25 Pantry Recipes (That You’ll Actually Love)
Here we are. We are in a TIME, folks. It is uncharted territory for most of us. We are making the map as we go and wheeeew baby, there are a lot of feelings running us in a lot of different directions. We feel stuck and restless and unsure and tired and wired and ok-maybe-actually-enjoying-some-dedicated-time-together but also worried, anxious and please let me watch this show by myself and oh no what day is it.
But we are staying home because it is an act of love. An unprecedented act of love to take care of each other. To make the world safer for each other. To help build the world back up to a new normal, for each other.
We know cooking can get very tricky these days this with limited access to grocery stores and sometimes even more limited items on shelves, so we pulled together a collection that relies heavily on pantry staples. The ingredient lists are short and the recipes are so very very flexible, (something we’re all really trying to practice being right now – oh, hello multiple Zoom meetings in one house with children and animals and are even the plants somehow louder?).
Here we go.
Trying to keep ingredient lists as short as possible these days and this comes in at a whopping three. We’re using our best pal cashews to add a creamy, velvety twist on the standard pasta, and the jar of tomato sauce we’re probably all coming to know really well right about now.
No, we did not mistakenly put the words salmon and burger together. Give it a crisp sear, top it with a dollop of yogurt and dill and float it on a bed of herby cabbage slaw and you’ll totally get why this pantry-friendly protein patty is worth your bravery.
We cannot lie – these pancakes are straight up exquisite even WITHOUT blueberries, syrup or dripping buttery goodness, but if you happen to have any combination of those things at the ready, these are an absolute dream of a breakfast/lunch/dinner.
We call it “Back Pocket” Noodle Stir Fry because we want you to keep this simple perfect recipe in your back pocket at all times, not the beautiful noodlefull dish ITSELF. That would gross. So grab your noodles, find all the veggie stragglers in the fridge, crisp up a protein, shake up your sauce in a jar, and you are READY.
If you’ve got a pound of chicken in the freezer, a stocked spice rack, and a can of coconut milk, this is for you. Lots of coconut and curry-like flavor, but no cutting boards, no measuring cups, no fuss. Just pack it all up in a bag, freeze or refrigerate, and pop it in the Instant Pot.
If you’re not currently using your vodka as a backup disinfectant then boy do we have a delicious and incredibly easy recipe for you! We swapped out the cream for, wait for it (and trust), coconut milk to make it vegan but ALSO because you might already have a can on hand.
We’ve all had the same nightmare: what if we run out of crisp and wonderful carby things to serve on the side of everything? Chickpea flour to the rescue! This single ingredient (and ok fine, there’s water, olive oil and salt involved too but that’s it!) is delivering to you your new favorite gluten-free dipper.
Cream-free but creamy-as-all-get-out and here to replace your usual coffeeshop latte. You’re free to come to the party at any time of day because literally morning, noon or night (decaf-style), it’s just a straight-up TREAT.
Isn’t it beautiful how potatoes just seem to kind of last forever? Sweet potatoes serve as the base of this spicy creamy delight – just add in some cans of tomatoes and coconut milk, a scoop of peanut butter, lots of spices, and add in some chopped kale to finish it off (which, well, also kind of seems to last forever?).
One silver-lining from this pantry-cooking situation is that everyone seems to be dipping their toes into amateur breadmaking and we are HERE FOR IT. If you haven’t considered it yet, here’s a heck of an easy intro that is going to yield you the perfectly crusted outside, soft and chewy inside loaf of your dreams. Also, carbs.
Sure, baking might be a coping mechanism, and sometimes it has us in front of the oven, oven mitts on, praying for a warm, sweet, wholesome, unfussy and delicious treat to appear. Prayers answered, friends! Carrot muffins at the ready. And by at the ready, we mean blended up in a blender, poured into a muffin tin, baked, and ready to devour.
Lentils, amiright?! Healthy, filling, affordable and they kind of do all the work for you! We put these in the Instant Pot with some warm curry spices, a can of tomatoes and a bit of coconut milk or butter/ghee to make it a little creamy. Scoop it on top of some steamy rice and you have yourself some easy delicious comfort food, which really feels great right now.
This Vegetarian Chili is super cozy, deeeeply flavored and super meaty but with not one little bit of actual meat! And we’re not making up for it by just adding a bunch of beans, friends. No way! This chili uses a delicious blend of walnuts, carrots and mushrooms as a “meat” for all your hearty chili texture needs. Grab your tortillas chips and get ready.
On a scale of *very* to *runs out of room screaming*, how intimidated are you by the thought of making your own curry from scratch? GOOD. You are a real person with well-adjusted fears! But you can totally do this. We believe in you. It’s easier than you think, only requires a few ingredients, and will be so, so worth it.
We all just really need a cookie right now, don’t we? The especially beautiful thing about it is that you probably already have everything you need tucked right in your pantry/fridge. Flour, sugar, butter, chocolate – staples are all here, ready to play.
If you need to clean out the last dregs of your fridge to make space of the restock, this Lo Mein Is. Your. Answer. You can toss almost any protein or veggie you have at it, we swear we won’t tell if you’re using regular old spaghetti noodles and no matter what combo you come up with, that sauce is still going to make it sing.
There is no box situation here! (unless your noodles came in a box but, like, go with us here) There’s also not an elaborate sauce construction and hour-long bake time! Just 5 ACTUAL REAL FOOD ingredients, nothing is powdered or in a pouch, and the whole thing is creamy cheesy yours in under 15 minutes.
If you are looking at those chickpeas on your pantry shelf and thinking, “ok but what else do they do.?…” Well, this! They’ll soak up this deep and complex Moroccan spice blend and then simmer in a fire-roasted tomato sauce to a stewy perfection. Scoop them on top of some couscous or another grain on hand, put a little cucumber salad on the side and a pop of fresh cilantro, mint, parsley if you’ve got it.
Shepherd’s Pie always seems to be an ideal scrappy sort of recipe. Potatoes keep a good long time so we usually have a couple of those laying around, you can definitely use frozen veggies for any fresh that you’re missing, and you can flex all around with quick gravy ingredients. All roads lead to something delicious, bubbling and deeply comforting coming out of that oven.
Maybe you need a little boost because, wheeeew, it is all…a lot to manage right now. We’re right there with you. But if you can find yourself some oats, some peanut butter, a little honey and fingers crossed, a few chocolate chips, we’ve got about 30 little bite-sized pick-me-ups headed your way.
Here’s a little something if take-out isn’t an option for some of your favorite restaurants right now (although buy a gift card for later use if you can!). A great sesame noodle hack that is super flexible depending on what’s available, it comes together in a snap and is a great meal-prep option, you know, if you’re craving some consistency in this DEEPLY INCONSISTENT TIME! We sure are.
If you happen to have curry paste and some coconut milk sitting on your shelves, this is a seriously delicious and easy 5-ingredient way to use up any scrap veggies or protein you might need to get through in your fridge. Listen, you can even throw some golden raisins or any other odd/interesting ingredient at it if you wanna get creative, which is definitely the name of the game these days.
We’re always here for a no-bake situation, but honestly, just very thankful that recipes like this exist right now. Pasta and tomatoes from the cupboard, milk and butter from the fridge, and meatballs from the freezer. Grate up those scrappy pieces of cheese in the back of the drawer to top it off and get going.
If you can only have one sauce on hand right now, this is it. And good news! You probably have most ingredients hanging out in your kitchen already – peanut butter for creaminess, soy sauce for saltiness, sesame oil for smokiness, rice vinegar and ginger for zippiness, and sambal for that perfect spicy hit.
We make no bones about it, this is straight up legit better-than-meat taco meat. In some sort of vegetarian magic spell, it manages to be crisp, spicy and oh so taco-y delicious that you forget to even marvel at all the nutritional bonus points you’re getting from good old fashioned plant-eating.
We hope this helps. We believe big time in the joy and connection food can bring, so we feel grateful to be able to help you put a little scrappy, creative joy on the table during all of this. Take care of yourselves, take care of each other. ️