The grocery store shelves are looking a little bare these days with many of us having trouble finding our favorite ingredients. These periodic shortages are unlikely to last for long, but when you’re limiting trips to the grocery store, not finding what you need while you’re there can be stressful. To help, we’re sharing a few favorite swaps for pantry staples. Use this as an opportunity to try something new the next time you’re in the store. You may be surprised to find you enjoy a new ingredient!
Missing: Brown Rice
Brown rice is a familiar whole grain staple that may be hard to find. Instead, try farro, a whole grain that is similar to rice in shape, but with a chewier texture and a nutty flavor. If you avoid gluten, steer clear of farro as it does contain gluten while brown rice does not.
Swap: Soba Noodles
Soba noodles are shorter and wider than spaghetti, but they can easily take the place of most noodles if you’re in a pinch. Don’t overcook them to ensure an al dente texture.
Missing Ingredient: Bagels
Swap: English Muffins
Sometimes toast just won’t do and even though New Yorkers may disagree, an English muffin can take the place of a bagel if necessary. They’re much lighter than a bagel, but they still taste great with cream cheese and lox.
Missing: Canola Oil
Swap: Avocado Oil
Canola oil is a mild cooking oil that withstands high heat, up to 400F before beginning to smoke. If it’s missing from store shelves, try swapping with avocado oil, also a mild oil with a high smoke point (over 500F).
Swap: Egg Noodles
This may not be a like-for-like substitution when it comes to taste and texture, but egg noodles are extremely versatile and can replace many types of pasta when others aren’t available.
Grits and polenta are both made from corn, but the texture is slightly different. However, these two can easily be interchanged in most recipes.
Missing: Your Favorite Canned Bean
Swap: Any Other Canned Bean
Maybe this isn’t 100 percent true, but for the most part, canned beans are versatile and can be used interchangeably in recipes. For example, if a recipe calls for kidney beans, pinto beans are likely to hold up just fine. Alternatively, white beans can easily stand in for cannellini beans and vice versa. Use this opportunity to try a new type of bean you usually pass by.
Swap: Canned Tomatoes
If you’re used to buying jarred tomato sauce, then the idea of picking up a can of tomatoes may seem a little intimidating. However, all it takes is a few extra steps to “spruce up” any can of tomatoes to sub for a pasta or pizza sauce. Add some fresh garlic or garlic powder, fresh or dried basil, oregano, and thyme and your plain, canned tomatoes will fit right in with your favorite marinara-based recipe.
Missing: Chicken Broth
Swap: Veggie Broth
The flavor can vary significantly, but for most recipes, vegetable broth can be used in place of a chicken broth and vice versa (unless you’re vegan or vegetarian). If no broth is on the shelf then water will suffice in some recipes like soups and stews with plenty of herbs, spices, and other aromatics for added flavor.
Missing: Peanut Butter
Swap: Almond, Cashew, or Sunflower Seed Butter
If you can’t find your favorite peanut butter, try swapping with a different type of nut or seed butter. Price points are likely to vary significantly depending on the type of nut or seed. If it comes down to it, you can always make your own peanut butter using roasted peanuts, a little bit of salt, and a high-powered blender or food processor.