Mediterranean cooking is very distinctive.
With delicious aromas and even more delicious flavours, it is a favourite for many people around the world.
And the great news is that you can recreate those delicious Mediterranean flavours in your own home, with the right ingredients.
So, to help you make these flavours in your kitchen, we’ve assembled a list of the top 12 Mediterranean pantry staples you will need.
Check them out here:
12 Mediterranean Pantry Staples You Need In Your Kitchen
1: Olive Oil
There is nothing more Mediterranean than olive oil! An absolute pantry staple, it can be used for sauteing, frying, and as an ingredient in salad dressings and marinades.
Flavourful and versatile, olive oil contains plenty of good stuff. It’s a good source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, as well as antioxidants like Vitamin E and polyphenols which can help to reduce stress and inflammation in the body.
Olive Oil is high in calories though, so should be consumed in moderation as part of a healthy diet.
2: Tomatoes (Canned or Fresh)
Another pantry staple that features heavily in Lebanese cooking is the tomato. Both fresh and canned varieties can be used in sauces, stews and soups.
Nutrient-dense with antioxidant properties, tomatoes are good for heart, eye and skin health. Full of vitamin C, lycopene and lutein, tomatoes are a great addition to a healthy Mediterranean diet.
3: Herbs & Spices
A lot of the flavour in Lebanese dishes comes from the herbs and spices used. Oregano, thyme, basil and rosemary all feature heavily in many meals.
For a super easy Mediterranean burst of flavour, you can keep a jar of Za’atar Spice Blend in your pantry. Made up of oregano, sumac, toasted sesame seeds and salt, it will transform meals and snacks with a simple shake of the jar!
Here at Kohkoz, we handcraft a delicious Za’atar Spice Blend that you can grab here.
Garlic is a common ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine and is used to add flavour to dishes, marinades, dressings and snacks.
Known for its medicinal properties, garlic has been used for centuries to boost the immune system and detoxify the body. Its anti-inflammatory properties can help to lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol and improve brain function.
Yummy and good for you, definitely add garlic to your shopping list.
Delicious, filling and dietary-friendly, beans like garbanzo (chickpeas) and cannellini feature heavily in Lebanese dishes. The base of favourite snacks like hummus, you’ll also find them in plenty of Mediterranean salads and stews.
Beans are rich in vitamins and minerals and are an excellent source of plant-based protein. High in fibre they can help to improve digestion, lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar, and can help you to feel fuller for longer.
Get some beans in your shopping trolley, or shop our delicious range of hummus now.
Used to add acidity and flavour to dishes, vinegar is another absolute pantry staple. Found in salad dressings, marinades, sauces, stews and braises, vinegar is a popular ingredient. Pickling is another common process in Lebanese cuisine, with vinegar used as the base for picking vegetables like cucumbers, onions and carrots.
Often served as a snack or added to dishes, olives feature heavily in Mediterranean cooking. Just like olive oil, olives in their raw form are good for you. With all the same antioxidant benefits, olives help to reduce inflammation and improve cholesterol levels. Plus, they taste amazing!
Salty and tangy, capers are another ingredient commonly used in Lebanese food. Like many other popular Mediterranean pantry staples, capers are rich in antioxidants and low in calories. They can also help to improve digestion, lower blood sugar and reduce inflammation.
Almonds, walnuts, cashews and pine nuts are often added to Mediterranean salads, stews and baked goods. When consumed in moderation, nuts are great for heart and brain health. Nutrient-dense, they are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals like magnesium, potassium, calcium, protein and fibre. A tasty and versatile pantry staple.
We love nuts as a garnish for Riz A Djej, a tasty chicken and rice dish.
Grains like rice and couscous are filling and present a blank canvas for adding flavour! Accompanying meals, salads and stews, grains like rice or couscous are a popular choice in the Mediterranean.
Filling and full of good carbs and fibre, grains give you an energy boost. They are also great for people with gluten intolerance as grains like rice provide a wheat-free alternative. Budget friendly and easy to prepare, grains make a good meal base.
11: Pita Bread
Versatile and filling, pita bread is an absolute pantry staple in Mediterranean households. Able to be eaten by itself or as part of a meal, there are almost endless options for pita bread. Wraps, chips, pizza base, pockets to fill, mezze platter ingredient… pita bread can do it all.
Grab your fresh-baked, hand-crafted pita bread here.
12: Fresh Vegetables
Mediterranean food is known for including plenty of fresh vegetables. Eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, onions, capsicums, cabbage, green beans, okra, spinach and radishes all feature heavily and can be incorporated into a variety of dishes.
Ready to get cooking Mediterranean? Then, make sure you add the pantry staples we have just discussed to your shopping list and browse our range of Lebanese cuisine recipes here.