Five Non-Perishable Ingredients That Are Instant Flavor Boosters
Flavorful? Check. Non-perishable? Check. Delicious? Check.
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, it can be hard to find pantry staples like flour, eggs, sugar, chicken, and frozen vegetables. And even if you did manage to stock up, they may seem dull or uninspired after you've been cooking all your meals at home for weeks (or is it months now?) with the same lineup of ingredients. Next time you go to the grocery store, consider buying these flavor-boosting staples that your local market likely still has in stock. They're super flavorful, nutritious, and, most importantly, non-perishable.
A little rich and a little acidic, sun-dried tomatoes make just as delicious of a snack as they do a colorful ingredient. Sure, they were more popular in the late 20th century than they are today, but we're calling for a comeback right here, right now. Whir them into pesto along with basil, nuts, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese for this Skillet Chicken with Sun-Dried Tomato and Chickpeas. Add them atop Chicken Parmesan beneath a layer of melted mozzarella cheese, chop them up and stir them into creamy pasta, or substitute them in place of fresh tomatoes in this decadent Baked Mac and Cheese recipe.
If you've never used tahini before, now's your chance. You'll likely find it either with the organic and natural foods in your grocery store or in the international foods aisle. Tahini is a sesame seed paste that has a similar consistency to smooth peanut butter and is best known for its powerhouse flavor in hummus. And while we're all for eating the popular chickpea-based dip, there are so many other delicious ways to use this shelf-stable ingredient. Use it in place of peanut butter for this easy Tahini, Banana, and Maple-Syrup Toast, whip it into Beet-and-Tahini Dip, or combine it with lemon juice, water, and garlic and drizzle over our Rice-and-Bean Salad Bowl.
Whether you choose white, red, or tricolor, quinoa is a multi-tasking superfood that is packed with protein and iron. Use our master recipe to learn how to cook quinoa, then turn it into the base of this Mediterranean-inspired Greek Quinoa Salad, our Quinoa Bowl with Tahini Dressing, or incorporate it into this hearty and comforting Black-Bean and Sweet-Potato Stew.
Quinoa has sweet applications, too. Instead of the usual rolled oats, cook quinoa and mix it with coconut milk, maple syrup, and frozen raspberries (all of which are also fantastic non-perishable pantry staples) for this nourishing Coconut-Raspberry Breakfast Pudding.
Chipotles in Adobo
This spicy canned good is smoked, rehydrated jalapeño peppers in a mixture of tomato purée, vinegar, garlic, and spices. Chipotles in adobo are an excellent pantry staple to stock up on if you like some heat in your food and don't have access to fresh chiles right now. We add chipotles in adobo to Smoky Tofu Chili, which is made other non-perishable superstars like black beans and canned tomatoes. They are also added to the sweet-and-spicy sauce for Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Honey-Chipotle Glaze and used in the filling for our Ground Chicken Tacos.
Go beyond canned! From pinto to chickpeas to black beans, dried beans have a multitude of purposes during the nationwide quarantine—or pretty much anytime. Another bonus is that they're more economical than canned! Make a big batch of Garlicky Beans after soaking dried beans in water overnight. It's a delicious, flavorful side dish for grilled meat, a vegetarian main, or served as a starter with crusty bread. Or cook dry beans in the Instant Pot or pressure cooker using this basic recipe for Pressure-Cooker Black Beans. These two basic methods for cooking dried beans can also be used in any recipe where canned cooked beans are called for.