Natasha’s Lab Essentials


You’re on your way home from work, the gym, or picking up the kids from school and you realize that you have nothing to prepare for dinner. Or for breakfast the next day. Let’s not even talk about the children’s meals! The last thing you want to do is go to the grocery store.  It’s important to always have some good basics in the kitchen so you’re in a position to make something quickly that’s also healthy.

“If you keep good food in your fridge, you will eat good food”  Erick McAdams

So here are my “Lab” Essentials. Not my kitchen essentials, not my pantry essentials, these are my LAB essentials. My kitchen is my lab; it’s where I experiment, create, analyze, and produce my results. This list gives me the comforting in knowing I can prepare something quickly when I didn’t plan a meal.

Here are my top items:

    1. Vegetable Stock – the basis of soup or cooking grains.
    2. Pasta and Grains – this makes up a big part of the vegetarian diet so I always keep whole grain pasta, brown rice, flat bread.
    3. Vegetables – of course this is an essential but at a minimum, I keep spinach and broccoli on hand at all times for a side dish, toss in pasta, or to add to a flat bread pizza.
    4. Dried or canned beans – for side dishes, soups or to toss in a salad it’s great to keep a variety. My go to beans are chick peas and lentils. Dried beans are preferred but if you get canned beans, be mindful of the sodium.
    5. Jarred goods – fresh is always best but San Marzano tomatoes and Artichokes are great additions to making sure you have something on hand for an easy pasta.  My favorite brand of marinara sauce is Rao’s.
    6. Fruit – If I was stranded on a deserted island, I pray that I have avocados and berries (blueberry, blackberry and raspberry). I eat them every day.
    7. Spices – a wide variety is essential to any meal so I’ve always had a well-stocked spice list. My favs are onion powder, garlic powder, kosher salt, curry, basil, oregano, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, thyme. BUT I have two shelves and a spice holder full that I pull from and replace regularly.
    8. Oil and Sauces – Balsamic Vinegar, Bragg’s Aminos, Hoisin, Sriracha, Oyster Sauce, Rice Wine, Sesame Oil, Olive Oil.

Buy Organic as often as possible – less processed food is best.

Let the magic begin!

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  1. Sylvia Belton says

    Hi Natasha. I like your website. I keep most of the things that you listed in my pantry and fridge. The only thing I have not been able to bring myself to use is brown rice and brown pasta. I am still using white I know the brown grains are the best for your health but I find the taste not to my liking . I look forward to reading your future receipes Sylvia

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