Meal and Snack Ideas Using Pantry Staples

During this time of social distancing and/or self-isolation, you may be heading to the grocery store less. You may also be someone who relied on take out meals at work and are now left having to come up with more meal ideas.

Here are some key tips for those who are struggling with being creative in the kitchen:

1. write out a high level list of what you have in stock i.e. pasta, sauce, beans, tuna, frozen meat, whatever veggies you have, etc.

2. What I like to do is then write out all my protein options in a list

  • chickpeas

  • lentils

  • tempeh

  • frozen chicken

  • frozen beef

  • tuna

3. Then I base my meals (as high level or detailed as you want) around those proteins. Below is how I write out my meal high level. I will also be adding more seasoning and spices to these:

  • chickpeas (roasted) with rice, carrots and frozen broccoli

  • lentils with broth, potatoes, frozen kale

  • tempeh with mixed greens, leftover potatoes, carrots and broccoli from previous dinners

  • frozen chicken (cooked) with pasta and tomato sauce (plus mushrooms if I have them)

  • frozen beef (cooked) with maybe leftover pasta or a "taco" bowl with rice and black beans

  • tuna with cucumber leftover greens, any other remaining veggies, balsamic and honey dijon

4. My next tip is to order your main meals based on what ingredients need to be used up the quickest. For example, I need to use up my mixed greens so I will probably make the meals that require those first

Below are some meal and snack ideas to get you started! Don't be afraid to make modifications based on what you have

1. Red Lentil Dahl. See modifications below:

  • sub red onion for white onion

  • dry lentils for canned lentils

  • omit things like certain spices, fresh herbs, or lime if you don't have them

2. Meal Prep Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burritos. See modifications below:

  • sub sweet potato with white potatoes

  • sub brow rice tortilla with whatever you have or do a rice or quinoa bowl instead

  • sub tamari with coconut aminos or soy sauce

  • sub green bell pepper with whatever colour of pepper you have

3. Savory Roasted Chickpeas. See modifications below:

  • You can literally use whatever spice combo you want. For example, curry, or Mexican spices (like cumin, chili powder, paprika), or a herb blend (thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil).

4. Garlicky Broccoli & Chickpea Pasta. See modifications below:

  • Sub whole wheat pasta with whatever pasta you have

  • Sub avocado oil with whatever oil you have

  • Sub chickpeas with meat

  • Sub broccoli with whatever veggies you have

5. Sun butter oatmeal cookie granola. See modifications below:

  • Sub rolled oats with whatever oats you have. If you're paleo you could also use slivered almonds

  • Sub sunflower seeds and/or raisins with whatever nuts, seeds, dried fruit you have

  • Sub maple syrup with honey

  • Sub sunflower seed butter with whatever nut or seed butter you have