Stock your cupboards with ingredients for these delicious, easy Pantry Recipes, and you'll have dinner ready in a snap!
I think it's safe to that there's one thing on everyone's mind these days.
Personally, I'm vacillating between thinking I'll be okay (and I'm sure I will) to trying not to panic. So instead of going into a full-on anxiety spiral, I'm trying to do something productive.
Making sure your pantry is stocked with enough supplies to make a couple week's worth of simple meals is one thing you can do right now.
To help you out, I've rounded up my favorite Pantry Meals that you can make with basic ingredients ... everything from Rice and Beans to Curries, Soups, and even a few snacks and desserts. For the most part, these meals are fairly healthy. And they're all vegetarian with lots of great vegan-friendly options, too.
TIP: as you can imagine, grocery stores are pretty chaotic right now. If you have the means, I highly recommend ordering your groceries through Amazon Fresh or from a local grocery store using a delivery service like Instacart. This will also limit your exposure to others who may be sick.
The key to making these delicious meals is having a well-stocked cupboard. If you purchase some basics groceries with a long shelf-life, then you'll have a healthy and tasty dinner is never far away.
So what should you stock in your pantry? I've created a super detailed Pantry Staples Checklist, but here's a quick overview of what you should consider adding to your cart:
- Fresh Produce - Purchase long-lasting ingredients like onions, carrots, potatoes, garlic, citrus, applies, and winter squash.
- Frozen Food - Stock up on frozen veggies (like peas, broccoli, spinach, etc.) and fruits. They're just as healthy for you as fresh vegetables and are easy to use in almost anything. It's also a good idea to buy ingredients like frozen pizza dough, as well as better-for-you convenience foods, like Veggie Burgers. You can also freeze fresh ingredients, like bread, bagels, and tortillas, so you always have some on hand, as well as some fruits (think bananas and berries) that are just about to go bad.
- Canned / Prepared Goods - Stock your cupboards with canned beans, tomatoes, coconut milk, pasta sauce, jam, peanut butter, polenta, olives, capers, roasted red peppers, pickles, and salsa. I'm not the biggest canned soup fan, but you may want to purchase a few cans just in case.
- Dry Ingredients - Dried pasta, rice and other grains, couscous, dried beans and lentils, bouillon, rolled oats, popcorn, breadcrumbs (or panko), nuts, crackers, pretzels, and dried fruit can form the basis of many meals or snacks. If you're a baker, flour, sugar, and other baking supplies may also come in handy.
- Dairy / Plant-Based Alternatives - Pick up essentials like milk, cheeses (especially basics like Parmesan and cheddar), plain yogurt, cream cheese, and butter. Make sure to check expiration dates!
- Eggs - Try to keep a stock of large eggs on hand. Not only are they delicious for breakfast, but they can be used in everything from baked goods to fried rice.
- Oils and Herbs / Spices - Always keeps ingredients like olive oil and other oils, vinegar, soy sauce, hot sauce, mayonnaise, mustard, maple syrup and honey, your favorite spices, and salt and pepper stocked. That way, you can properly cook and season your food.
Please remember to be a good neighbor ... don't panic and clear the shelves! Everyone needs to eat. You may also want to check on at-risk neighbors, friends, and family members to see if they need anything.
Tips for Substituting Ingredients in Pantry Recipes
Try to be as flexible as possible when preparing pantry meals. You might not have every ingredient on hand, so get a little creative.
For example, if a recipe calls for fresh basil, you can use dried basil instead or another herb altogether. If you don't have onions, start with a base of sauteed garlic instead.
Some of the recipes below call for fresh ingredients you might not have when your pantry is bare. In these cases, I've noted substitution ideas (like using jarred salsa instead of fresh).
Ready to Start Cooking?
You'll find 50 vegetarian pantry recipes below (with lots of vegan-friendly options, too), most of which are fairly healthy. Keep scrolling to view them all, or use the links below to jump to exactly what you need:
Parmesan Pepper Popcorn
Homemade popcorn is quick and easy to make, and this Parmesan Pepper Popcorn is my absolute favorite snack!
Spicy Chili Pepper Edamame
If you're an edamame fan, this Spicy Chili Pepper Edamame is a delicious (and super simple) treat.
Baked Black Bean Taquitos
Serve these yummy Baked Black Bean Taquitos as a snack or light meal. Keep it simple by dipping them in jarred salsa.
Make this scrumptious Homemade Granola with ingredients you probably already have in your cupboard. Pair it with plain yogurt or enjoy it on its own.
This Baked Oatmeal is an nutritious, easy recipe that uses basic ingredients. The recipe calls for fresh blueberries and bananas, however you can substitute that with frozen fruit, or even leave out the fruit altogether if you're in a pinch.
Easy Cheese and Egg Breakfast Sandwich
I can never get enough of these Cheese and Egg Breakfast Sandwiches. It's my go to morning meal, and I eat one almost every day ... so good and so easy.
Easy Egg and Black Bean Tacos
These yummy Egg and Black Bean Tacos are ready in minutes and so delish. Serve them for breakfast or for dinner, either way, you'll love them.
Once you learn how to make Overnight Oats, you'll always have a nutritious, delicious breakfast on hand. Add whatever toppings you have on hand (like nuts or dried / frozen fruit).
Mexican Breakfast Tostadas
These Breakfast Tostadas make such a fun and tasty meal! Substitute the fresh toppings with jarred salsa, hot sauce, and shredded cheese.
Egg and Potato Breakfast Burritos
Treat yourself to these tasty Egg and Potato Breakfast Burritos. These delicious burritos one of my all-time favorite recipes. You can even make a big batch ahead of time, then reheat them in the morning. Skip the jalapeño if you don't like spicy food.
Crock Pot Spicy 3 Bean Chili
This Spicy 3 Bean Chili couldn't be simpler to make or more delicious. You'd never guess it was made with mostly canned ingredients. It's a great way to clean out your pantry, and it makes a ton. Freeze the leftovers (if you have any) for later!
Easy Lentil Soup
Warm up with a bowl of this classic Lentil Soup ... it's packed with flavor and super healthy, too.
Spinach Artichoke Soup with Tortellini
Dried tortellini is an excellent pantry staple, and it's the secret to this amazing Spinach Artichoke Soup. Substitute frozen spinach if you don't have fresh.
Creamy Tomato Soup
This quick Creamy Tomato Soup is total comfort food. Serve it on its own or with grilled cheese for an easy, yet super warming meal.
Roasted Carrot Soup
Despite the basic ingredients, this Roasted Carrot Soup is super flavorful, and of course, it's easy to make.
Easy Asian Dumpling Soup
Make this Asian Dumpling Soup in minutes for a light and healthy meal ... the addition of frozen dumplings keeps the recipe super quick!
Creamy Rosemary Potato Soup (Stove Top or Instant Pot)
Easy Peas and Rice Soup
Make this Easy Peas and Rice Soup with frozen peas or any frozen veggies you have on hand. So simple and delicious ... it's the perfect pantry recipe for days when your cupboards are bare!
Vegetable Stew with Dumplings
The ingredients list for this Vegetable Stew with Dumplings is a little longer than most of these recipes, but everything you need is pretty basic and the end result is sooo good.
15 Bean Soup
This yummy 15 Bean Soup is packed with flavor and super hearty. If you don't have a 15 bean mix, you can use any combination of beans (or even a single type).
Indian Spiced Quinoa Chickpea Burgers
These mouthwatering Quinoa Chickpea Burgers are a favorite dinner recipe. Skip the cucumber-yogurt sauce if you don't have the ingredients, then add your favorite toppings instead. Tip: you can also change up the flavor profile completely by using different spices.
Deviled Egg Salad Sandwiches
These mouthwatering Deviled Egg Salad Sandwiches are a fun and easy twist on classic egg salad.
Chickpea Salad Sandwiches
These delicious Chickpea Salad Sandwiches are super easy to make and so tasty. Serve them open faced on crusty bread or on sliced, toasted sandwich bread.
No Recipe Recipes
In addition to the pantry dinners below, don't be afraid to use whatever you can scavenge to make meals that don't need a recipe, like Fried Rice (saute onions, whatever veggies you have, and garlic in oil; add an egg and scramble; then add rice and season with soy sauce), Pasta with Aglio e Olio (saute garlic and crushed peppers in a generous amount of olive oil, then add spaghetti), or Burritos or Burrito Bowls (top rice with beans, cheese, salsa). Get creative!
Easy Black Beans and Rice
It doesn't get more basic—or delicious—than Black Beans and Rice. This easy recipe is a weeknight staple, and you can prepare it with any kind of beans. Top with cheese, hot sauce, or salsa to make it a little more exciting.
Kimchi Fried Rice
The flavors in this Kimchi Fried Rice are anything but basic, but it's still super simple to make. You're going to love this spicy fried rice.
One Pot Pasta (Stove Top or Instant Pot)
As you might guess, this Easy One Pot Pasta recipe is made by cooking the ingredients for the sauce and the pasta together in one pot. It's the perfect pantry meal for busy weeknights. You can also make this similar Pasta in the Instant Pot, if you have a pressure cooker.
Black Bean and Cream Cheese Enchiladas
My favorite Black Bean Enchiladas with Cream Cheese are a snap to make, especially if you used canned enchilada sauce. (The homemade sauce is better than anything you could buy though, and it uses really basic ingredients, so give it a try if you have time.)
Twice Baked Potatoes with Broccoli and Cheddar
These scumptious Twice Baked Potatoes will satisfy your carb cravings. Serve them as a main course or as a side dish to a bigger meal.
Tex Mex Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
These Tex Mex Stuffed Sweet Potatoes make such a delicious pantry dinner. Top them with salsa or hot sauce.
Homemade Alfredo Sauce
My Homemade Alfredo Sauce couldn't be easier to make (it's ready in the time it takes to cook the pasta) or more delicious, and the ingredients are very basic.
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
This Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese is super tasty, and the addition of squash makes it healthier (but still just as good) as your standard cheesy mac.
Crock Pot Black Eyed Peas
Simple slow cooker recipes like these Crock Pot Black Eyed Peas are cheap and delicious. These beans are so easy to make, but still packed with flavor.
Bean and Cheese Tostadas
You're going to love these easy to make, crunchy, and totally crave-worthy Bean and Cheese Tostadas! Keep it simple by topping them with your favorite salsa and whatever toppings you can scavenge from your fridge.
Artichoke and Sun Dried Tomato Grilled Cheese
This yummy Artichoke and Sun Dried Tomato Grilled Cheese is such a fun twist on the classic. Skip the jalapeños if you don't like spicy food.
Easy Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
This Instant Pot Mac and Cheese is the easiest macaroni and cheese recipe you'll ever make. Not to mention, one of the most delicious!
Roasted Red Pepper Sauce with Polenta
The sauce for this tasty Roasted Red Pepper Sauce with Polenta comes together quickly thanks to a few convenience foods, but it still feels like a gourmet meal.
Chickpea Potato Curry
This Chickpea Potato Curry is simple, easy to make, and super tasty ... the perfect meal for busy weeknights when your cupboards are bare.
Crunchy Black Bean Tacos
These yummy Black Bean Tacos take minutes to make! Top them with your favorite jarred salsa if you don't have the ingredients to make the fresh version.
This easy Marinara Sauce is the perfect recipe to keep in your back pocket. Mix it with spaghetti or use it in another recipe like Baked Ziti or Lasagna.
Coconut Curry with Chickpeas and Spinach
You are going to love this luscious Coconut Curry with Chickpeas and Spinach! Use frozen spinach if you don't have fresh.
Dijon Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots
These amazing Glazed Carrots are a favorite recipe that takes minutes to make and can be pared with any meal.
Old Bay Roasted Potato Wedges
Once you try these Old Bay Roasted Potato Wedges, you'll become addicted! They're so good and so easy to make.
Roasted Sweet Potato Fries
These Roasted Sweet Potato Fries are so tasty. Serve them with burgers or sandwiches.
This easy Garlic Bread recipe will perk up almost any meal!
Quick Pickled Onions
These Quick Pickled Onions take minutes to make, and they can be used on everything from tacos to salads.
If you have extra garlic on hand, use it to make Roasted Garlic. It's so easy to prepare, and there are a million ways to use it.
Craving a sweet treat to end your meal? Treat yourself to these yummy Honey Cookies ... they've been a favorite of my family for as long as I can remember!
Curry Shortbread Cookies
These Curry Shortbread Cookies are made with super basic ingredients, and the curry is such a pleasant surprise.
Looking for an amazing dessert that's made with simple ingredients? This Danish Puff is another family favorite ... so tasty!
I hope you found some great pantry recipes here ... let me know which ones you plan to try first!