Capsule Kitchen Shopping List

I rely on a small list of my favorite pantry staples and a few fresh, versatile, ingredients.  Having less to manage helps me avoid waste, and save money while still having something for dinner.  

Below is a list of the items that make up my capsule kitchen.  If I have these things on-hand I can make an infinite number of quick, delicious Improv meals. A shopping list is like a wardrobe, you have to find what works for you so if this isn't totally your style - steal what works and change it up!   

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Fresh Items    

(every week)


3 vegetables to cook 

1 type of greens that can be eaten cooked or raw (spinach, kale, chard, arugula)

2-3 other items that add flavor (garlic, ginger, basil, cilantro, parsley, onions, shallots, scallions, other fresh herbs)

Lemon or lime


2 Fresh High-Quality Proteins (Meat, Poultry, Fish, Tofu)

Snacks, Lunch, Breakfast

(most weeks)


Apples, Avocados, Bananas, Carrots, Celery, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Salad Greens, Seasonal Fruit


Bread, Tortillas, Crackers, Rice Cakes, Granola, Popcorn, Dark Chocolate


Eggs, Cheese, Almond Milk/Milk, Yogurt, Hummus

One cooked protein for lunches (sliced turkey, roast beef, chicken, rotisserie chicken)


(as needed)


Oils: Olive Oil, Sesame Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Coconut Oil, Avocado Oil

Vinegars: White/Red Wine, Sherry, Champagne Rice Wine

Seasonings: Kosher Salt, Sea Salt Black Pepper

Broth/Stock: Chicken and/or Vegetable, Coconut Milk

Grains: At least two (Rice, Quinoa, Pasta, Barley) + Oats

Beans/Legumes (at least two, dried or canned)

Canned tomatoes: diced/crushed and/or sauce

Dried herbs/spices (my most-used are: oregano, thyme, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, crushed red pepper)

Sauces: tamari soy sauce, miso, mirin, salsa, Sriracha, dijon mustard, ketchup

Sweeteners: honey, maple syrup

Nuts and Seeds (at least two types) + peanut butter/almond butter

Beverages: coffee/tea/wine


Long-life fridge items: butter, olives

Frozen vegetables, fruits (at least two vegetables)