As much as I love making a variety of recipes each week, featuring fresh produce and expanding my cooking skills and flavor combinations, sometimes you also need some staple recipes. The ones you make when you’re about to leave for vacation and cleaning out the fridge. Or you’ve just come BACK from a trip and haven’t made it to the store yet. Or maybe you just don’t feel like shopping today or someone is sick and you just need to get creative with what you have.
Enter pantry staples.
Yes, it is possible to make nutritious, satisfying, and balanced meals from what you have in your pantry. Bonus if you have some fresh or frozen produce leftover to toss in, but not required! We’re on a clean out the fridge kick this week, so my meal plan reflects a large percentage of pantry staples. Here are some ideas for easy quick meals you can make from your pantry:
- Oatmeal or overnight oats // rolled oats + chia seeds + peanut butter + cinnamon + frozen berries + water (or plant-based milk).
- Beans and rice // brown rice + kidney beans + diced tomatoes + cumin + turmeric + paprika
- Spanish chickpeas & quinoa // chickpeas + quinoa + diced tomatoes + vegetable stock + paprika + chili powder + oregano
- Veggie stir fry // frozen broccoli + edamame + brown rice + soy sauce (mix with some peanut butter to make a peanut sauce variation!)
- Berries & greens smoothie // water (or plant-based milk) + frozen banana + frozen berries + frozen spinach + nut butter + hemp seeds
- Mexican beans & quinoa // quinoa + black beans + salsa + cumin + chili powder
The main thing to consider when staring into your pantry wondering how to make a meal is choosing a protein (beans, quinoa, edamame, peanut butter, hemp seeds) + a carbohydrate (rice, oats, quinoa, fruit). Add a fat for satiety (nuts, seeds, olive oil) and spices for flavor. Any chance you can toss in a vegetable, go for it. The great thing about frozen veggies is they heat up quickly and can be tossed into almost anything.
I happen to have a ton of quinoa, arborio rice (because, risotto addiction), frozen greens and asparagus, beans, pasta, and canned tomatoes to use up. So with only a handful of fresh produce to grab, we’ve got a week of fast, pantry based meals to enjoy this week.
Meal Plan 2/19/18
- Taco quinoa bowls
- Sheet pan roasted vegetables & tofu
- Spinach and asparagus risotto (a variation of this recipe)
- Chili mac
- Chickpea lentil chili
Making meals in a pinch does not have to be complicated or fancy. Grab a few staples out of your pantry and see what inspiration comes your way!
Interested in how I stock my pantry to make sure I can always make quick, nutritious meals at any moment? Grab my free plant-based pantry list here and always be prepared on those busy weeknights!