Uncover Culinary Gold from Basic Pantry Staples

Posted: January 24, 2022 4:57 pm

Your pantry should be well-stocked to serve as the source of flavorful impromptu meals or when the refrigerator is bare. Pantry recipes can rock.

Basic Easy Pantry Recipes

Everybody fails to remember to visit the grocers once in a while. That’s why it’s important to keep your pantry well-stocked with the basics of good cooking so that you never run completely out of meal options. The basic ingredients to keep handy in your pantry include the following categories.

Dry ingredients:

  • Various types of rice
  • Different types of macaroni and pasta
  • Red, black and green lentils
  • Couscous, polenta or cornmeal
  • Flour
  • Flour tortillas
  • Salsa
  • Dried bread crumbs including panko
  • Sugar, honey and other natural sweeteners
  • Vegetable and olive oil
  • Jellies and preserves
  • Nuts and nut butters
  • Rolled oats
  • Preferred hot sauces
  • Chocolate and cocoa powder
  • Dried beans of various types
  • Salt, pepper and other spices and dried herbs
  • Powdered milk for emergencies when your supply runs out

Canned Ingredients

  • Tomatoes, tomato paste and tomato sauce
  • Black, red and pinto beans
  • Mushrooms
  • Chicken, beef and vegetable broth
  • Coconut milk
  • Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • Chickpeas
  • Canned tuna

Pantry Vegetables with a Long Shelf Life

  • Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Garlic
  • Squash
  • Carrots
  • Shallots
  • Cabbage

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You probably already have most of these items. Just remember to use them up before they expire. Rotate them to use first before using any replacements you buy. You’re ready for your first easy pantry recipe.

Recipe for Black-eyed Pea Soup

Recipe Link: black-eyed pea soup

This soup is filling and delicious as is, and it’s perfect for a lazy day when you don’t want to go shopping. It’s easy to start in the morning, and you can enjoy the soup for lunch and dinner.


  • 1 pound of dried black-eyed peas
  • ¼ pound of thick cut bacon, salt pork or leftover meat like ham or turkey
  • 1 ham hock or leftover turkey leg
  • 1 large diced onion
  • 1 medium chopped carrot
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 ribs of diced celery
  • 1.5 cups frozen or leftover greens, preferably collard
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • ½ cup cooked rice, your choice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cans chicken broth

Preparation Method

Sort the dried peas, and remove any pebbles and debris. Rinse and drain the peas under cold water, and cover the peas with 5 cups of fresh water. Bring the pot to a boil, cook for one minute and remove from the heat. Cover, and let the beans soak for an hour. In the meantime, add the olive oil to a skillet, and cook the meat until crispy or the leftover meat starts to brown lightly. Remove the bacon or meat, chop into fine pieces and store in the refrigerator. Add the chopped celery, carrots and onions, and sauté until translucent. Add the finely chopped garlic cloves and greens, and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes until fragrant.

Drain the peas, and add 4 cups of water, the ham hock, chicken broth and vegetables. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for about an hour until the peas are tender. Remove the ham hock, and chop the meat. Add the meat, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish each bowl with the reserved crispy meat.

Suggestion: Serve with cornbread.

Recipe for Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe

Recipe Link: Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe

All too often, spaghetti is made by dumping canned or jarred sauce over overcooked pasta. I’ve always believed that the pasta is as important as the sauce for a flavorful meal, and the flavor doesn’t always have to be the overwhelming tang of tomato-based sauces. This recipe from The Food Network for Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe uses your pantry ingredients for an easy, economical and flavorful meal with real depth. The recipe boasts umami flavor, and it can be made quickly with Parmigiano-Reggiano as the star flavor.


  • 1 pound spaghetti, angel hair, linguini or other pasta
  • ¼ cup of olive oil
  • Salt and black peppercorns
  • 1.5 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, preferably freshly grated

Preparation Method:

Flavorful pasta depends on fast cooking and draining of the pasta to an al dente texture. Bring 6 quarts of water to a rapid boil, and add 4 tablespoons of salt. Add the pasta, and cook to the minimum time recommended for al dente pasta, which means some resistance “to the tooth.” Remove 2 cups of the pasta water, and drain the pasta.

While the pasta cooks, get the finishing ingredients ready by adding the olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of black peppercorns and toast until fragrant, which takes 30 seconds to a minute. Stir in ½ cup of the reserved pasta water and the drained pasta, tossing to coat the pasta. Add 1 cup of the grated cheese off heat, and stir vigorously to melt the cheese and form a creamy sauce. If pasta becomes dry, add more water ¼ cup at a time. The goal is a creamy, flavorful sauce, not watery pasta. Serve immediately, and use the remaining ½ cup of cheese to sprinkle over the top of each serving. The flavor of this simple dish can be astonishing with a high-qualify Parmigiano-Reggiano, but even canned parmesan-Romano provides a gourmet flavor with the toasted peppercorns.

Suggestion: Serve with garlic bread or any crusty French or Italian bread.

Recipe for Cumin Quinoa Patties

Recipe Link: Cumin Quinoa Patties
I consider panko bread crumbs a necessary addition to any well-stocked pantry because they have a light, airy texture and retain less fat and oil when coating fried foods. Making flavorful veggie burgers from basic pantry ingredients seems a stretch, but these cumin quinoa patties defy expectations. This is an excellent choice for sharing a meal with vegetarians or just cutting the number of traditional burgers in your diet.


  • 1 cup of water
  • ½ cup of rinsed quinoa
  • 1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 chopped green onions
  • 1 beaten egg
  • ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
  • Optional sandwich ingredients

Preparation Method:

Bring the 1 cup of water to a boil, and add the quinoa. Cover the saucepan, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the water is absorbed, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and fluff quinoa with a fork. Put the carrot pieces in a food processor, and pulse until chopped. Put in a bowl with the other ingredients, and shape into 8 patties. Fry them in a large skillet over medium heat on both sides until you reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Serve with optional ingredients

Suggestion: Try serving with sour cream for a flavorful tang.

Recipe for 5-Ingredient Vegetarian Burritos With Rice and Beans

Recipe Link: 5-Ingredient Vegetarian Burritos With Rice and Beans

Finding kid-friendly pantry recipes isn’t always easy, but this recipe for vegetarian burritos is healthy, low in fat, economical and easy. If your kids love Mexican flavors, try this alternative to Mexican cuisine that’s nutritious and appealing to kids.

Be sure to choose a salsa that you and your family like because it’s the main ingredient that determines the flavor of the dish. Cook the rice until it’s very tender for the best flavor, and cut burritos in half for smaller children.


  • 1 cup of cooked brown rice
  • ½ cup of rinsed and drained canned black beans
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar or shredded Monterey Jack and cheddar
  • 6 to 8 flour tortillas
  • 1 cup of your favorite salsa

Preparation Method:

Consider whether you have picky eaters, and if you do, run the salsa through a food processor to smooth out the chunks. Stir together all the ingredients except the tortillas. Mound about ¼ to ½ cup on each warmed tortilla, fold the ends inside and roll them up. Place them seam side down on a baking pan lined with parchment or waxed paper and warm them through in the oven.

Suggestion: You can serve deconstructed burritos for toddlers.

Recipe for Easy Sausage and Lentil Soup

Recipe Link: Easy Sausage and Lentil Soup

Sausage and lentils provide a powerful protein punch, and this hearty, flavorful soup is more like a stew or main course. It’s incredibly easy to make and serve because you put all the ingredients into your slow cooker in the morning, and the meal is ready to serve in the evening. Your slow cooker handles all the cooking details.

You can buy precooked chicken sausage or use fully cooked smoked sausage. Just slice on the bias, and you’re done. However, feel free to brown and caramelize the sausage for an even more flavorful dish. You can actually use any kind of lentil, but French lentils work best because they hold their shape when slow-cooked for hours.


  • 2 cups of dried lentils, preferably the French or green variety
  • 12 ounces to 1 pound of chicken, Andouille or other smoked sausage or kielbasa
  • 1 medium chopped onion
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic or sliced garlic for easier removal
  • 3 cups of chopped fresh kale
  • About 6 cups of canned chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, preferably cracked black peppercorns
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme

Preparation Method:

Place all ingredients into your slow cooker, and mix well. Cover the pot, and cook on the low setting for 8 hours. Alternatively, add all ingredients to a Dutch oven, bring to a boil and reduce the heat until the mixture barely simmers. Cover and simmer for 3 to 4 hours, stirring occasionally.

Suggestion: Serve with a gorgeous prepared salad.



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