So much has happened in the past weeks [with Coronavirus or Covid-19] which has caused a tremendous amount of stress and uncertainty. If you’re like me (and so many people right now) you’re in full physical-distancing mode. Physical distancing means going to the grocery store less often, which for many of us means adjusting the way we usually cook and plan our meals.
Pantry and freezer foods are often just as nutritious as fresh, and can help you save money and time in the kitchen. Continue reading for the best 30+ Easy Recipes Using Pantry and Freezer Staples to help you eat well, even on your busiest days. Note: the images below are from our tried & tasted version of the recipe 🙂
30+ Easy Recipes With Pantry and Freezer Staples
Fewer trips to the grocery store mean relying more on staples like canned and frozen foods. While cooking meals with these foods can still provide nutritious options for the family, it might be very different from what you’re used to cooking and feel overwhelming to try and come up with different meal ideas.
Keep in mind that staying home doesn’t necessarily mean including zero fresh items in your routine, or missing out on nutritious essentials. Fresh vegetables such as carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, and potatoes have a long shelf life and will last for weeks. And don’t forget about frozen vegetables. Frozen veggies are frozen at the peak of freshness and provide a highly nutritious option to always ensure you continue to have vegetables with meals.
Many pantry items are also loaded with nutrition. Great pantry options to have on hand include canned tuna/salmon, canned or dry beans and lentils, pasta, rice, and quinoa. Some other items that can help give you some flexibility with your meal options include diced tomatoes, canned coconut milk, passata or tomato sauce, lemon/lime juice, and a variety of herbs and spices.
Some of us might be relying on these foods for the first time, or relying on them more than usual and unsure what to make. In an already overwhelming time, the last thing you should be worrying about is what to make for dinner tonight.
Not sure where to start? We’re here to help! We’ve put together a list of the best 30 dinner recipes using pantry or frozen ingredients, as well as vegetables with a long shelf life.
As always, these recipes have been tried and tested, and dietitian approved. Stay well everyone! ??
30+ Easy Recipes With Pantry and Freezer Staples
1. Best Lentil Soup
This Best Lentil Soup recipe from Cookie and Kate uses both pantry staples along with carrots and onion which have a long shelf life. Swap fresh greens from frozen kale or spinach if you don’t have fresh on hand.
2. One-Pot Lemon Herb Chicken and Rice
Aren’t one-pot meals the best? This One Pot Lemon Herb Chicken and Rice recipe from Creme de la Crumb keeps ingredients simple AND helps you cut down on dishes. If you’ve got chicken breast on hand, this recipe is a great one to add to your routine. Add two cups of frozen mixed veggies to the pot to keep things balanced.
3. Paprika Chicken and Rice Bake
If you’ve got chicken thighs on hand and some pantry staples, this Paprika Chicken and Rice Bake recipe from Butter Your Biscuit uses only 6 ingredients for a simple hands-off balanced meal in one pan. Serve with frozen peas for a balanced meal.
4. Creamy Tuna Pasta
Tuna is the ultimate pantry staple. This Creamy Tuna Pasta recipe from Chelsea’s Messy Apron calls for multiple pantry and frozen staples – pasta, canned tuna, and frozen peas. All you need is cheese and milk to top off this simple and family friendly recipe.
5. Lentil Tacos
The lentil filling of this Lentil Tacos with Avocado Cilantro Sauce recipe from Lentils.org is my favourite and one that I use often. Use any fresh toppings you have on hand, or use the lentil filling for burrito bowls with rice or potato, frozen vegetables and salsa.
6. 30-Minute Minestrone Soup
This 30-Minute Minestrone Soup recipe from Averie Cooks relies on pantry staples like beans and pasta, along with carrots, onion and zucchini. You can swap zucchini for any frozen or fresh veggies you have on hand.
7. One Pan Mexican Quinoa
I love anything that cooks in one pan because it means minimal dishes, which means minimal time in the kitchen. This One Pan Mexican Quinoa recipe from Damn Delicious is a great balanced option that takes advantage of canned/frozen items for ultimate convenience.
8. Easy Roast Chicken with Brussels, Potatoes, and Carrots
If you’ve got chicken on hand, this Easy Roasted Chicken, Brussels, Potatoes and Carrots recipe from Delish uses veggies with a long shelf life – carrots, potatoes and Brussels.
9. Lentil Broccoli Curry with Coconut Milk
This Lentil Broccoli Curry with Coconut Milk recipe from Lentils.org uses pantry staples like lentils, rice, and coconut milk. Swap broccoli for cauliflower, carrots, or frozen vegetables if you don’t have it on hand.
10. Instant Pot Lentil and Brown Rice Chili
Warm and a little spicy, this Instant Pot Brown Rice and Lentil Chili recipe is the ultimate comfort meal using multiple pantry staples.. Add all the ingredients to your instant pot and let it do the work for you.
11. Pasta with Turkey and Broccoli
If you’ve got ground meat on hand, this Pasta with Turkey and Broccoli recipe from Real Simple uses only a few ingredients and comes together quickly. Use fresh or frozen broccoli.
12. Easy Spinach Lentil Soup
This Easy Spinach Lentil Soup recipe from Delish relies calls for dried lentils along with carrots, celery and onion. Swap fresh greens for frozen at the end if you don’t have fresh on hand.
13. Beef Cabbage Stir Fry
If you have ground beef on hand, this budget-friendly Beef Cabbage Stir Fry recipe from Budget Bytes uses veggies with a long shelf life – carrots and cabbage.
14. Thai Sweet Potato Coconut Soup with Red Lentils
Using sweet potato in addition to coconut milk gives this Thai Sweet Potato Coconut Soup recipe from Yummy Beet a delicious creamy texture, and the addition of lentils adds a source of vegetarian protein for a balanced meal. Best part? It’s ready in under 30. The only fresh items you’ll need are garlic, ginger and onion.
15. Sheet Pan Smashed Potatoes with Crispy Lentils and Broccoli
If you’ve got potatoes on hand, this is a great plant-based meal. Swap broccoli for cauliflower or carrots in this Sheet Pan Smashed Potatoes with Crispy Lentil and Broccoli recipe if needed.
16. Chicken Quinoa Fried Rice
If you have some veggies you need to use up in your fridge, this Chicken Quinoa Fried Rice recipe from Eating Well is a great way to use them up. If you don’t have fresh vegetables on hand, use frozen mixed veggies, and use jarred minced garlic & minced ginger for a speedy weeknight meal.
17. Tofu Cauliflower Korma
This Cauliflower Tofu Korma recipe from Yummy Beet relies on canned ingredients and vegetables with a long shelf life – cauliflower, carrots and onion. You’ll need an immersion blender to make the thick and creamy sauce, but it otherwise comes together simply and in one pot. Not a tofu person? Don’t be afraid, tofu picks up the flavours in the korma sauce, making it the perfect recipe for tofu beginners.
18. Chickpea Salad Sandwich
I love this simple vegetarian twist on traditional tuna/egg/chicken salad sandwich recipes. This Chickpea Salad Sandwich recipe from The Simple Veganista uses canned chickpeas and is really simple to throw together.
19. Shrimp Tacos with Cabbage Slaw
This Shrimp Tacos with Cabbage Slaw recipe from Well Plated is a great use for frozen shrimp. If you have cabbage on hand, the cabbage slaw is a delicious topping for these tacos. If not, use the shrimp as a base and top with any taco toppings you have.
20. Tofu Veggie Noodle Bowl
This Tofu Veggie Noodle Bowl recipe from Eating Bird Food uses cabbage and carrots which have a long shelf life, and you can clean out your fridge by adding additional veggies you have on hand. Swap broccoli and green pepper for cauliflower, or any frozen veggies you have on hand. Not satisfied with cabbage noodles alone? Serve with rice or traditional noodles.
21. Curried Chickpeas and Spinach
Looking for a simple plant-based meal? This Curried Chickpeas and Spinach recipe from Budget Bytes is both budget-friendly and balanced. Using only a handful of pantry ingredients, this delicious meal comes together in under 30 minutes.
30+ EASY RECIPES WITH PANTRY AND FREEZER STAPLES
22. Vegetarian Quinoa Chili
This Vegetarian Quinoa Chili recipe from Chef Savvy relies solely on pantry staples and is ready in 45. Loaded with different types of beans, spices, and quinoa, its perfect.
23. Vegetable Tortellini Soup
This Vegetable Tortellini Soup recipe from It’s a Veg World Afterall is delicious and loaded with shelf-stable veggies. Swap fresh green beans for canned and fresh spinach for frozen greens if you don’t have fresh available.
24. One Pan Sweet Potato Black Bean Quesadilla
I love this One Pan Sweet Potato Black Bean Quesadillas recipe from Chelsea’s Dishes . This quesadilla filling relies on canned and pantry items. Make quesadillas or serve the sweet potato mixture with rice and other toppings you have on hand for burrito bowls.
25. Instant Pot Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice
If you love cheesy casseroles or risotto, you’ll love this recipe from Instant Pot Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice recipe from Jessica Ivey . This recipe only uses a handful of ingredients and cooks conveniently in an Instant Pot. Swap fresh broccoli for frozen if that’s all you have on hand.
26. Kale Salmon Caesar Salad
I love this Kale Salmon Caesar Salad recipe from Budget Bytes . This salad is loaded with healthy fats from canned salmon as well as vitamin A and an array of other nutrients & antioxidants from kale.
27. Curry Cauliflower Fried Rice with Chickpeas
Perfect for using both pantry and freezer items, this Curry Cauliflower Fried Rice with Chickpeas recipe from Organic Authority uses canned chickpeas as well as pre-riced cauliflower that you can buy frozen. Swap fresh spinach for frozen greens if needed.
28. 5-Ingredient Black Beans and Rice
Try this 5-Ingredient Black Beans and Rice Recipe from Naturally Ella . Prep this ahead in a large batch and switch up the toppings for different variations all week, or make it for a simple weeknight dinner. Swap fresh spinach for frozen greens if you don’t have fresh. We recommend topping with salsa, avocado slices, and hot sauce, but really anything goes here!
29. Tomato Rosemary Chickpeas
Yum! This Tomato Rosemary Chickpeas recipe from Abby Langer Nutrition is a delicious plant-based option that relies on pantry staples. Add in frozen greens at the end of cooking to keep things balanced.
30. Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
This InstantPot Chicken Noodle Soup recipe from Rachel Cooks is loaded with pantry and freezer staples and made easy with your Instant Pot. This soup is high in protein from chicken and loaded with veggies, making it a meal-worthy soup.
31. Spicy Black Bean Quinoa Burger
I love this Spicy Black Bean Quinoa Burger recipe from Veganosity uses pantry staples such as black beans and quinoa. Swap chili pepper for flakes, and bell pepper for carrot or any other vegetable you have on hand.
…What’s your favourite Easy Recipe with Pantry and Freezer staples? Let me know in the comments below ??
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Hi there! I am a registered dietitian and I ? food! I am passionate about making it easier for busy people to eat well by sharing quick and healthy recipes. Healthy cooking at home can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. I love helping people uncomplicate weeknight dinners and reduce stress around meal time, so I’m so glad you’re here!