As it becomes a bigger challenge to find fresh foods at the grocery store and because many of us are spending a great deal of time at home, making meals using pantry and freezer staples is becoming an everyday reality.
But with a little creativity and a few backpocket recipes, we can make some pretty stellar – and nutritious – dishes (and snacks)! I’ve compiled a list of some pantry staples that’ll help you whip up tasty meals and snacks using ingredients that are shelf-stable, hold up well in the freezer and can last in the fridge longer than a week.
- Oil, dried herbs and spices, vinegar
- Canned beans, canned tomato products, canned vegetables and fruits, low sodium broth or stock
- Brown rice, lentils and whole grain pasta
- Nuts, seeds and nut and seed butters
- Oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sweetener (of choice), vanilla extract, dried fruit and dark chocolate chips
- Chia and flax seeds, breadcrumbs
- Frozen vegetables and fruits
- Frozen lean meats, seafood and fish
- Eggs and dairy products
- Fresh produce and meat, if available
If you notice something in a recipe that you don’t have or that is fresh, you can sometimes skip it (think fresh herbs) or swap it for another ingredient – I’ve included some tips for each recipe on making swaps. I also encourage you to get creative with what you have in your pantry, freezer and fridge to make these recipes your own! If you don’t have shrimp, swap it for tofu, chicken or beans. If you are out of fresh herbs, swap for a small amount of the dried version instead. If you don’t have fresh vegetables, swap in frozen or serve your meal with the veggies on the side. There are endless options, and the good news is most frozen and canned vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh (as long as there is no sugar or salt added).
Well… let’s get cooking!
- Vanilla Chai Overnight Oats – Use frozen berries or other frozen fruit to top them off. If you don’t have chai tea, simply leave it out.
- Blueberry Crumble Muffins – Use whatever flour you have on hand and use frozen blueberries if you don’t have fresh.
- Cinnamon Nut Granola and Maple Berry Oatmeal – All pantry staples in these ones!
- Mexican Style Egg Cups – Skip the Greek yogurt if you’re out and swap the fresh peppers for frozen chopped broccoli.
- Sweet Potato Waffles – Use canned pumpkin instead of sweet potato!
Lunch & Dinner:
- Shrimp & Vegetable Fried Rice – Use frozen shrimp and frozen vegetables, skip the green onion if you don’t have any.
- Chickpea Cauliflower Curry – Swap fresh cauliflower florets for frozen or instead of cauliflower, add another can or two of chickpeas.
- Chicken Tortilla Soup – If you don’t have chicken, swap in two additional cans of black beans for a hearty black bean tortilla soup.
- Coconut Curry Lentils – Omit the fresh cilantro.
- Seafood Jambalaya – Use frozen shrimp and frozen bell peppers/onions.
Snacks & Desserts:
- Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
- Dark Chocolate Mug Cake
- Banana Berry Nice Cream
- Trail Mix Bars
- Peanut Butter Walnut Energy Bites
Comment below with your favorite pantry meal or snack!