Meet Alex Caspero
Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, Plant-Based Chef and Yoga Instructor. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.
Healthy pantry meals! If you’re looking for healthy plant-based recipes using canned beans, lentils, pasta and canned/frozen vegetables then save this list!
Wow, what a week. I’m sure you all are feeling the same stress and anxiety that I am, though I know that many of you are bearing the worst of this crisis. My heart is with those who have lost their jobs, who continue to work in dangerous conditions (healthcare providers are my heroes), whose homes aren’t a safe and loving one, and those who already struggle with anxiety, loneliness, addiction and/or depression.
Feeling oddly grateful that we are home safe from the hospital with our baby girl and able to hunker down with my family. It’s OK if you are anxious about heading to the grocery store right now; I’ve been nervous to head anywhere since we got back home last week and sent my husband out a few days ago to load up on more of the essentials.
Thankful that I typically have a full pantry and freezer as that’s the nature of my job. If you are struggling with what to make right now or want to take comfort in cooking, I’m rounding up my favorite healthy pantry meals for you.
And, if you need the reminder, it’s OK to find comfort in food. It’s OK to not eat as nutritious as you normally do. It’s OK if you don’t have any vegetables anymore at home and are scared to go get more. It’s OK if you are eating lots of ‘processed’ foods and just trying to get by. It’s all OK. Somehow, we will get through this together. xo
I’ve already made this recipe twice in the past two weeks. It’s super customizable to whatever you have on hand. Substitute shallots for onions, sweet potatoes for the potatoes (or leave them out all together!), regular tomatoes for the fire-roasted tomatoes. I riffed on this recipe with just onions, carrots, lentils, broth and some smoked paprika and it was amazing.
Have canned beans and corn around? Good. Then you can make this tortilla soup! If you don’t have corn tortillas, crumble up some tortilla chips (or anything crunchy you’ve got on hand) or leave out completely.
Beans, beans, beans. My guess is you’ve got a few cans of beans in your pantry which means this simple vegetable bean chili can come together fairly easily. If you’ve got extra potatoes and vegetables to add to this one, awesome. If not, don’t stress and just leave them out.
Throw together a can of chickpeas, broth and whatever noodles you’ve got lying around. One of my favorite healthy pantry meals.
This soup is a reader favorite for good reason. And, like all good soups, it’s customizable to whatever you have lying around. Substitute regular tomatoes for fire-roasted, spinach or any other green for the kale, and whatever noodle you have for the orzo. It’s almost foolproof!
Another great recipe for canned beans! Cook this one with or without a slow cooker, your call! Again, use whatever beans and veggies you’ve got lying around.
I originally wrote this recipe using fresh corn, but frozen or canned will also work! And feel free to sub in any other milk or canned coconut milk.
Another fan favorite recipe. If you have a bag of frozen vegetables, this recipe is perfect for it! Canned green beans, potatoes and corn/peas/carrots also work!
If you’ve got a bag of red lentils lying around, make this simple soup! If you don’t feel like going the curry route, try this simplified red lentil soup version instead.
This is another recipe where canned or frozen vegetables will work just fine. Saute whatever aromatics you have lying around, add your fresh, canned or frozen vegetables, pasta and tomatoes.
Chickpeas + lemon juice + broth + pasta = one of my favorite soup recipes I’ve ever made. This one is comfort food at it’s finest!
If you have beans and pasta, you can make this pasta fagioli. I’ve also used jarred tomato sauce in a pinch and the recipe works great!
This creamy pasta recipe comes together thanks to cashews, roasted tomatoes and garlic. If you don’t have fresh tomatoes on hand, substitute in canned ones!
I know gnocchi seems intimidating, but if you have potatoes and flour then you can make gnocchi! This is a fun stay-at-home activity and one I plan on doing this week.
Another favorite pantry meal! My guess is you have pasta, tomato sauce and cheese lying around. If so then you can make this pasta bake! No need to cook the noodles before hand and if you’ve got any veggies, throw them in as well!
This is one of my favorite simple recipes. Jarred red peppers, tahini, lemon juice are basically all you need to make this simple sauce. If you don’t have lemon juice, substitute in vinegar or any other acid.
This is one of my most-popular recipes for a reason. I call for spinach, but any green will work OR omit the greens completely! This process is perfect for silky, creamy pasta without the cream! Sometimes I make this with just onions, pasta and red pepper flakes and it’s amazing, amazing comfort food.
Another great recipe if you have a package of sun-dried tomatoes in your pantry. Toss with cooked noodles and canned beans for a simple dinner!
If you’ve got dried beans at home, try this simple baked bean recipe. We love these in a baked potato with melted cheddar on top for an effortless dinner.
Another favorite meal! Sub in pinto or black beans if you have them and whatever grain you prefer. We also love this with vegan sausage if you have any!
I make this simple hummus recipe often for snack. Serve with whatever you have lying around! Apples, pears, pretzels, it all works!
If you’ve got a can of refried beans, you can make this simple quesadilla!
Another great healthy pantry meal. Use eggs or tofu as the scramble, whatever canned beans you like and maybe some frozen potatoes if you have them on hand!
We make this recipe at least weekly. Sub in jarred salsa if you don’t have any fresh!
If you bought a bag of lentils and aren’t sure what to do with them, make these! Enjoy as is or over cooked rice.
This is one of those meals that I wish I made more often. It’s made with mostly canned goods and the biscuits on top are optional depending if you have the ingredients or not!
We love these! Sweet potatoes with seasoned black beans. So, so yummy.
Another great meal. Fry up some tortillas, top with beans and potatoes/vegetables and hot sauce.
Made with refried beans and delicious with chips or tortillas. For a yummy burrito enjoy this with salsa/hot sauce and whatever veggies you have on hand (or not!)