Easy Pantry Recipes for Quick and Frugal Meals

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A well-stocked pantry is full of possibilities. With a little imagination, all kinds of meals are within reach. Whether you are a convert from the covid era to its beauty or have enjoyed the wonders of shelf stable and frozen foods for years, being able to cook delicious meals with what you have on hand is a skill that all the world should own.

Sure, you can just open a box of mac and cheese or pop a frozen pizza in the oven and call it a day, but pantry cooking can be so much more than that. That’s why I’ve made it my mission to regularly share pantry-friendly recipes designed to be quick, thrifty, and most importantly, full of flavor.

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Sometimes that means quick pasta with flavors that go beyond basic spaghetti and pot sauce. It can also mean exploring a few grocery aisles and their ingredients that might be new to you and using them to create tacos, dumplings, and noodle dishes.

These recipes have been designed to work exclusively with shelf stable, frozen and other ingredients that you can keep on hand to help you avoid those extra trips to the store.

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The pantry recipes I’ve shared on Voraciously so far are included below. Bookmark this page and be sure to come back every month or so to find a new one.

Pasta With Artichokes, Capers And Toasted Breadcrumbs, above. This pasta has a salty punch thanks to the artichokes and marinated capers. It’s topped with seasoned, toasted breadcrumbs for a delicious crunch.

Spam and Pineapple Fried Rice. Fried rice is a great dish to use just about any ingredient you can think of. This version is a nod to Hawaiian pizza with golden Spam cubes and caramelized pineapple.

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Black bean and pumpkin stew with pasta. A can of pumpkin puree lends luxurious body to this black bean and orzo stew. Whole coriander and cumin seeds add bursts of flavor and texture when you bite into them for a welcome surprise. Add even more crunch by serving it with croutons on top.

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Chipotle Jackfruit and Black Bean Tacos. Canned chipotle sauce adds tons of flavor — and a fair amount of heat — to these vegan jackfruit and black bean tacos. This recipe is as easy as heating all three ingredients together in a skillet with a few spices and serving the filling with tortillas and your favorite taco toppings.

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Spicy soba noodles with peanuts and green beans. Hot Take: This peanut sauce can make even the leather of shoes palatable. Instead of pouring it over your favorite pair of sneakers, toss it with soba noodles and vegetables from the freezer for a quick and satisfying meal.

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Mushroom Balls. While I love frozen pre-made ravioli as much as the next person, it can be fun — and still pretty quick for a weeknight — to fill and fold them yourself. Canned mushrooms, bamboo shoots, hoisin sauce, and chili-garlic sauce make up the filling that goes into frozen dumpling packages. I recommend looking for some hoisin sauce to add to your pantry if it’s not already there, otherwise you can use barbecue sauce mixed with a little miso paste or soy sauce instead.

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Marinara Pasta, Olives and Clams. Pasta with marinara sauce is classic, albeit basic and a note. This dish takes it a step further with chopped kalamata olives, canned clams, whole fennel seeds and crushed red pepper flakes for a chorus of flavors.

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Polenta with Chickpeas and Tomatoes. If you’re craving a warm and comforting dish, look no further. Top with a sprinkle of grated parmesan or pecorino cheese for extra flavor.

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Pan-fried mushrooms, white beans and rice. This unique dish is packed with umami thanks to canned mushrooms, cream of mushroom soup and Worcestershire sauce. Top it with French’s Crispy Fried Onions for a little crunch.

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Corn and Cheese Grits with Crispy Pepperoni. Oats don’t need to be confined to sweet dishes, and this corn and cheese oatmeal recipe is just one example of the savory side of the ingredient. Parmesan gives this dish a risotto-like creaminess and crispy pepperoni strips add texture and spice.

Creamy Roasted Seaweed Bucatini. This recipe is adapted from food writer Eric Kim’s first cookbook, “Korean American,” in which he calls seasoned roasted seaweed “one of the greatest Korean pantry items of all time.” Here, he adds maritime umami to a creamy garlic paste.

Pasta Salad with Sundried Tomatoes and White Beans. Sun-dried tomatoes — tangy, sweet, and packed with umami — are a powerful ingredient, and they shine in this pasta salad recipe with white beans that add creaminess, a hint of earth, and filling protein .

This tuna salad is light and bright with white beans and capers

Corn soup with coconut and crispy chili. Use fresh, frozen or canned corn to enjoy this vegan soup any time of year. Top with your favorite brand of crisp chili for a sweet and spicy comforting bowl.

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