30 Healthy Pantry Meals

By Alexandra Caspero on March 22, 2020

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!

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 

Healthy Pantry Meals: Soups, Chili’s and Stews 

        1. The Best Lentil Soup

          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. 

          weeknight tortilla soup

        2.  Weeknight Tortilla Soup

          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. 

          vegetarian bean chili

        3. Vegetarian Bean Chili 

          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. 

          chickpea noodle soup

        4. Chickpea Noodle Soup 

          Throw together a can of chickpeas, broth and whatever noodles you’ve got lying around. One of my favorite healthy pantry meals. 

          close up bowl of vegan kale and orzo soup

        5.  Tuscan Kale Soup 

          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! 

          slow cooker italian minestrone soup

        6. Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup 

          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. 

          Coconut Corn Chowder

        7. Coconut Corn Chowder 

          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. 

          Slow Cooker Vegetable Chowder! Save this vegan and gluten-free meal when you want an easy dinner option. Start in the morning and it's ready by the time you get home from work. Potatoes and vegetables in a creamy sauce. | www.delishknowledge.com

        8. Vegetable Chowder 

          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! 

          Red Lentil Soup! Vegan and Gluten-free! A healthy, low-fat soup that's cozy and simple! Packed with protein. |www.delishknowledge.com

        9. Red Lentil Curry Soup 

          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. 

          Italian Orzo Soup! Packed with vegetables, this is healthy comfort food at it's finest! Less than 250 calories per serving, a must make! | www.delishknowledge.com

        10. Italian Orzo Soup 

          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. 

          Lemon Orzo Chickpea Soup! The vegan version of chicken noodle. Healthy, comforting, with a refreshing lemon twist!

        11. Vegan Lemon Chickpea Orzo Soup 

          Chickpeas + lemon juice + broth + pasta = one of my favorite soup recipes I’ve ever made. This one is comfort food at it’s finest! 

          Ultimate healthy comfort food! Pasta Fagioli! Inexpensive, hearty and good source of protein!

        12. Pasta Fagioli 

          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! 

Healthy Pantry Meals: Pasta Recipes 

tomato basil vegan pasta recipe

  1. Creamy Tomato Pasta 

    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! 

    how to make gnocchi

  2. Homemade Gnocchi 

    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. 

    Serving the pasta bake with a wooden spoon

  3. Vegetarian Pasta Bake 

    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! 

    The red peppers are roasted for a caramelised taste

  4. Roasted Red Pepper Pasta 

    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. 

    Easy, 20 Minute Vegan Pasta! You are going to love this healthy, easy vegan pasta! With a trick to creating glossy, restaurant-style pasta, this is a must save for quick dinners. | www.delishknowledge.com

  5. 20 Minute Vegan Pasta 

    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. 

    Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta! This 7 ingredient dinner is ready in just 20 minutes, perfect for busy nights! Vegetarian, easily vegan. | www.delishknowledge.com

  6. 7-Ingredient Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta 

    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! 

Healthy Pantry Meals using Canned/Dried Beans and Lentils

vegetarian baked beans made in the pressure cooker

  1. Instant Pot Baked Beans

    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. 

    Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice! This vegan and gluten free meal is so satisfying- perfect for chilly days! | www.delishknowledge.com

  2. Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice 

    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! 

    snickerdoodle dessert hummus

  3. Snickerdoodle Hummus 

    I make this simple hummus recipe often for snack. Serve with whatever you have lying around! Apples, pears, pretzels, it all works!

    cheesy vegan quesadilla

  4. Cheesy Vegan Quesadillas 

    If you’ve got a can of refried beans, you can make this simple quesadilla!

    breakfast burrito with bite out of it

  5. Breakfast Burritos 

    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!

  6. 10 Minute Black Bean Tacos 

    We make this recipe at least weekly. Sub in jarred salsa if you don’t have any fresh!

    Spicy Coconut Curry Lentils! These lentils are the perfect quick weeknight meal. Curried lentils in a tomato coconut sauce, ready in just 30 minutes! #vegan and #glutenfree | www.delishknowledge.com #dinner #recipe #weeknightdinner #healthyrecipe #vegetarian #protein

  7. Spicy Coconut Lentils 

    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.Sheet Pan Vegetable Chili with Beer Biscuits! You will love this all-in-one vegan sheet pan dinner. Roasted vegetable chili topped with whole wheat beer biscuits. | www.delishknowledge.com

  8. Sheet Pan Vegetable Chili

    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! Taco Stuffed Sweet Potatoes! If you are looking for a quick and healthy vegetarian dinner, this is it. Sweet potatoes stuffed with a spicy black bean filling, cheese, avocado, cilantro and your favorite toppings. Gluten-free | www.delishknowledge.com

  9. Taco Stuffed Sweet Potatoes 

    We love these! Sweet potatoes with seasoned black beans. So, so yummy.Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tostadas! Seasoned black beans piled high with roasted sweet potatoes, covered with avocado creme. Vegan & GlutenFree | www.delishknowledge.com

  10. Black Bean Tostadas 

    Another great meal. Fry up some tortillas, top with beans and potatoes/vegetables and hot sauce.

  11. Spicy Bean Dip

    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!)

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Plant-Based Chef and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

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