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  • Writer's pictureVicki Rodi

The Top 10 Budget-Friendly Staples Every Cook Should Have in Their Pantry

Are you a budget-conscious cook looking to create delicious meals without breaking the bank? Look no further! In this blog post, we'll explore the top 10 essential pantry staples that every cook should have. These budget-friendly ingredients will not only save you money but also inspire you to whip up mouthwatering dishes. And if you're hungry for more budget-friendly recipes and tips, check out "The Hangry Chef," a must-have cookbook for new and experienced cooks alike. "The Hangry Chef".

  1. Rice: A versatile and affordable staple, rice can serve as the foundation for countless dishes, from stir-fries to rice bowls and risottos. Stock up on different varieties like long-grain, basmati, or brown rice to add variety to your meals.

  2. Beans: Beans, such as black beans, chickpeas, and lentils, are protein-packed and economical. They can be used in soups, stews, salads, and even as the base for vegetarian burgers.

  3. Pasta: A pantry essential that offers endless possibilities, pasta is not only cost-effective but also quick to cook. Experiment with different shapes and pair them with a variety of sauces and ingredients for satisfying meals.

  4. Canned Tomatoes: Whether diced, crushed, or in sauce form, canned tomatoes are a pantry superhero. Use them as a base for pasta sauces, chili, or soups, and enjoy the rich flavors they bring to your dishes.

  5. Oats: Apart from being a nutritious breakfast option, oats can be used in baking, granola bars, and even savory recipes like veggie burgers or meatloaf. They are affordable, filling, and incredibly versatile.

  6. Eggs: A protein powerhouse, eggs are an economical ingredient that can be used in a multitude of recipes. Whip up omelets, frittatas, or use them in baking to add moisture and richness to your dishes.

  7. Onions: Onions are a flavor staple in many cuisines and can enhance the taste of any dish. They are affordable, versatile, and add depth to soups, stir-fries, sauces, and more.

  8. Canned Tuna: For a budget-friendly source of protein, canned tuna is a fantastic option. Create tuna salads, sandwiches, or incorporate it into pasta dishes for a quick and satisfying meal.

  9. Potatoes: This humble vegetable is a budget-friendly superstar. Roast them, mash them, or turn them into comforting soups and stews. Potatoes are filling, nutritious, and perfect for stretching your food budget.

  10. Spices and Herbs: Building a collection of spices and herbs is an investment in flavor. Start with essential spices like salt, pepper, cumin, and paprika, and gradually expand your collection to include herbs like basil, oregano, and thyme. They will elevate your dishes without breaking the bank.


With these top 10 budget-friendly staples in your pantry, you'll have the foundation for countless delicious meals while keeping your expenses in check. Don't forget to explore more budget-friendly recipes, tips, and tricks in "The Hangry Chef," a cookbook designed to inspire and empower cooks on a budget.

"The Hangry Chef". Embrace your inner chef and let your creativity shine in the kitchen without worrying about your wallet!

Recipe: One-Pot Tomato Basil Pasta with Chickpeas


  • 8 ounces pasta (any variety)

  • 1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes

  • 1 can (14 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed

  • 1 onion, thinly sliced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon dried basil

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Grated Parmesan cheese (optional, for garnish)

  • Fresh basil leaves (optional, for garnish)


  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add sliced onions and minced garlic, and sauté until onions are translucent and fragrant.

  2. Add the canned tomatoes (including the juice), chickpeas, dried basil, salt, and pepper to the pot. Stir well to combine.

  3. Add the pasta to the pot and pour enough water to cover the pasta completely. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

  4. Once the pasta is cooked and the sauce has thickened, remove the pot from the heat. If desired, garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves.

  5. Serve the one-pot pasta immediately, and enjoy your quick and budget-friendly dinner!

This recipe is a simple and flavorful way to utilize the budget-friendly staples mentioned earlier. It combines the versatility of pasta, the heartiness of chickpeas, and the richness of canned tomatoes to create a satisfying meal. Feel free to customize the recipe by adding your favorite herbs, spices, or vegetables to make it your own. Enjoy!

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