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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

15 Pantry Meals You Can Make in 30 Minutes

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When you’re short on time and ingredients, these 15 Pantry Meals will help you get a healthy, hearty meal in the table in 30 minutes or less!

pantry meals, whole wheat pasta, chili, tikka masala, stir fry, quesadilla, black bean burger

If you’re anything like me you sometimes find yourself with an empty fridge and a hungry family to feed. For those times when you haven’t been able to make a trip to the grocery store, or you’re trying to stretch the ingredients you already have on hand, these pantry meals will come in handy.

What are pantry meals?

Pantry meals are those types of meals you can pull together using a few staple canned ingredients as well as items such as pasta, rice, and quinoa that keep for a long period of time. Shelf stable vegetables are also included such as onions, potatoes, and squash that can stay fresh for an extended period of time.

What are some pantry staples I should keep on hand?

I recommend a few of the following items to stock up on so that even when you haven’t made a trip to the grocery store, you can still pull together an easy and delicious meal. You don’t need to have all of these on hand at all times, but if you have a good number from each category below you’ll be able to make any of the meals on this list!

Canned or Jarred Foods

Keeping a selection of organic canned or jarred foods means that you won’t have to run to the store to create a heatlhy and delicious meal in a hurry.

  • Canned tomatoes: This comes in handy to make chilis, soups, pasta sauces, and stir-fries.
  • Canned beans: Add to your chilis, soups, tacos, salads, nachos, or enjoy as a side dish.
  • Canned fruit (with no sugar added): This makes a simple dessert on its own, or create a bake, crumble, or oatmeal.
  • Canned vegetables like pumpkin puree, butternut squash puree, whole green beans or peas (no sugar added): These can make sauces, or soups in a hurry.
  • Pasta Sauce: A must for those nights when you don’t have much, but some pasta and sauce!
  • Salsa: Adds flavor to your salads, tacos, nachos, and makes a simple snack with chips.
  • Coconut Milk: Added to curries, soups, or used to create dairy free desserts.

Grains and Dry Items

These grains and dried goods have a long shelf life. They will fill out your meals and give them the added bulk they need to fill you up and feel satisfied.

  • Dried beans: Much less expensive than canned beans, dried beans are a great source of inexpensive protein. Make a large batch and use throughout the week.
  • Dried Lentils: High in plant protein and quick cooking, lentils can be added to soups, stews, curries, on top of salads, to pasta sauces, and so much more!
  • Quinoa: A grain that is a good source of protein. It is also quick cooking, so perfect to use in place of rice.
  • Farro or Barley: Both are grains that have a chewy texture. Make salads, soups, or create a simple side dish.
  • Rice (any kind – brown, wild, white, etc): Having rice on hand is essential. Pairs well with your stir-fries and curries.
  • Oats: Used to make oatmeal in the morning, but also can be used in savory dishes.
  • Whole grain pasta (or even legume based pastas are great for extra protein): A selection of healthy pastas is important to have in hand to create quick meals your family will love.

Shelf Stable Items

  • Vegetable Stock: Will be used for soups, stews, chilis, curries, and can be used in place of oil to sauté vegetables.
  • Nuts & Seeds: Add nuts to your salads and meals for extra crunch, healthy fats, and added protein.
  • Nut Butters: Create quick sandwiches, and add creaminess to some of your coconut based sauces.
  • Spices: Essential for added flavor in all your favorite dishes.
  • Olive Oil, Coconut Oil: These are the healthiest oils to use in your cooking. Use them sparingly to sauté vegetables, and create dessert recipes.

Long-Lasting Produce

Having long lasting shelf stable produce means you don’t have to worry about your vegetables going bad too fast. This produce can be added to your soups and stews, create stir-fries, make a pasta sauce, and so much more.

  • Potatoes or Sweet Potatoes: Baked, steamed, mashed, or stuffed potatoes and sweet potatoes can make a meal when you add some fresh vegetables, and plant protein.
  • Winter Squash: Will last quite awhile when kept in a cool dark place. You can roast your squash, and stuff it with additional ingredients. Or serve as a side dish, make it into a soup.
  • Cabbage: Make cabbage rolls, add to soup, braise.
  • Root Veggies (carrots, parsnips, etc.): These are excellent for creating a rich flavor in soups and stews, but also taste great when roasted.
  • Peppers: Stuff them rice and beans, chop them up to add to your sauces, stir-fries, and soups. Cut them into think slices and enjoy them fresh as a snack.
  • Onions: I use onions in virtually every savory dish. They add such flavor, and good for you too!
  • Garlic: Another staple, to add rich flavor.
  • Lemons/Limes: Will keep a bit longer and add a touch of necessary acidity to many dishes.

Frozen Items

Frozen vegetables and fruits can be as nutritious, if not more so, than fresh!

  • Some frozen vegetables I love are: broccoli, mixed vegetables, cauliflower, spinach, beans, corn, peas, edamame.
  • Frozen fruit works great in smoothies: frozen berries, bananas, mango, peaches, cherries, pineapple. You can also buy fruit fresh and freeze it.
  • Bread and tortillas freeze perfectly – so buy them fresh and put them in your freezer!


Dairy based items like cheeses, yogurt, cottage cheese, and eggs will all keep for ~3 weeks in the fridge. They aren’t necessarily pantry “staples” but you can stock up probably once every few weeks and get away with using these items for a while!

What if I don’t have all the ingredients?

The great thing about these recipes is that they are adaptable. If you don’t have fresh veggies, use frozen or canned. If you don’t have one ingredient, simply leave it out. If you don’t have one type of veggie substitute it for one you do have. Or if the recipe calls for quinoa and you only have rice, use that instead!

What can I make with food in my pantry?

When you’re short on time, but have a stocked pantry, you can make a quick dinner in no time at all. These are my go-to meals using pantry ingredients.

  • Whole wheat pasta with marinara sauce and fresh spinach
  • Vegetable soup using vegetable stock, canned tomatoes, and shelf stable produce.
  • Chili, using beans, peppers, onion, canned tomatoes and spices.
  • Stuffed peppers, with rice, cheese and beans.
  • Stuffed baked potatoes, either russet or sweet potatoes.
  • Sheet pan nachos with black beans, salsa, and whatever fresh produce I have in the fridge.
  • Rice and beans, with mixed vegetables.
  • Stir-Fires with rice and frozen vegetables. I add tofu, or tempeh for added protein.
  • Breakfast for dinner! Make pancakes, oatmeal with fruit, or a tofu scramble!

15 Pantry Meals You Can Make in 30 Minutes

Here is a list of some of my favorite pantry meals. From soups, to pastas, to salads, and pizzas, I’ve got you covered with inspiring ideas for meal time.

Lebanese Lentil Soup

A rich and flavorful Lebanese Lentil Soup made with spinach and served with a dollop of cool yogurt and cilantro is hearty, healthy, and easy dish to pull together for a weeknight meal.

closeup of moroccan chickpea soup served in a white bowl with cilantro garnish

Vegetarian White Bean Soup with Pumpkin

This Vegetarian White Bean Soup with Pumpkin is healthy, delicious and really easy to make! The white beans give the soup a creamy taste and the pumpkin delivers a rich warmth that’ll have you coming back for more!

spoonful of vegetarian white bean soup with pumpkin, served in white bowls, topped with pumpkin seeds

Instant Pot Tomato Soup with Cumin

This Instant Pot Tomato Soup is creamy and delicious with the perfect amount of subtle spice. Less than 75 calories per serving it’s a healthy, hearty and easy to make classic recipe.

instant pot tomato soup pictured in a white bowl against a wooden background with a grilled cheese sandwich on the side

Spicy Potato Corn Chowder

This spicy potato corn chowder is packed full of fresh ingredients and a blend of delicious spices. Dairy-free, and low in calories it’s a decadent soup to be enjoyed without the guilt!

potato corn chowder - spicy, dairy-free, served in a blue bowl with fresh corn, tomatoes, and a corn chip as garnishes with a spoon in the bowl

Whole Wheat Pasta Recipe

This easy, tasty, healthy Whole Wheat Pasta Recipe is easy to make when you’re in a hurry! Full of flavor and loaded with veggies, this family friendly supper will be a sure fire hit!

whole wheat pasta recipe topped with spinach, pasta sauce, parmesan cheese on a white plate, top view

Pasta with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto and Feta

This whole wheat pasta dish is made with a delicious sun-dried tomato pesto and topped with crumbled feta. Packed with flavor, and easy and quick to make for a healthy weeknight meal.

pasta with sun-dried tomato pesto pantry meal

Cheesy Quinoa and Black Bean Casserole

A lightened-up, healthy quinoa bake that you can enjoy completely guilt-free. Reminiscent of enchiladas, slightly spicy and super satisfying, full of black beans, veggies, and cheesy goodness.

pantry meal cheesy quinoa and black bean casserole

Spicy Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash

How about breakfast for dinner? This sweet potato breakfast hash is packed full of flavor, and makes a great brunch, side dish or even main meal! Packed full of veggies and plant protein this is a one pan meal that’s easy to make.

A bowl of sweet potato hash with a fork in it

Vegan Tikka Masala with Tofu

This vegan tikka masala with tofu is quick, healthy, easy and oh so tasty! Packed full of delicious Indian spices, this recipe is a perfect option for a weeknight meal. Made with coconut milk, this mild curry will be a hit with the whole family!

vegan tikka masala with tofu pantry meal

Vegan Chana Masala

This Vegan Chana Masala tastes like something you’d order from a fantastic Indian restaurant. It’s a healthy, gluten-free, naturally vegan, yet still rich and flavorful with the perfect amount of heat. 

vegan chana masala pantry meal

Instant Pot Pinto Beans Vegan Posole

This easy Instant Pot Pinto Beans Vegan Posole is a delicious Mexican stew that is packed full of flavor. Ready in just 30 minutes, with rich spices, crunchy veggies, and chewy hominy – this healthy soup is perfect for a quick one-pot meal.

instant pot pinto beans pantry meal

Vegetarian Quesadillas with Cumin and Lentils

These Vegetarian Quesadillas with Cumin and Lentils is a simple weeknight meal you can pull together in 30 minutes or less. Tortillas are stuffed with toasted cumin seeds, lentils, corn, cheese, then topped with fresh pico de gallo. It’s a kid friendly meal your family will love!

lentil quesadilla pantry meal

Vegetable Stir Fry Sauce with Lemon and Ginger

This healthy vegetable stir fry sauce tossed with fresh or frozen veggies, tofu and quinoa is a quick and easy vegan weeknight meal. It’s loaded with flavor from lemon and ginger, and is ready in just 15 minutes!

vegetable stir fry on gray plate with quinoa

Mexican Taco Casserole

This healthy one pot meal is perfect when you need to get dinner on the table in a hurry!

mexican taco casserole in pan pantry meal

Budget Friendly Black Bean Burgers

These vegetarian black bean burgers are easy and quick to make, so they are perfect for a healthy weeknight meal. 

Homemade vegetarian black bean burger on whole wheat bun, topped with baby spinach, tomato, onion and served with home fries on the side

Check out these other helpful recipe round-ups!

If you have tried any of these pantry meal recipes, or any other recipe on my blog, then please rate it and let me know how it turned out in the comments below! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOKTWITTERINSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more delicious, healthy, family friendly food!

Posted In…

Quick Meals ·

Delicious, healthy food can be a part of your family’s diet even if you’ve had a busy day. My make-ahead overnight oats and Instant Pot meals are the perfect dishes to make in a hurry.

These meals are fast and easy to make. Get all of the flavor with none of the fuss!

Also posted in Healthy Kids · Recipes · Entrees · Vegetarian

8 responses to “15 Pantry Meals You Can Make in 30 Minutes”

  1. This is such a good roundup!! Bookmarking this page so that I can make some of these next week! 🙂

  2. These are so helpful for any quick dinner. I love these! I think I’ll try these. Thanks!

  3. Yum, there are so many recipes here, all 15 in fact that I want to try! Diced tomatoes are my ultimate favourite to cook with as they are rich in flavour. Thanks for the suggestions.

    • Yay!! I love cooking with canned diced tomatoes as well! Saves time, cheaper, and they’re actually healthier than fresh tomatoes because they have more lycopene (antioxidant!) win win!

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