The 2 Pantry Staples Alex Guarnaschelli Can't Go Without

When stocking your pantry, a lot of the items you purchase are going to be a matter of personal preference. However, if you want to be the most effective at-home chef, you're going to need to stock up on certain products — a lot of dishes are built upon a base of similar ingredients, so you definitely want to have some particular staples on hand.

The New York Times provides us with a list of what they deem to be pantry essentials. This includes a selection of oils, like olive oil and vegetable oil, and spices including kosher salt, garlic powder, and dried herbs. They also suggest that you have mayonnaise, mustard, and other condiments. Perhaps most importantly, the New York Times recommends that you keep carbohydrates, like rice, pasta, and canned beans on hand. Chef Nancy Silverton's pantry essentials mirror those suggested by The New York Times. She feels that mayonnaise and canned beans are important ingredients for you to keep stocked. For Alex Guarnaschelli, two canned items are an absolute must-have.

Canned beans are always in Alex Guarnaschelli's pantry

Per Food & Wine, we learn that celebrity chef Alex Guarnaschelli always has canned chickpeas and white beans on hand, explaining that they make an excellent addition to salads. She goes on to say that adding these beans to your soup is a good way to thicken it up without adding any flour. You simply need to, "Puree the beans and whisk in the puree to thicken in a pinch."

According to Southern Living, beans can add starch to your soup, which will give it a thicker texture. Between 4% and 5% of a cooked bean's total weight is resistant starch, per Harvard School of Public Health. This is considerably more than other starchy staples like bread or potatoes. Additionally, beans are gluten-free, which is yet another reason to use them in your soup as opposed to flour (via Beyond Celiac).

Chickpeas and white beans

While there have likely been several cans of beans that have been sitting in your pantry for eons, you can make all sorts of delicious dishes using them, like white bean salad or hummus. Of course, Alex Guarnaschelli doesn't just keep her canned chickpeas and white beans in storage. She has several recipes that call for these legumes.

One recipe published by Food Network is a chopped iceberg salad with buttermilk dressing that's topped with crispy chickpeas. To make the crunchy topper, she recommends frying the chickpeas in canola oil, using a slotted spoon to keep them contained during the frying process. Another one of Guarnaschelli's bean recipes is the spicy chickpea dip, which involves cooking a can of chickpeas with a slew of seasonings and processing the mixture into a hummus-like spread. In an interview with Insider, Guarnaschelli expresses her affection for vegetable steaks, a halved cabbage roasted in the oven, which she likes to top with white beans for a little protein boost. Yum.