Even when you map out your meals for the week, things don't always go according to plan. Maybe you used up groceries for an unexpected dinner guest earlier in the week. Maybe your chicken spoiled before you could get to it, or you just want to swap in a less labour-intensive recipe.
But instead of lugging your butt back to the grocery store, or reaching for that takeout menu, take a closer look at your pantry and freezer. There's a good chance you can whip up something really simple and delicious.
We stripped down some of our favourite recipes to make them work for us when we're in a pinch. Here's our list of ridiculously easy, last-minute meals using common ingredients you can find in your pantry or freezer. All you need to add are seasonings and any leftover veggies from the week 👌
1. Coconut Chickpea Curry
Chickpeas + Coconut Milk + Curry Powder
With the exception of salt, this is all you really need for an ultra simplified version of our Coconut Chickpea Curry recipe. Bonus points if you have leftover veggies and rice or quinoa.
2. Lentil Masala Soup
Lentils + Diced Tomatoes + Garam Masala + Coconut Milk
It's no secret our Lentil Masala Soup is a favourite among our members. We've tested numerous variations of this soup and it never disappoints.
3. Simple Marinara Pasta
Image via Eat Within Your Means
Pasta + Crushed Tomatoes + Frozen Mixed Veggies
Nothing fancy. Some nights you just want to (and only have time to) keep it simple. Just add a generous pinch of dried basil, salt and pepper, and dinner is served.
4. Burrito Soup
Black Beans + Frozen Corn + Diced Tomatoes + Cumin + Chilli Powder
This is the bare bones of our super heart-warming Slow Cooker Burrito Soup. Make it on the stove top with quinoa to save time, unless you have leftover rice that can just be tossed in!
5. Veggie Quinoa Fried Rice
Image via Gimme Some Oven
Quinoa + Frozen Mixed Veggies + Paprika + Tamari
A twist on our Shrimp Fried Rice using quinoa to curb those takeout cravings! If you have eggs, definitely add that to the mix.
6. Corn & White Bean Gazpacho
Corn + Diced Tomatoes + White Beans
Add all 3 ingredients in a blender with water and voila! Soup for dinner! Either canned or frozen corn would work. A splash of vinegar or lemon juice would take it up a notch but not necessary.
7. Hummus Snack Plate
Image via Bojon Gourmet
Hummus for dinner is nothing to be ashamed about. It's a great source of protein and dietary fiber. You can blend up a basic recipe using chickpeas, olive oil and salt (plus tahini and vinegar if you have it). Serve it with crackers, spread on toast or scoop it into a bowl with leftover roasted veggies.
8. Spinach Pesto Pasta
Frozen Spinach + Sunflower Seeds + Olive Oil + Pasta
While your pasta is cooking, make a quick pesto using thawed spinach, any seeds or nuts you have on hand, olive oil and salt. This one is great for when you're behind on grocery shopping and lacking in dark leafy greens!
What are your staple pantry and freezer ingredients? Do you have any go-to last-minute meals? Share with us in the comments below!