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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.