Can’t Figure Out What’s for Dinner? Healthy Pantry Meals to the Rescue

pantry meals
Photo Credit: Table for Two

May 20, 2021

by Sheela Prakash

This year, summer has arrived early. And with it, summer brain. You know, that phenomenon whereby you forget, willingly or unwillingly, to do the things you’re supposed to do. Like figure out what’s for dinner. Luckily, dinner doesn’t require a ton of planning. A well-stocked pantry — that includes both your dry pantry and your freezer — is the secret to pulling something healthy and delicious together. These pantry meals lean on standbys like canned beans and frozen veggies to help you get a wholesome dinner on the table without fuss.

1. Tuna Pasta Bake from Table for Two

This skillet dinner is part tuna casserole and part pasta bake. Want to make it even simpler? Replace the canned crushed tomatoes with jarred marinara sauce (and forgo the onion, garlic, and Italian seasoning as well).

Olive oil braised chickpeas
Photo Credit: Joy the Baker

2. Olive Oil Braised Chickpeas with Feta from Joy the Baker

This is a brilliant way to turn canned chickpeas into something a whole lot more luxe without any fancy ingredients. The beans soak up lots of olive oil as they braise in the oven, which deepens their flavor and texture.

fried rice
Photo Credit: Simply Scratch

3. Easy Vegetable Fried Brown Rice with Egg from Simply Scratch

If you don’t have eggs on hand, go ahead and skip it; the recipe will be just as tasty without it. You can also toss in leftover cooked and shredded chicken, chopped bacon, or crumbled sausage if you have some in the fridge.

Tuscan white bean skillet
Photo Credit: The Wanderlust Kitchen

4. 30-Minute Tuscan White Bean Skillet from The Wanderlust Kitchen

This extra-savory vegetarian dinner makes use of things like jarred artichokes and olives to give it some Mediterranean flair. Serve it with bread on the side or pile it on top of cooked rice or pasta.

Photo Credit: Oh She Glows

5. 8-Minute Pantry Dal from Oh She Glows

Yes, this spicy mix of red lentils and vegetables really does come together in 8 minutes. While the recipe calls for 4 cups of chopped vegetables, don’t hesitate to use an equal amount of mixed frozen vegetables like broccoli, carrots, and corn if that’s what you have.

Salmon cakes
Photo Credit: Feasting at Home

6. Simple Salmon Cakes from Feasting at Home

Canned tuna may get more attention than canned salmon, but it’s well worth keeping both on hand. Here, a couple of cans become crispy patties that can be enjoyed as is or tucked between bread for a satisfying sandwich.

Healthy pantry dinners
Photo Credit: Making Thyme for Health

7. 15-Minute Tomato Soup from Making Thyme for Health

This cozy tomato soup comes together with just a handful of ingredients, including white beans which give each bowl a satisfying dose of protein and fiber.


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Good food brings people together.
So do good emails.