If you’ve had a busy day at the office or shuffling children, sometimes tackling dinner is the last thing on your mind, but I know you want wholesome plant-based food. What’s a busy cook supposed to do? Pull from your canned and packaged whole food cupboard quickies.
Although you may have time to prepare homemade beans and cook your whole grains, this list is for those days when you just don’t have the energy or willpower to make it happen.
We all have days like this. I think even purists will find these products have all the nutrition that a whole-foods, plant-based cook needs although you might want to watch the sodium content. And, while many canned and packaged items are not whole foods, many do fit the bill for sticking to a plant-based diet.
If you're lucky enough to have one nearby, check out my list of plant-based foods from Trader Joe's to help you fill the pantry.
You might also be interested in what else I recommend for stocking your pantry. This post, "How to Stock Your Plant-Based Pantry" includes everything and also a downloadable list of what I usually purchase every week.
49 Quick Recipes Using Pantry Staples
Here's your list of items for your pantry and 49 recipes that can be made using them. Be sure to purchase low sodium versions is you're concerned about salt.
CANNED ORGANIC TOMATOES
Purchase diced, chopped, crushed, stewed, and whole tomatoes and tomato paste. Look for those that are BPA-free if you can find them (Trader Joe's And Eden Brand).
JARRED PASTA SAUCE
Trader Joes’ Fat-Free Organic Classic Tomato Pasta Sauce, Whole Foods 365 Brand
PRE-MADE RICE AND/OR QUINOA
Seeds of Change has several pre-made styles of rice: quinoa and brown rice, Spanish rice, Caribbean rice, brown & red rice with kale & chia, that can be purchased from several stores: Costco, Target, Whole Foods, Vitacost, Amazon and more.
BOXED OR CANNED PRE-MADE LENTILS
Trader Joe’s or Eden canned cooked lentils from Whole Foods or Target. Eden and Trader Joe’s canned products are preferred because they have no BPA lining.
FROZEN ORGANIC VEGETABLES
Vegetables like broccoli, corn, cauliflower, peas, spinach, kale, peppers, mixed veggies, potatoes, green beans, edamame, butternut squash, asparagus, mixed root veggies, mixed mushrooms. I don’t typically use frozen vegetables when I cook so I’m not sure how these will work for you. I’d love to hear what works for you.
ALL WHOLE-GRAIN PASTA
That includes spaghetti, rigatoni, capellini, and more.
BPA-FREE CANNED BEANS
Try Eden or Trader Joe's brands or see this list of BPA-free cans. Aduki, black, black-eyed peas, black soybeans butter, cannellini, garbanzo, kidney, navy, pinto, and small red beans. Also, refried beans.
There are many brands, but Imagine won the taste test at thekitchn.com
WHOLE GRAIN FLOUR AND CORN TORTILLAS
Corn tortillas are made with very few ingredients, usually corn and water. Look for non-GMO. Flour tortillas are made with wheat and some oil. Some are more nutritious than others so read labels carefully.
A great source of omega 3s and for use as a thickener, egg replacer, or added nutrition.
These are high in protein and are a great substitute for meat. They're made from select, non-GMO, whole soybeans and grown without chemical pesticides. Amazon Link: Soy Curls
Here's my two recipes with soy curls. (new addition)
These are made from select, non-GMO whole soybeans grown without chemical pesticides. Re-hydrate them with water or warm vegetable stock and use them in any recipe you want a meaty texture.
GREEN JACK FRUIT
Green jackfruit is not sweet and is a good substitute for shredded meat. You can purchase it at Amazon*, Whole Foods, and other stores.
There are certainly more cupboard staples that can be used in your whole-foods, plant-based recipes and I'd love to hear what you've made with the items you keep in your cupboard. Please share in the comments below.
Add to the List
Help us out. If you know of a store-bought food item that lends itself to use in a plant-based recipe, please add it to the comments below! 👍