Whenever you are starting a new way of eating, the first thing you should do is get your pantry stocked with the essentials.
This will ensure that you are set up for success and will be able to easily stick with it. There is nothing worse than feeling like you have to get out to the market every time you try a new recipe to get the ingredients just for that dish. If your pantry is stocked with the basic ingredients, whether they be canned, dried or spices, you will not only make your life easier, but your cooking will improve dramatically.
One thing that separates the Mediterranean diet from other ways of eating is the quality of the ingredients. Many of these recipes are very simple and require a handful of items. Cooks around the Mediterranean rely on the quality of the ingredients rather than a complicated preparation of them. So each item has to be superior or your dishes will fall flat and you will wonder what the big fuss is about when people talk about how delicious Mediterranean cuisine is. So, make sure you seek out the best ingredients. And I don’t necessarily mean the most expensive. You might spend the same exact amount for 2 different types of canned tomatoes, but if you get San Marzano instead of some generic tomato, for instance, you are going to see a big difference in taste.
This is a theme that I will be beating to death over the life of this blog. So, get used to it! Seriously, though, if you want to take your cooking to another level without doing any extra work then you will be thankful that you were a little more mindful of the ingredients. I will, of course, help you out with recommendations whenever I can.
One word about the pasta section, though. There are hundreds of types of pasta, so, really get whatever kind you like. The ones I listed are pretty good to get you started and ones that we eat quite a bit in my house. Don’t feel tied down to just these!
DRIED BEANS AND GRAINS
lentils (I prefer red but there are many different kinds out there)
rice (arborio for risotto and Goya medium grain for pilaf)
CANNED AND JARRED GOODS
whole peeled tomatoes
tuna in olive oil
anchovies in oil
tomato paste (I prefer the tube)
artichoke hearts in oil
DRIED HERBS, SPICES AND SEASONINGS
ras al hanout (Moroccan spice blend)
herbs de provence (French spice blend)
farfalle (bow tie)
SEEDS AND NUTS
OILS AND VINEGARS
extra virgin olive oil
balsamic vinegar (Plus another bottle to reduce to a syrup)
apple cider vinegar
red wine vinegar