30+ Easy Recipes with Pantry and Freezer Staples

Updated: May 4

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.

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.

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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.

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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! 💚💚

1. Best Lentil Soup recipe by Cookie and Kate

This delicious soup recipe 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.

What you’ll need:

· ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

· 1 medium yellow or white onion, chopped

· 2 carrots, peeled and chopped

· 4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced

· 2 teaspoons ground cumin

· 1 teaspoon curry powder

· ½ teaspoon dried thyme

· 1 large can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, lightly drained

· 1 cup brown or green lentils, picked over and rinsed

· 4 cups vegetable broth

· 2 cups water

· 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste

· Pinch of red pepper flakes

· Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

· 1 cup chopped fresh collard greens or kale, tough ribs removed

· 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice (½ to 1 medium lemon), to taste

Find the full recipe here.

2. One-Pot Lemon Herb Chicken and Rice recipe from Crème De La Crumb

Aren’t one-pot meals the best? This recipe 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. All we ask is that you don’t forget your veggies. Add two cups of frozen mixed veggies to the pot to keep things balanced.

What you’ll need:

· 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

· 2 tbsp butter

· salt and pepper, to taste

· 3 tsp Italian seasoning, divided

· 1 cup uncooked white rice

· 2 1/4 cups low sodium chicken broth

· juice of 1 lemon

· 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables

Find the full recipe here.

3. Paprika Chicken and Rice Bake recipe from Butter Your Biscuit

If you’ve got chicken thighs on hand and some pantry staples, this quick weeknight recipe uses only 6 ingredients (not including oil, salt and pepper) for a simple hands-off balanced meal in one pan. Serve with frozen peas for a balanced meal.

What you'll need:

· 5-6 bone in chicken thighs, skin removed

· 1 tsp salt

· 1 tsp pepper

· 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

· 1 tbsp olive oil

· 1/2 cup diced red onion

· 2 tbsp garlic

· 1 1/2 cups jasmine rice 

· 2 cups chicken broth 

Find the full recipe here.

4. Creamy Tuna Pasta recipe from Chelsea's Messy Apron

This recipe 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.

What you'll need:

· 1/2 tablespoon olive oil

· 1 yellow onion, finely chopped

· 1 teaspoon minced garlic

· 1 cup + 2 tablespoons 2% or whole milk, separated

· 2 cups water

· 2 and 1/4 cups chicken broth (low-sodium)

· 1 package (16 ounces) small pasta shells

· 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

· 1 large lemon

· 2 cans (5 ounces EACH) Tuna in Olive Oil, drained

· 1 cup frozen peas

· Salt and pepper

· Optional: freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese, fresh parsley, fresh lemon wedges

Find the full recipe here.

5. Lentil Taco recipe from

The lentil filling of this recipe 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.

What you’ll need:

· 1 tbsp olive oil

· 1 onion

· 2 cloves garlic

· 2 tsp chili powder

· 1 tsp cumin 

· 1/2 tsp paprika

· 1/2 tsp oregano

· 1/4 tsp chili flakes

· 1 cup split red lentils 

· 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

· 1/4 tsp salt

· 8 corn tortillas

Find the full recipe here.

6. 30-Minute Minestrone Soup from Averie Cooks

This recipe 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.

What you’ll need:

· 4 tbsp olive oil

· 1 large onion

· 1 small zucchini

· 1 1/2 large carrots

· 2 celery stalks

· 4 garlic cloves

· 8 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

· 14.5oz can diced tomatoes

· 15oz can kidney beans

· 15oz can white beans

· 15oz can cut green beans

· 2 bay leaves

· 2 tsp dried basil

· 1 tsp dried thyme

· 1 tsp dried oregano

· 1 tsp dried rosemary

· salt and pepper, to taste

· 3 cups fresh spinach

· 1 tbsp lemon juice

Find the full recipe here.

7. One Pan Mexican Quinoa recipe from Damn Delicious

We love anything that cooks in one pan because it means minimal dishes, which means minimal time in the kitchen. This recipe is a great balanced option that takes advantage of canned/frozen items for ultimate convenience.

What you’ll need:

· 1 tbsp olive oil

· 2 cloves garlic

· 1 jalapeno

· 1 cup quinoa

· 1 cup vegetable broth

· 1 (15oz) can black beans

· 1 (14.5oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes

· 1 tsp chili powder

· 1/2 tsp cumin

· kosher salt and pepper, to taste

· 1 avocado

· juice of 1 lime

· 2 tbsp fresh cilantro leaves

Find the full recipe here.

8. Easy Roast Chicken with Brussels, Potatoes, and Carrots recipe from Delish

If you’ve got chicken on hand, this simple recipe uses veggies with a long shelf life – carrots, potatoes and brussels.

What you’ll need:

· 6-8 pieces of chicken (or 1 full chicken cut into pieces)

· salt and pepper, to taste

· 1/4 cup evoo

· 14 fresh thyme sprigs

· 3/4lb Brussels sprouts

· 3.4lb potatoes

· 3 carrots

Find the recipe here.

9. Lentil Broccoli Curry with Coconut Milk recipe from

This is a simple curry recipe using pantry staples like lentils, rice, and coconut milk. Swap broccoli for cauliflower, carrots, or frozen vegetables if you don’t have it on hand.

What you’ll need:

· 2 tbsp canola oil

· 1 onion

· 1 tbsp red curry paste

· 1 (14oz) can coconut milk

· 2 cups cooked green lentils

· 4 cups broccoli florets

· 1 lime

· 1 pinch sugar

· salt and pepper, to taste

· 2 cups cooked rice 

Find the full recipe here.

10. Instant Pot Lentil and Brown Rice Chili recipe from Real Good Eats

Warm and a little spicy, this vegetarian chili 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.

What you’ll need:

· ½ red onion, finely chopped

· 1 red bell pepper, finely chipped

· 1 green pepper, finely chopped

· 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped

· 4 garlic cloves, minced

· ¾ cup brown rice

· ¾ cup green lentils

· 2 ½ cups vegetable broth

· 1 can (140z) diced tomatoes

· 1 Tbsp chili powder

· ¼ tsp garlic powder

· ¼ tsp onion powder

· ½ tsp oregano

· ½ tsp smoked paprika

· 1 ½ tsp cumin

· ½ tsp sea salt

· ½ tsp black pepper

· 1 cup shredded old cheddar cheese (for topping)*

Find the full recipe here.

11. Pasta with Turkey and Broccoli recipe from Real Simple

If you've got ground meat on hand, this pasta recipe uses only a few ingredients and comes together quickly. Use fresh or frozen broccoli.

What you'll need:

· 3/4 lb orecchiette

· 2 cups broccoli florets

· 3 tbsp olive oil

· 1 lb ground turkey

· 2 cloves garlic

· 1 tsp fennel

· 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

· salt, to taste

· parmesan cheese, for serving

Find the full recipe here.

12. Easy Spinach Lentil Soup recipe from Delish

This soup 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.

What you’ll need:

· 2 tbsp olive oil

· 2 carrots

· 2 celery stalks

· 1 small onion

· 3 cloves garlic

· 2 tsp cumin

· 1 tsp coriander

· 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

· salt and pepper, to taste

· 1 14-oz can diced tomatoes

· 10oz lentils

· 2 tsp fresh thyme

· 4 cups vegetable broth

· 4 cups baby spinach

Find the full recipe here.

13. Beef Cabbage Stir Fry recipe from Budget Bytes

If you have ground beef on hand, this budget-friendly recipe uses veggies with a long shelf life – carrots and cabbage.

What you’ll need:


· 2 Tbsp soy sauce

· 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil

· 1 Tbsp sriracha

· 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar

Stir fry:

· 1/2 head of cabbage (or 1 pre-shredded bag)

· 2 carrots

· 3 green onions

· 1.2 Tbsp cooking oil

· 1/2lb lean ground beef

· 2 garlic cloves

· 1 Tbsp grated ginger

· salt and pepper, to taste 

14. Thai Sweet Potato Coconut Soup with Red Lentils recipe from Yummy Beet

Using sweet potato in addition to coconut milk gives this soup 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.

What you’ll need:

· 3 cups of water

· 4 small-medium sweet potatoes

· 1 onion

· 1/2 cup red lentils

· 1 clove garlic

· 1 Tbsp fresh ginger

· 1 fresh chili

· 2 tsp vegetable bouillon powder

· 1/2 tsp salt

· 1-13oz can coconut milk

· 1 Tbsp curry powder or Thai curry paste

· 1 Tbsp lime juice

Find the full recipe here.

15. Sheet Pan Smashed Potatoes with Crispy Lentils and Broccoli recipe from Real Good Eats

If you’ve got potatoes on hand, this is a great plant-based meal. Swap broccoli for cauliflower or carrots if needed.

What you’ll need:

1 cup cooked (or canned) lentils

10-15 mini potatoes (depending on size)

3 cups broccoli florets

1 Tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

¼ tsp garlic powder

¼ tsp Italian seasoning


3 Tbsp olive oil

1 small shallot, finely diced

Salt, to taste

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1.5 Tbsp lemon juice

Find the full recipe here.

16. Chicken Quinoa Fried Rice recipe from Eating Well

This recip is a great way to use leftover chicken and any veggies you have in the fridge. 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.

What you’ll need:

· 2 Tbsp + 1 tsp peanut oil

· 2 large eggs

· 3 scallions

· 2 tsp ginger

· 2 tsp minced garlic

· 1lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs

· 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper

· 1/2 cup diced carrot

· 1/2 cup peas

· 2 cups cooked quinoa

· 3 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce or tamari

· 1 tsp toasted dark sesame oil (optional)

Find the full recipe here.

Check out this blog post! 👇

17. Tofu Cauliflower Korma recipe from Yummy Beet

This recipe 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.

What you’ll need:

· 2 tbsp coconut oil or butter

· 1 tbsp mild curry powder

· 2 tsp garam masala

· 1 1/2 tsp salt

· 1 cup chopped carrots

· 1 onion

· 3 cloves garlic

· 1 28oz can plum tomatoes

· 1/2 can coconut milk

· 1 350g pkg extra firm tofu

· 1 small cauliflower

· 1 tbsp lime juice

· cooked brown rice for serving

Find the full recipe here.

18. Chickpea Salad Sandwich recipe from Simple Veganista

We love this simple vegetarian twist on traditional tuna/egg/chicken salad sandwich recipes. This recipe uses canned chickpeas and is really simple to throw together.

What you'll need:

· 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas

· 1/2 cup diced celery

· 1/2 cup diced carrots

· 1/4 – 1/3 cup sliced scallions

· 1/4 – 1/3 cup or so hummus 

· 1 – 2 tablespoons mustard

· 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

· sea salt & pepper, to taste

· juice of 1 lemon (optional)

· small handful pepitas (pumpkin seeds), optional

Find the full recipe here.

19. Shrimp Taco recipe from Well Plated

This recipe 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.

What you’ll need:

· 1 lb large shrimp

· 1 tbsp EVOO

· ​1 tsp chili powder

· 1 tsp ground chipotle chili

· 1 tsp ground cumin

· 1/2 tsp kosher salt

· 6-8 corn tortillas

· optional toppings: avocado, Greek yogurt, lime juice

Find the full recipe here.

20. Tofu Veggie Noodle Bowl recipe from Eating Bird Food

This recipe 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.  

What you’ll need:

· 12 oz extra firm tofu

· 1/2 cup vegetable stock

· 1 Tbsp low sodium tamari (or soy sauce)

·  1/2 tsp maple syrup

· 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar

· 1 tsp sesame oil

· 1 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil

· 1 Tbsp minced ginger

· 1 Tbsp minced garlic (2-3 cloves)

· 1-2 cups fresh broccoli

· 1 medium cabbage

· 1 green pepper

· 2 carrots

· 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

· salt and pepper, to taste 

Find the full recipe here.

21. Curried Chickpeas and Spinach recipe from Budget Bytes

This recipe is both budget-friendly and balanced. Using only a handful of pantry ingredients, this delicious meal comes together in under 30 minutes.

What you'll need:

· 2 Tbsp olive oil 

· 1 small onion 

· 2 cloves garlic 

· 1-inch fresh ginger 

· 1 1/2 Tbsp curry powder 

· 8 oz spinach fresh or frozen 

· 15 oz can tomato sauce

· 28 oz can chickpeas

Find the full recipe here.

22. Vegetarian Quinoa Chili recipe from Chef Savvy

This recipe relies solely on pantry staples and is ready in 45. Loaded with different types of beans, spices, and quinoa, its perfect.

What you'll need:

· 1 tbsp EVOO

· 1 large onion

· 4 cloves garlic

· 2 x 14.5oz cans diced tomatoes

· 2 cups crushed tomatoes

· 1 cup cooked quinoa

· 1 cup water

· 17oz can diced green chilies

· 2 tbsp chili powder

· 2 tsp ground cumin

· 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder

· 2 tsp paprika

· hot sauce, to taste

· salt and pepper, to taste

· 15oz can red kidney beans

· 15oz can light red kidney beans

· 15oz cand black beans

· 1 cup frozen corn

· optional: shredded cheese, sour cream, green onion avocado for serving

Find the full recipe here.

23. Vegetable Tortellini Soup recipe from It's a Veg World Afterall

This recipe 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.

What you'll need:

· 1 tbsp olive oil

· 1 yellow onion

· 2 stalks celery

· 3 carrots

· 1 lb green beans

· 3 cloves garlic

· 1 tbsp oregano

· 8 cups vegetable broth

· 10oz cheese tortellini

· 14.5oz can diced tomatoes

· 4 cups spinach

Find the full recipe here.

24. One Pan Sweet Potato Black Bean Quesadilla 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.

What you'll need:

· 2 cups diced sweet potato

· 1 sweet onion, diced

· 1 can corn

· 1 can low-sodium black beans

· 1 tbsp chili powder

· 1 tsp cumin

· 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

· 1 tsp garlic powder

· 1 tsp oregano

· 1 tsp salt

· 8 whole wheat tortillas

· 8oz shredded cheese

· oil spray to coat the pan

Find the full recipe here.

25. Instant Pot Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice recipe from Jessica Ivey

If you love cheesy casseroles or risotto, you'll love this dish. 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.

What you'll need:

· 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs

· 1/2 tsp salt

· 1/4 tsp pepper

· 1 tbsp olive oil

· 1 cup chopped onion

· 1 1/2 cups cooked Arborio rice

· 1/2 cup dry white wine (or chicken broth)

· 3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

· 1/2 lb small broccoli florets

· 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Find the full recipe here.

26. 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.

What you'll need:

· 2 x150g canned salmon

· 6oz chopped kale (we used pre-washed and pre-chopped for added convenience) 

· 8oz bowtie pasta (or less, to taste)

· 2 large boiled eggs (optional)

· 1/2 cup shredded parmesan

· creamy caesar dressing, to taste

Find the full recipe here.

Check out this blog post! 👇

27. Curry Cauliflower Fried Rice with Chickpeas recipe from Organic Authority

This recipe uses canned chickpeas as well as pre-riced cauliflower that you can buy frozen. Swap fresh spinach for frozen greens if needed.

What you'll need:

· 2 cups canned chickpeas

· 2 Tbsp melted coconut oil

· 1/4 tsp cumin

· 1/4 tsp turmeric

· 1 tsp salt

· ground black pepper

· 1 package riced cauliflower (fresh or frozen)

· 1/2 onion

· 2 garlic cloves

· 1 tsp curry powder

· 1/4 tsp ginger

· 1 Tbsp lemon juice

· 2 large handfuls of baby spinach

Find the full recipe here.

28. 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!

What you'll need:

· 1cup brown rice

· 2 cups black beans with liquid

· 1 Tbsp cumin seeds (or powder)

· Juice from one lime

· 2-3 handfuls of spinach 

Find the full recipe here.

29. Tomato Rosemary Chickpeas From Abby Langer Nutrition

This recipe is a delicious plant-based option that relies on pantry staples. Add in frozen greens at the end of cooking to keep things balanced.

What you'll need:

· 2 tbsp olive oil

· 1 can chickpeas

· 1/3 medium onion

· 1 clove garlic

· 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika

· 1/2 tsp ground coriander

· 1/4 cup tomato paste

· 1 cup coconut milk

· 1 cup vegetable broth

· 1 tbsp fresh rosemary

· 1 tbsp chopped basil

· salt and pepper, to taste

· optional: diced red chilis to taste

Find the full recipe here.

30. Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup recipe from Rachel Cooks

This Instant Pot 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. 

What you'll need:

· 1 tbsp olive oil

· 2-3 carrots

· 3 celery stalks

· 1 small yellow onion

· 1/2 tsp salt

· 1/4 tsp pepper

· 4 cups chicken broth

· 4 cups water

· 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts

· 1/2 tsp dried thyme

· 1 bay leaf

· 1 sprig rosemary

· 3 cups dry wide egg noodles

· 1/2 cup frozen peas

· 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

Find the full recipe here.

31. Spicy Black Bean Quinoa Burger recipe from Veganosity

This recipe 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 you’ll need: 1 tbsp of avocado oil optional, it will help to prevent sticking to the grill or pan

· 1 cup cooked quinoa

· 30 oz black beans

· 2 cloves garlic

· 1 medium red onion

· 1 red chili pepper

· 1 bell pepper

· 4 stalks of cilantro

· 1 tbsp tapioca starch

· 2 tbsp water

· 1 tbsp chili powder

· 1 tbsp liquid smoke

· 2 tsp sea salt or to taste

· 1 tsp cumin

· 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper omit if you don't like it too spicy

· Pepper to taste

· 1 cup plain breadcrumbs

Find the full recipe here.

...What's your favourite pantry meal? Let us know in the comments below 👇💚

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Real Good Eats makes it easier to find quick, healthy, simple weeknight recipes online.  We’ve searched and brought together a variety of simple, quick, and dietitian-approved recipes so that you don’t have to.


Each recipe is cutting-board-to-table in under an hour, and many are ready in under 30 minutes. Browse our weeknight dinner recipes to find the best quick and healthy recipes from across the web. 

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