Easy Healthy Recipes Using Mostly Pantry Staples
I’ve been thinking about you a lot. I hope you and yours are safe, healthy, and hanging in there. I’m sending you as much love and calm through this screen as I possibly can.
The world is a devastatingly scary and chaotic place right now, but I’m leaning into every little bit of love and joy that I can find with (possibly alarming) intensity and gratitude. Morning flopping about dancing/scream singing to the songs of my youth has been a high lately. As has my increased consumption of medium-trashy literature and recommitment to the #dudedietbathseries featuring my roommate and his fancy new beard.
Unsurprisingly, I’ve also been finding a lot of happiness and comfort in the kitchen. Staying home and working with limited ingredients has upped my game as a scrappy chef, and it’s been a wonderful reminder that so many delicious, comforting meals can be made from mostly pantry staples.
I know many of you are thrilled at the prospect of having the time to cook a bit more than usual, while others are overwhelmed by having been suddenly thrown into the deep end of the home cooking pool with no warning or prior experience. In the hopes of being helpful to both the aforementioned camps, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite simple and healthy recipes made with mostly pantry staples.
All of the easily adaptable recipes below can and should be used as roadmaps! I’ve listed possible substitutions for each of these meals if you need some swapping guidance, but work with what you’ve got. (You know I love it when you do you, and that’s sort of a necessity these days.) If you need my help, I’m only an email or a DM away.
Love you, mean it.
Easy, Healthy Recipes Made with Mostly Pantry Staples:
5-Ingredient Skillet Eggs with Spinach and Roasted Cauliflower. This recipes is the ultimate roadmap recipe for skillet eggs. Us whatever vegetables, greens, and cheese you like. If you don’t have/like tomato sauce, try salsa or harissa instead.
PB&J Smoothie. This deliciously satisfying smoothie can be made with any berry, nut butter, and type of milk.
Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding. This base chia pudding recipe can be made with any type of milk and dressed up six sexy ways to Sunday. Get creative!
Blueberry-Banana Oatmeal Pancakes. Hearty and not too sweet, these vegan pancakes are delightfully simple. Use fresh or frozen berries of any kind (if using frozen berries, thaw and drain them first), or simply go with straight banana.
Personal Broccoli Parm Frittata. This template for an “egg-y pizza” is endlessly adaptable. It works with many other vegetables, but cauliflower and zucchini are personal favorites.
Peanut Butter and Banana Overnight Oats. You can use any type of milk and nut butter you like! Play with toppings and mix-ins.
Skillet Cauliflower Gnocchi with Sausage and Spinach. This recipe using Trader Joe’s frozen cauliflower gnocchi is always a crowd-pleaser! It can obviously be made with regular gnocchi, but it’s also fabulous with any type of cooked short pasta.
One-Pot Cheeseburger Fusilli. This grown-up version of Hamburger Helper can be made with any type of ground meat, a variety of cheeses, and whatever greens you have on hand.
Italian Fried Rice. This is another endlessly adaptable roadmap recipe. Use any grain/vegetables/meat you have! To keep things vegetarian, sub chickpeas or white beans for sausage.
Chicken Parmesan Pasta. Supremely comforting, this pasta bake can be made with any type of ground meat or sausage and short pasta. Keeping things vegetarian? Try sautéed zucchini or eggplant or roasted cauliflower or broccoli florets in place of meat.
Simple Sausage and White Bean Soup. Make this simple but flavor-packed recipe with any white beans/greens/broth you have on hand. Any type of sausage or sausage substitute will be delicious!
30-Minute Vegan Chana Masala. I call this Cheater’s Chana Masala, and it really doesn’t get much easier than this one-pot recipe. If you don’t have fresh ginger, a scant 1/4 teaspoon of dried ginger will suffice.
Tomato and White Bean Stew With Chicken Sausage. This stew tastes fabulous with chickpeas as well, and any type of sausage will work. Feel free to stir in some greens if you like.
Three Bean Quinoa Salad. Whip up a version of this protein-packed salad with whatever beans and grain you have on hand.
Spring Vegetable Soup with Farro and Chicken Sausage. Almost any combination of veggies can be used in this soup, and don’t hesitate to play with grains. Any type of broth will work!
Fiesta Baked Eggs with Farro and Black Beans. Try this anytime meal with whatever beans and grain you like! You can always skip the eggs and make the recipe as a “stew.”
Roasted Broccoli Chicken and Cheddar Quinoa Bake. There are so many quinoa bakes on the blog, but this one is the easiest base recipe to riff on. FYI: Quinoa bakes freeze particularly well and reheat like a dream. I like to freeze them unbaked and wait to add the final layer of cheese and panko until just before baking. If you don’t do quinoa, the only grain substution I recommend is brown rice.
Easy Chipotle Shredded Chicken. From tacos, quesadillas, and sandwiches to salads and grain bowls, this stress-free shredded chicken recipe can be put to work in endless delicious ways.
Mexican Sweet Potato and Black Bean Stew with Quinoa and Kale. I also love this stew with farro or brown rice, butternut squash instead of sweet potatoes, and pinto beans in place of black. Any green will work, and the topping possibilities are endless!
Brown Rice Jambalaya with Shrimp and Chicken Sausage. Only have white rice? Great! No shrimp? Add cubed chicken breasts or thighs at the end and simmer for 10 minutes until cooked through. Needless to say, any broth will do you right.
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