Millennial Grocery Guide

Coconut Lemongrass Salmon


How this guide works: Ingredients are broken down into approximate location in the grocery store, by order that you'd usually purchase them (starting in produce & deli, then to the seafood counter, then over to dry goods). There is also a cost of ingredients scale ranging from $ (very cheap) to $$$$ (extremely expensive - I'm not sure any of my recipes even have an ingredient like this yet). 

About Millennial Staples: These are items you should always keep stocked in your fridge, freezer, or pantry. It will make throwing together a quick dinner easy and simplify grocery shopping. It allows you to purchase food on sale, and all these items are extremely unlikely to go bad before you use them!

Your Cabinet & Fridge

  • Salt, pepper, a bit of olive oil, and a bit of butter These are all Millennial Pantry & Fridge Staples


  • 1 bunch of bok choy $ This tasty Asian green works great in the broth of this dish. It's also a super easy vegetable to just sautee with some garlic as a side dish or throw in a stir fry, so it's useful to buy a full bunch. Substitute: Swiss chard will work, too.
  • 1 cup of mushrooms $$ I like shiitake in this recipe, but almost any kind of mushrooms will work. You can get regular white mushrooms or portobello, too.
  • 1/2 red onion $ Millennial Pantry Staple
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemongrass paste $$ I'm really into the squeezable herb pastes that come in a tube you can get at the grocery store. Lemongrass is perfect in squeeze form, especially because it's going into a broth here. I talked about these herb tubes a lot in a whole blog post. You can find out why it's my secret to cooking with herbs and spices in another post. Substitute: You can also buy 1-2 stalks of fresh lemongrass, if you prefer.

Seafood Counter

  • 1 serving of salmon $$ for frozen, $$$ for fresh I could write a lot about buying fish - and I will in a future blog post! If you subscribe to the blog you can read it! But for now, the short version: Fish can be expensive. But it is also a healthy protein source. And you can buy it smart, which is what I do and will teach you to do, too! My advice is to buy frozen, pre-vacuum sealed fish (most commonly found in the freezers next to the seafood counter, or the general freezer section of the grocery store, but not in the "fresh" seafood section itself). You can defrost in single servings (great for millennials). It took me a long time and a lot of research to be convinced that frozen fish is the better choice for millennials - unless you are buying fresh, never frozen fish, which is 1) rare in the industry 2) harder to get access to 3) too damn expensive. I will admit that for this recipe I got fresh fish from a fish market in Boston - it was definitely a treat yourself purchase but we've been really good about our grocery budget and not eating out so we were excited for this dinner! If you're buying fresh fish, be sure to clarify that the fish has never been frozen. For this recipe, I picked up my salmon from the fish counter at the Boston Public Market. It's sushi grade fish, so the flavor is so fresh and a world of difference from salmon that has been previously frozen and re-thawed at the typical grocery store seafood counter. I'm not saying you have to buy your salmon straight from the source (though it's worth it if you can), but I definitely recommend thinking twice about where you're buying your fish - buying fish that remained frozen or was never frozen in the first place are your two best bets. If you're really into food knowledge like me, check out this article for a primer on buying salmon.

Dry Goods

  • 1 - 15.5 oz. can coconut milk $$ Millennial Pantry Staple Make sure to buy unsweetened. You can buy "Lite" if you'd like. I've always just bought whatever brand I can find, so don't worry too much about looking for a certain brand. Coconut milk adds sweetness to a dish without making it sickly. It's great mixed into plain rice, too.