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.
Also, here's a list of recommended brands from Forks Over Knives.
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 from Your Cupboard
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-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 from 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 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 including spaghetti, rigatoni, capellini, and more.
BPA-free Canned beans from Eden or Trader Joes 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.
Vegetable Stock. 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 oil. Some are more nutritious than others so read labels carefully.
Chia Seeds. A great source of omega 3s and for using as a thickener, egg replacer or added nutrition.
I'm working on recipes that use Soy Curls and Jackfruit.
Soy curls from Butler Foods*. These are made from select, non-GMO whole soybeans grown without chemical pesticides. Re-hydrate them with water or warm vegetable stock and use 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.