What to Make With Those Pantry Staples You’ve Had Hanging Around Forever

Alison Roman

With all of the uncertainty that lays ahead of us (and all of the panic buying that has been taking place) it’s probably a good time to have a few new recipes under your belt, especially ones that use common pantry staples.

We’ve curated a handful of recipes that use said pantry staples, but can also be adapted should you be missing something. As we’ll be spending much more time indoors for the foreseeable, cooking could become a welcome distraction for you.

Happy cooking!

Canned or dried lentils

If you’ve got a tonne of canned or dried lentils, then it’s time to make some dahl. This lentil dish is a staple in Indian and Pakistani cuisine and consists of mainly pantry staples. So, it’s great for those moments when you’re running low on fresh food.

Queer Eye’s fashion expert Tan France uploaded his dahl recipe to Instagram, so we’re most definitely going to be referring to his recipe for dinner.

Odd shaped pasta

Is it just us, or does everyone have some randomly shaped pasta in their pantry that never gets used? Just us…? Anyway! If you’ve all run out of penne and spaghetti, lean into the weird pasta, friends!

The clever folks over at Bon Appetit have created the most comforting meal we’ve ever seen (and we can all use a little comfort at the moment!). The recipe itself is called Adult “SpaghettiOs” and is based on the popular canned spaghetti brand in the United States. So, dive into some meatballs and tubular pasta the next time you’re staring into your pantry with a blank look.


Bag of buckwheat

A few short years ago buckwheat groats were popping up in every recipe, so it wouldn’t be surprising if you had a random bag of untouched buckwheat sitting in your cupboard right now. If that’s you (and the buckwheat is still in date), this Mushroom and Leek Buckwheat Risotto by nutritionist Jessica Cox looks pretty damn good.

Buckwheat is a naturally gluten-free grain that has a nutty taste, so once paired with mushies and leek will be a treat!

Canned (or dried) chickpeas and coconut milk

This recipe uses two common pantry staples to create a nourishing and filling meal. The Spiced Chickpea Stew with Coconut and Tumeric by Alison Roman for NYT Cooking is simply known as #thestew to Roman’s fans.

Filled with garlic and spices, this “stew” is basically just a great chickpea curry that uses mostly pantry staples, so it’s a good addition to your weekly meal plan.


While pancakes aren’t a revelation, the humble breakfast food is often forgotten. But, pancakes are the perfect food for when things are looking a little bare in the fridge as we imagine everyone has flour sitting in the pantry And, while things feel extremely uncertain at the moment, taking pleasure in the little things is super important. So, if pancakes do that for you, run with it.

There are soooo many pancake recipes on the Internet, so you can literally take your pick but this One-Cup Pancakes recipes from Jamie Oliver is super duper easy. Feel free to add whatever toppings you have/fancy.

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