The Essential Shopping List: Where to Start

So to make any recipe you need to start with ingredients. Ground breaking. I know.

But a lot of people I talk to mention that they don’t know where to start or what to buy when they’re in the supermarket.

Fret no more, this is the Blog Post for YOU! If you have the basics anyway, then most of the recipes become easier again. There are things like fruit and vegetables that need to be bought every week/week and a half. Then others that you buy once and it will last you for 6 months, even longer. They are usually the more expensive things initially but we’ll start with the basics anyway and work our way along.

Fruit and Veg

This is where I always always start when I head into my local organically grown greengrocer… ie. Lidl…

I’m not made of money.

I would love to be better about shopping organically but when you’re stretched thin and you want a few pints on a Friday night, something has to suffer. But if you have the cash, do it! Eggs would be the only thing I’d be fairly strict on. I’d always buy organic free range.

So I always start with my fruit and veg and usually there are good discounts in Lidl.

  • Broccoli. I can’t live without it
  • Mushrooms. A real love it or hate it item. Himself hates them so I make him pick his out and give them to ME! WIN!
  • Red Peppers. They’re just juicier. You can get whatever colour you want though.
  • Courgette. I occasionally pick up, not every week.
  • Red Onions. Or Leeks. I find Leeks great as they are a mixture between scallions and regular onions flavour wise.Big fan.
  • Potatoes. I really like Rooster, the red ones. But I don’t use them loads so it’s every so often if I have a craving.
  • Butternut Squash. I permanently have one residing in my fruit bowl. They last for ages.
  • Carrots. I love raw carrots. I never cook them. Grated in a salad can’t be beaten!
  • Blueberries. Always have some for my porridge or pancakes.
  • Pomegranate. Again for porridge and the most amazing addition to any salad.
  • GrenadillaFrom the Passion Fruit Family. An amazing snack or addition to salad. Lidl are the only place I’ve seen sell them and I’m obsessed since trying them in Peru last year. They look like brains but are really delicious.
  • Bananas. For your porridge and a brilliant snack on the go.
  • Avocados. I buy the nets of 5 for €2.50. I have one nearly every day.
  • Garlic. Cannot get enough.
  • Apples, Oranges, Pears, Kiwis. I don’t buy these every week but alternate them depending on what Im making or feeling like. Pears and Kiwis are great in salads or snacks. Apples are great for baking. Mandarins are just handy.
  • Lemons. Oh I buy like 3 of these in a go. I squeeze them on EVERYTHING. The perfect salad dressing and great on top of avocado. Always pick up Lemons!
  • Bag of Salad. This is where I’m a little lazy. I just grab the bags of rocket, spinach and watercress and there’s a lovely peppery mix.
  • Tomatoes/Cherry Tomatoes. Gotta make that soup!
  • Cauliflower. A recent addition. I wouldn’t buy it every week.

So that’s what I’d top up on nearly every week. Seems like a lot but they won’t all be in every week or I won’t need them all. I’d add others on top depending on my mood or what I’m going to make. If you have a specific recipe in mind, then it’s easier again. Also as a vegetarian, beans and cans of them are my best friend. If you’re ever stuck for what to eat with no fresh produce in the fridge, you have LOADS in the cupboard. Well I normally do anyway.

All the Other Bits

  • Eggs Organic Free Range Eggs
  • Kidney Beans Tins of them, I usually buy two in the shop
  • Chickpeas 2 -3 tins of these bad boys.
  • Sweetcorn You can add it to everything
  • Chopped Tomatoes The basis of most sauces start with a tin of these. I grab about 3 usually.
  • Tomato Puree I like tomatoes, ok.
  • Almonds In the baking section in Lidl they do them for next to nothing!! Honestly, Toasted almonds are the best snack around.
  • Mixed Seeds Again, they cost like €1.50 for a decent bag in Lidl. Can’t go wrong, I put them into everything.
  • Hummus For the days I’m just not arsed making it. Most days…
  • Cheese Usually some sort of mature Cheddar or Feta.
  • Porridge Costs very little in Lidl. I’m like a walking advertisement for the shop.

They’re all the cheap things I’d pick up week by week. That shop usually comes to the €25 – €30 range which isn’t bad at all. Not everything you can get in my coveted Lidl. So I’d have to wander around the Asian or health shops to pick up the rest. Which are below:

  • Coconut Oil I go to Dunnes for this as it’s pretty affordable for the organic stuff. I buy Cocowell. But you get this once a month at least.
  • Lentils Handy to have in the press to beef things up a bit.
  • Soy Sauce or Tamari I love Asian cooking so I have to have this at home
  • Almond Milk For the porridge, it lasts awhile.
  • Spices You really have to build these up or you can grab them all at once. But I always have: Cumin, Paprika (smoked and normal) Oregano, Parsley, Chilli flakes, Curry Powder, Chilli Powder, Pepper, Rosemary, Cinnamon, Tumeric.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar Great for dressings and just good for you all round.
  • Noodles and Brown Rice I go the the Asian shops for these as they are great value there.
  • Black Beans My FAVOURITE!! Hot or Cold! I love these ones!

So I think that’s everything. It’s my basic week to week shop for vegetables anyway. If you have any questions about brands, prices or anything else, leave me a comment below.

Happy Shopping,

Cara xx


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