • Berries (superfoods, full of antioxidants, low in sugar and delicious!)


  • Yoghurt (with fruit as breakfast or a snack, can also make dips with it and also add it to meals if you want your dish a bit creamier…without actual cream)
  • Eggs (great breakfast staple that fills you up for the day)
  • Parmesan (great as a garnish on pasta dishes, risotto, or even a salad)
  • Almond Milk (tea, coffee, porridge….we use almond milk just because we prefer it really!)

List without annotations…copy and paste (and add/remove as you like!)

  • Olive Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Cumin
  • Ground Coriander
  • Cinnamon
  • Himalayan Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Chilli Flakes
  • Tinned tomatoes
  • Tomato paste
  • Chickpeas
  • Kidney beans
  • Lentils
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Tamari sauce
  • Tahini
  • Nut butter
  • Coconut milk
  • Porridge Oats
  • Brown Rice
  • Brown rice pasta/noodles
  • English breakfast
  • Green Tea
  • Peppermint
  • Ground Almonds
  • Buckwheat or Brown Rice flour
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Sultanas
  • Coconut Sugar
  • Maple Syrup
  • Lemons
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Courgette
  • Cauliflower
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Berries
  • Yoghurt
  • Eggs
  • Parmesan
  • Almond Milk
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