Small Pantry Stock Up List For Isolation: with Guest Tina Lau


If you have followed along for awhile then you have probably heard of my friend Tina Lau (Skinner). We met in the head office of a restaurant group over a shared love of flowers, wedding planning, food, clothes, Robyn… really I’m not even sure I remember anymore all the things that connected us but we’ve been through a lot together; even having a short-lived handmade business. In these isolation times due to COVID-19, dinners with Tina and her crew are at the top of the list of things I am missing. And when I started to worry about food, whether we have enough, how to make it last and creative uses of our pantry foods, I turned to Tina. She (and her husband Andrew) are incredible cooks but beyond that I am always impressed with the way they never waste ingredients. Tina is also the operations manager at local gem Flourist where she contributes recipes regularly. The Flourist site is a wealth of information for recipes and sustainably sourced flours, grains, beans and legumes (and they ship!).

I asked Tina to put together her pantry staples especially in these times when we want to avoid going to the grocery store as much as possible. Also please don’t stress if you don’t have these items. Hopefully you can order some online or pick them up at your next trip to the store. I hope this is helpful.

From Tina:

Here are some important ingredients and staples to have on hand in your pantry, which includes the refrigerator, freezer and cupboard. These ingredients keep well, are versatile and are intended for you to be able to make an entire meal out of, save for a couple of fresh ingredients. 

Consider this list as a proposal and adjust to your families’ cooking and eating style. Focus on ingredients that you’re confident using and what your family regularly enjoys eating and build from there, no need to stock up with items that you don’t normally eat. 

Grain Salad

Grain Salad

The varieties are in parenthesis, you're not meant to have them all. 

Legumes (canned or dried)

Black beans, navy beans, chickpeas, French lentils, red lentils, green lentils

Grains and Starches

Rice (jasmine, brown, basmati etc), oats (rolled, steel cut etc), whole grains (millet, quinoa, farro etc), pasta (one long and one shaped for variety), noodles (soba, rice, wheat)

Nuts, Seeds and Butter/Spreads

Nuts (almonds, peanuts, cashews etc), seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, black and white sesame, chia), nut butters (peanut, almond butter), tahini

Oils, Vinegars and Condiments

Olive oil, soy sauce, vinegar (apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar etc), mustard (yellow, dijon), miso paste


Eggs, butter, cheeses (cheddar, parmesan etc)


Salt, black peppercorn, red pepper flakes and spices you normally use


Garlic, onion, ginger

Cans, Jars and Packaged

Canned whole tomatoes, coconut milk, tinned fish in olive oil, chicken or vegetable stock or bouillon cube, firm tofu, curry paste


Frozen vegetables (peas, squash, spinach, green beans, cauliflower) and fruit (berries, mango), meat (ground beef, pork, chicken thighs, sausages etc), dumplings


Maple syrup, honey, sugar

Baking Supplies

Flour, baking soda, baking powder, brown sugar, baking chocolate, cocoa powder, active dry yeast

Preserves and Pickles

Jam, pickles, sauerkraut, capers

Tea and coffee

Hummus, Baba Ganoush, Tabouli with Bulgur, Roasted Peppers

Hummus, Baba Ganoush, Tabouli with Bulgur, Roasted Peppers

Here are 4 of my go-to recipes for Pantry Staples:

Julia Turshen's Curried Lentils with Coconut Milk (ed. note: this is a monthly recipe in our house too!)

My New Roots Best Lentil Salad

Flourist Black Bean Tacos

Flourist Lentil Bolognese

Thank you Tina!!! You’re the best! You can find Tina (Here) where she also has some great food shared in her highlights.

⁣I hope to have a follow up post from Tina about successfully freezing and storing foods as I think these tips will be increasingly helpful. Hope this pivot on the blog is helpful and I am thinking of all the small space families out there getting creative to stay home and keep as many people safe as possible. I am also working on some posts about how our space is surviving with us at home so much. Hope you are all staying safe and at home. xx

Famous food prep station by Tina

Famous food prep station by Tina