Stocking your kitchen with a few essential basics makes cooking and baking wholesome meals easy. Of course, kitchen staples vary from culture to culture and family to family—that’s what makes food so fascinating. But we feel this list of affordable and long-lasting staples covers a lot of bases.

Pulses and beans (chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, and lentils)
It’s always good to have these healthy high-protein/high-fibre superstars on hand to supplement soups, stews, rice bowls and chilis.

Canned Fish (tuna, salmon, sardines)
From pasta dishes to tuna melts, one can make magic with tinned fish.

Dried Pasta
Dried pasta is a classic staple that’s easy to store and makes for an instant, hearty meal.

Canned Tomatoes
Pasta sauce, chilli, stews, casseroles—the list goes on. Diced, pureed, and whole canned tomatoes are excellent meal builders.

Oats
Perfect for a rib-sticking breakfast, great in meatloaf and amazing in cookies—oats are affordable and awesome.

Brown Rice
Rice pudding for breakfast, tomato rice soup for lunch, stir-fry for dinner—brown rice is your friend.

Onions
This rudimentary flavour-builder is THE essential ingredient for pretty much every savoury meal you make. Also, caramelized onions on a pizza? Divine.

Fresh Eggs
Boiled, fried, poached, baked—eggs are a meal unto themselves and the cornerstone of cakes, custards and cookies.

Bananas
Portable and chock-full of potassium and other wonderful things, bananas are great for a quick snack, smoothie making and of course, warm buttered banana bread.

Herbs & Spices
Sea salt, pepper, chilli powder, cinnamon, five-spice, oregano—the list goes on. Creative seasoning goes a long way to turning these other staples into something delicious.