Inexpensive, Versatile Foods in the Pantry

Quinoa, an inexpensive and versatile pantry item.

Sometimes we need to rely on what's in the pantry when produce isn't looking too swell or when the market on the corner has shut down for the evening. SFGate continues their Kitchen Essentials series with 10 versatile pantry items, including mirin, dark chocolate, fish sauce, quinoa, salted capers, chipotle peppers in adobo, garbanzo beans, high-quality honey, whole-grain mustard, and fancy tuna in olive oil.

The thrifty shopper in me would love to add red lentils and Israeli couscous; both can adapt to many recipes, yet are never boring. While most of you might not have every item on the list, there are plenty of substitutions, and none of the ingredients are expensive or impossible to find.

What are your versatile pantry items?