This low sodium pantry items guide is full of salt free ingredients that are always on the menu! Having a well-stocked and organized pantry is the foundation to building simple, healthy, and nourishing low sodium meals. We rely daily on salt free ingredients of all kinds: rice, vegetables, pastas, flours, fruits, and some surprising items you would never guess were shelf-stable.
Knowing what you have on hand and being able to see what you have at a glance will help with meal planning, meal prep, and shopping. When you can: buy in bulk, and buy on sale. I get a lot of questions about what ingredients we personally use here at LowSoRecipes, so I’ve included links to the exact items that we keep in our cupboards.
Low Sodium Pantry Items for All Your Meals!
Keeping low sodium pantry staple ingredients on hand is great for any family meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert. I usually start my meal planning by picking a pantry staple (oats in the morning, beans for lunch, spaghetti dinner, etc.) and building the rest of my menu around that.
This guide has our staple low-so brands for all your meals. Whether you’re now to low sodium cooking, or are a seasoned pro, you’ll likely find some amazing new favorites below.
Breakfast & Baking Pantry Staples
I’m adding these in a section together as I tend to bake quite a bit for breakfast: pancakes and muffins are often in our weekly recipe rotation. In our house, breakfast and baking go hand-in-hand. You can build simple and health breakfasts using low sodium pantry staple ingredients as well as any fresh produce you have. Oatmeal, pancakes, muffins, breakfast bowls, and smoothies are fantastic ways to start the day!
Low Sodium Pancakes utilize salt free pantry staple ingredients for an amazingly delicious breakfast that the whole family will love!
Pantry Staple Breakfast Ingredients
- Oats: rolled oats, steel cut oats, and this amazing instant oatmeal (with only 30mg of sodium!) are all varieties we keep on hand. I especially love One Degree Organics oats and Instant Oatmeals, as they are the lowest sodium ones I can find and they taste SO good.
- Maple Syrup: we make our own from tapping our maple trees, but I’d recommend a Pure Maple Syrup from Vermont or Canada like this one here, none of that fake pancake syrup stuff.
- Grits: a favorite quick breakfast, great with a little salt and plant based butter.
Low Sodium Baking Ingredients
- No Sodium Baking Powder: Regular baking powder has a TON of sodium – really, check the labels! We love this low sodium version, for a healthier breakfast. And it still makes the fluffiest pancakes!
- All Purpose Flour: King Arthur brand is my go-to flour, I always have some on hand! I actually bought a giant 50lb bag in bulk (because hello carbs!) that I keep in an airtight container.
- Yeast: Active Dry yeast is a baking go-to!
- Chickpea Flour: a fantastic high protein and gluten free flour that can be used to make scrambles, omelets and muffins!
- Sugar: we go through a LOT of sugar, I use an organic cane sugar for most of our baking. The sugar isn’t only for us: we feed our bees sugar in the spring and fall to get them ready for the winter!
- Corn Starch: aside from flour, this is one of my most-used baking ingredients. I use it to make crispy potato wedges and perfect crispy baked tofu!
- Vanilla Extract: the real deal, not fake extract flavor
- Raw Cacao Powder
- Canned Coconut Milk: full fat, unsweetened
Pantry Staple Fruits
Jarred, canned, and dried fruits are a fantastic addition to your well-stocked pantry. While I normally prefer fresh fruit, there are some great vegan pantry staple ingredients for getting the nutrients from fruit that you need. I make smoothies with banana and papaya powders, and add canned and dried fruits in desserts and baking recipes.
A quick note on canned fruit: if you do buy canned fruit, aim for a no sugar added variety, or one that is packed in juice. Avoid canned fruit that is packed in heavy syrup… that way you can control the amount of added sugar you are bringing to the table.
- Canned Pineapple: I like Del Monte brand
- Cranberry Sauce
- Apple Sauce: I use apple sauce mostly in baking – its a great substitution for eggs in recipes!
- Canned Pears
- Banana Flour: OK this banana flour is a fantastic addition to any smoothie! Banana flour is just dried and crushed organic bananas, and I love adding a spoonful to my smoothies for flavor and extra nutrients when I don’t any fresh bananas on hand.
- Papaya Powder: I bought this papaya powder as its great for smoothies
- Dried Fruits: dried apple rings, dried apricots, and raisins always have a place on our shelves!
Low Salt Pantry Staple Proteins
This is one category I get super excited about. You can build a healthy protein-rich diet with a few classic pantry staples. There are more than just beans here! I love adding shelf-stable tofu to soups and stir fries. And TVP is the foundation for our weekly taco nights. You can even get some extra protein in with your breakfast, here are some great vegan pantry staple ingredients below.
- Tofu: Shelf-stable tofu is a total game changer! I love this MoriNu Extra Firm Silken Tofu. Its great in soups and curries… plus you can get a 12 pack for under $20, so its a great protein to stock up on!
- Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) is out go-to filling for tacos. Like tofu, its a very neutral protein and takes the flavor of any spice you cook it with. Great with a little chili powder and cumin. I even use TVP in shepherd’s pie and vegan Bolognese sauce. I always keep about 5-10 lbs in my pantry.
- Soy Curls
I am breaking out beans into their own protein category because there are so many amazing options! Beans are the building blocks of soups, stews, and taco nights for us. Super versatile, beans can be eaten for any meal of the day: in a breakfast burrito, in a wrap at lunch, or in a thick and hearty soup for dinner.
You can stock either canned or dried beans. I tend to focus on dried as I cook a weekly batch of beans up on my Instant Pot in under an hour. If you do get canned beans, make sure to get a low sodium variety.
Here are some legume varieties I always keep on hand:
- Black Beans: an awesome cost effective protein for your kitchen!
- Kidney Beans: I like both light red and dark red varieties
- Chickpeas: my favorites are a low sodium organic version
- Navy Beans: low sodium canned beans here, super great for salads too!
- Pinto Beans: also known as chili beans
- Red Lentils: These Bob’s Red Mill Heritage Lentils are a fantastic add-in to soups
- Brown Lentils: I always use this varieties for lentil soups
- Green French (Puy) Lentils: these lentils hold their shape when cooked, which makes them perfect for salads or soups and won’t get mushy.
- Black (Beluga) Lentils: I use these black “beluga” lentils in my double lentil soup, SO good!
- Split Peas: because what’s better than a homemade split pea soup?
Low Sodium Canned Tomatoes and Vegetables
Canned vegetables tend to get a bad wrap… but as you will see below, there are some fantastic options for shelf-stable vegetables. These yummy and nutritious additions to your pantry will brighten up your plate. While I tend to cook with a lot of fresh and frozen vegetables when they are available, my pantry is always stocked with the below vegan pantry staple ingredients!
- Diced Tomatoes: I like these boxed tomatoes best, because they don’t have any BPA and last as long as canned varieties!
- Crushed Tomatoes: same as above, boxed crushed tomatoes are my go-to tomato
- Tomato Paste: a no salt added variety like this is always best
- Pumpkin Puree: no joke, I am so obsessed with pumpkin I eat it year round. I found that buying these bulk cans are awesome for when I want to cook a few pies for the freezer.
Pantry Staple Salt Free Spices We Buy In Bulk!
OK my list of spices could probably be about 100 items long, so I’ll narrow it down to my top 10 most-used spices. We regularly use the basics: garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, cayenne, red pepper flakes, everything bagel seasoning, flavored salts, basil, thyme, oregano… the list goes on! Since we tend to cook low sodium dishes, spices are a fantastic way to make any recipe shine. Here are a few of our favorite spice blends below:
- Salt-Free Lemon Pepper Seasoning – this salt free lemon pepper seasoning is one of our favorite low sodium spices! It brings a ton of flavor from real lemon and pepper corns, and is SO good in this recipe.
- Herbes de Provence: this is my favorite and most used spiced blend! This is a wonderful savory French mix of aromatic herbs and spices. I use it in soups and for roasted vegetables.
- No Salt Steak Spice: Our favorite spice blend, probably the one we use most in our home! This Steak Spice is a blend of garlic, pepper, oregano, crushed pepper flakes, and a little dill for an amazing flavor. Great for potatoes, meat, vegetables, pretty much anything!
- Chili Powder
- Onion Powder
- Nutritional Yeast: Great for “cheesy” flavor, we put nutritional yeast on pasta, popcorn, and in sauces.
- Garlic Powder
- Mustard Powder: I like this classic Colman’s brand, excellent flavor
- Adobo Spice: a low sodium version like this one is great on fajitas and queso!
- Garam Masala: a classic spice for Indian curries and ayurvedic dinner recipes
- Low Sodium Bouillon: this no sodium version is perfect for when you need a quick soup broth but don’t have any on hand
- Tellicherry Pepper corns: the best flavor for freshly ground pepper!
Pantry Staple Grains and Rice
Rice and grains are the one area of the pantry where you can really buy in bulk! We normally buy rice in 20 lbs bags, and keep the rice in airtight containers for quick usage. Rice are great as a standalone meal (hello fried rice!), make a healthy and spicy side for Taco Tuesday, and go great with stews and curries. We use grains in the same way, I love adding quinoa or barley to a soup to thicken. Rice and grains can be nutrient-rich and healthy additions to any diet… plus are inexpensive vegan pantry staple ingredients that you can stock up on and buhy in bulk.
Pantry Staple Grains
- White Quinoa: a fantastic grain to buy in bulk – great for salads or soups.
- Red Quinoa: has a richer and more complex flavor than red quinoa, one of my absolute favorite salad grains!
- Cous Cous: I like this Israeli Cous Cous, it’s fantastic in soups!
- Farro: pearled farro is a great addition to bright and fresh summer salads
- Barley: this barley is delicious and great to throw a handful into any soup.
Pantry Staple Rice
- Jasmine Rice: we buy this rice in bulk as it is perfect for stir fries, Thai curries, and crispy tofu!
- Basmati Rice: another favorite brand of ours is Royal: so great with roasted veggies or indian dishes like saag aloo!
- Sushi Rice: for when you are on a roll
- Arborio Rice: great for risottos and thickening soups and stews
- Wild Rice: this pure wild rice is fantastic added to soups! I also like this wild rice blend to serve with roasted root vegetables and protein.
- Brown Rice: this medium grain brown rice is a great whole grain alternative to white rices
Pantry Staple Pastas
I love mixing and matching my pastas with different sauces and soups that I make. I always make sure to have an assortment of fun pastas on hand to match any sauce I feel like having. White wheat, whole wheat, veggie pasta, rice pastas, and bean pastas all have their own place in my kitchen. Here is a good guide for what to have on hand- if possible, try to have one from each category.
- Short pastas: Macaroni, Ditalini, Orzo
- Medium pastas: Penne, Rotini (especially tricolored for pasta salads), Medium shells
- Long pastas: Bucatini, Fettuccini, Linguini, Spaghetti, Lasagna noodles
- Fun and unusual pasta shapes: Radiatori, Gnocchi, Rigatoni Cavatappi for a good time
- Thick Rice noodles for Pad Thai
- Thin Rice noodles for pho or my Mason Jar Ramen noodle soup recipe.
What About Canned Soups?
I left out canned soups on this list for a few reasons. First off, I don’t buy them. They are loaded with sodium and are generally not something I want to eat on a regular basis. And second, when I want to make a big hearty pot of soup, I can do it with using plenty of pantry staples on this list. By adding beans, rice, pastas, vegetables, vegetable stock and spices, you can easily make your own soup instead of buying canned. I have some great soup recipes you can browse through on this site, so I’d recommend trying a few out instead of reaching for that canned soup.
Vinegar and Oils
A little goes a long way with vinegars and oils! I love adding a splash of balsamic to my Instant Pot Penne recipe or drizzling some olive oil over a hot bowl of soup. Vinegars and oils are a great addition to any recipe – giving your meal a little extra flavor. Here are a few acids and fats on the list that are always in my pantry!
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Bragg’s is our go-to ACV, I love the taste and flavor of this brand.
- White Balsamic Vinegar – this may seem like a very specific addition to my pantry but it is my FAVORITE vinegar! It’s the secret to the perfect coleslaw or kidney bean salad. When I can find this on sale, I stock up! I usually buy Colavita.
- Rice Vinegar: both seasoned and unseasoned
- Red Wine Vinegar: this kind is paleo and gluten free!
- White vinegar: great for more than cooking! I add a splash to our cleaning liquids or when I am mopping the floor. And we use a lot of white vinegar for making a homemade poison ivy spray too. Also great for pickling, so I always keep a few gallons on hand.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: I love the bright and fruity flavor of Zoe brand olive oil, it’s actually a very good value for the quality of oil you get too!
- Sunflower Oil: our go-to oil for sauteing or baking! Sunflower is a high oleic oil, so its great for high temperatures.
- Peanut Oil: another high oleic oil, great for stir fries, frying, or cooking at a very high heat.
- Toasted Sesame Oil: this goes into every Asian dish that I make – it gives any recipe a hint of savory flavor. You only need a few drops at a time, but this is one delicious addition to my fried rices and homemade ramen soups.
- Coconut Oil: great for cooking, baking, or sautéing. I also use this organic coconut oil outside the kitchen as a skin moisturizer. Its one of 2 ingredients in my Favorite Homemade Body Scrub!
Low Sodium Sauces & Condiments
- Low Sodium Mayonnaise: If you have 5 minutes, you can make this easy low sodium mayonnaise recipe in your blender or food processor! If you’re looking for a store-bought option, this mayo has only 50mg per serving, which is about half the sodium of traditional brands.
- Low Sodium Mustard – my easy mustard recipe is sodium & salt free, which makes it the perfect addition to this recipe. If you want a store-bought version, I like this lower sodium mustard which is great to add to this recipe.
Pantry Staple Nuts and Seeds
One of our favorite snacks! I love a handful of nuts in the afternoon when I am feeling a little hungry. Nuts are great to add to baked goods (brownies + walnuts are the best combo!), to savory meals (topping a homemade Pad Thai with some peanuts adds crunch), or great to turn into nut milks. The only caveat is that nuts have a slightly shorter shelf life than other ingredients on this list because of their high oil content. So make sure to store these in a cool dry place, or in the refrigerator.
- Walnuts: I love this bulk bag from Amazon… such a great value for the amount you get. Perfect snack too! I grabbed a handful earlier today.
- Almonds: Also, a fantastic value bag from Amazon, yum! I only buy whole unsalted almonds so I can make my own almond milk if I want… or I can toast my own almonds with some cinnamon and spices for a quick treat!
- Cashews: once again, raw unsalted cashews for the win! I use these cashews to make cashew cream to add some richness to vegan dishes and make them creamy.
- Pumpkin Seeds (aka Pepitas)- a favorite snack, and also the star ingredient in my pumpkin seed pesto recipe!
- Chia Seeds: a great addition to smoothies or snacks!
- Ground Flaxseeds: I use these ground flaxseeds in so many baked goods, and throw a spoonful in smoothies. Flaxseeds are supposed to help lower blood pressure too! They are a staple in our cabinet year-round.
Pantry Staple Drinks & Beverages
There are a lot of great beverages and drink options to keep in a dry pantry! Coffee, teas, juices, and almond milk all have delicious shelf-stable options. And I’m adding wine to this list too because I love cooking with wine (and I even use some in my recipes too, ha). Below are some great options that we always have on hand in our pantries and cupboards.
- Pink Coconut Water: I am absolutely hooked on this stuff – Real Coco’s nam hom pink coconut water is that #extra hydration boost your body needs. A great way to get water + antioxidants in, and makes a great post-workout hydrator. I could drink these all day, they are so seriously good.
- Shelf Stable Almond Milk: such an awesome product! You can get 6 quarts of shelf stable almond milk that will last you for over a year. We have this almond milk in our fridge now 🙂
- Coconut Milk Powder: OK, I already covered canned coconut milk in my baking section, but you can also get powdered coconut milk (mind blown)! which is so great for soups, smoothies, or curries! A great value and alternative to canned.
- Teas: I like a lot of different teas, but a few favorites are Teapigs Chamomile, Blueberry Green Tea, and especially Vahdam’s Turmeric Ginger tea, mmmmm 🙂
Organize Your Salt Free Pantry!
I use a lot of mason jars and bulk containers to keep some of our beans and grains fresh. Airtight containers are great for bulk bags of rice, flour, or sugar that you buy!
- Ball Mason Jars, all sizes! Wide Mouth preferred!
- Airtight Dry Food Storage: We have a few sets of these airtight BPA free storage containers for dried pastas, rices, and beans.
- Anchor Batter Bowls: I also have a few of these amazing batter bowls, perfect for storing my sourdough starter! Or any batch soups I’ve cooked.
- Meal Prep Containers: I have a set of these great meal prep containers, which are spill proof, for taking salads or sandwiches on the go.