Grains and legumes are a major source of nutritious plant-based protein so I have a wide array of options always on hand. From salads and grain bowls to soups and veggie-bean burgers, I’ve narrowed down the list to include the essentials needed for most of favorite recipes, while also allowing for flexibility, variety and easy improvisation.
While the grain list is pretty straight-forward, the bean/legume list is slightly more complex. That’s because there are benefits to both cooked/canned beans (convenience!) and dry beans/legumes (economical, space-saving, low-waste). So I just keep both dry & canned stocked, of each variety. The exception? Lentils take almost no time to cook so I don’t often have cans of lentils on hand.
Lean Pantry: Dry Grains & Legumes
Garbanzo Beans (chickpeas)
Lentils (green or brown)
Brown Rice: my favorite is brown long grain or basmati rice but any rice variety works.
Farro: farro is a quick cooking, chewy and heart grain. Barley is a good substitute although it is a slow cooking grain (40 min cook time versus 10).
Pasta/Noodles: I always have a large container of dry whole wheat penne in the pantry, but other than that it varies. I personally like to stock orzo, linguini, rice noodles (pad thai noodles), plus one to two miscellaneous extras like elbows, shells or lasagna.
Beans: I like to have both dry and canned beans in the pantry. There’s a time and a place for both.
White Beans: really any white bean variety works – cannellini and great northern are my standards.