Pantry cooking tips and recipes during times of social distancing

Condiments once considered exotic — such as miso, tahini, harissa, gochujang and kimchi — are now mainstream in restaurants and home kitchens. STYLING BY SUSAN PUCKETT / CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY
Condiments once considered exotic — such as miso, tahini, harissa, gochujang and kimchi — are now mainstream in restaurants and home kitchens. STYLING BY SUSAN PUCKETT / CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

If you are pondering what to cook as you prepare for social distancing, check out this article from last year about "cooking smarter" from contributor Meridith Ford. She shares tips for cooking without recipes and using the full breadth of your pantry, along with a few recipe suggestions. Then, try a few of these easy recipes featuring pantry staples like canned goods, pasta and other dried or frozen foods.

Make the most of ingredients you already have with this tasty, healthy and oh-so-flexible recipe. CONTRIBUTED BY KELLIE HYNES
Make the most of ingredients you already have with this tasty, healthy and oh-so-flexible recipe. CONTRIBUTED BY KELLIE HYNES

ExplorePantry Pad Thai is the ‘I can’t think about dinner’ dinner
Easy Pasta Carbonara. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS
Easy Pasta Carbonara. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS

ExploreThe fastest way to weeknight pasta carbonara

Pasta shells with lamb, pesto and peas.
Pasta shells with lamb, pesto and peas.

ExploreMake this winter weeknight pasta that tastes like spring
Split red lentils cook up fast and flavor-packed in this easy Lentil Curry. CONTRIBUTED BY KELLIE HYNES
Split red lentils cook up fast and flavor-packed in this easy Lentil Curry. CONTRIBUTED BY KELLIE HYNES

ExploreServe Lentil Curry with your favorite in-stock carb, like basmati rice or naan bread
Lentil Curry
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup dried split red lentils, rinsed and picked through
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can of diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves, packed
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Saute the onion until it’s soft, approximately 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, approximately 30 seconds. Add the broth, lentils, tomatoes, curry powder, cumin and cayenne pepper. Stir, bring to a boil, and reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot with a lid that is tilted to allow the steam to escape. Let the curry simmer for 10 minutes. Add the spinach, stir, and return the tilted lid, cooking an additional 5-10 minutes more until the lentils are soft. Stir in the lemon juice and salt. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve Lentil Curry over cooked basmati rice, couscous, or with naan bread. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro. Serves 2-4.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving, based on 2 servings: 581 calories (percent of calories from fat, 26), 47 grams protein, 77 grams carbohydrates, 34 grams fiber, 20 grams fat (2 grams saturated), no cholesterol, 399 milligrams sodium.
Even carnivores will appreciate Four Alarm Three Bean Chili from “Wait, That’s Vegan?!” by Lisa Dawn Angerame, Page Street Publishing Co. 2019. CONTRIBUTED BY ALEX SHYTSMAN
Even carnivores will appreciate Four Alarm Three Bean Chili from “Wait, That’s Vegan?!” by Lisa Dawn Angerame, Page Street Publishing Co. 2019. CONTRIBUTED BY ALEX SHYTSMAN

ExploreA meaty chili without the meat
Four Alarm Three Bean Chili
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed, diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • A few big pinches of salt
  • 2 carrots, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup cooked black beans
  • 1 cup cooked kidney beans
  • 1 cup cooked pinto beans
  • 1 cup frozen or canned corn
  • 1 (14-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Heat a big pot over medium-low heat and add the oil. When it is shimmering, add the onion. Cook until the onion is translucent, 3 or 4 minutes. Add the garlic, jalapeño, red pepper flakes and salt. Cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add the carrots and bell peppers, and saute for 5 minutes, until the vegetables start to soften. Add the nutritional yeast, chili powder, coriander, Mexican oregano, cumin, chipotle powder, cocoa powder and cinnamon. Stir around to coat the vegetables. Add the tomato paste and use a wooden spoon to mix it around, cooking it for 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Add the beans, corn and tomato sauce to the pot. Add the water to the can and swirl it around so that you get the rest of whatever is left and stir it into the vegetables.
  • Bring to a high simmer, cover, and cook for 25 to 30 minutes until everything is seasoned and heated through. When the chili is done cooking, add the lime juice.
  • If desired, serve the chili with avocado slices or guacamole, sour cream or a dairy-free sour cream, such as Tofutti, toasted pumpkin seeds and lime wedges. Serves 4.
  • Note: A can of beans yields about 1 1⁄2 cups, which is more than this recipe calls for. But don’t waste them; freeze them for up to 3 months.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving, without toppings: 351 calories (percent of calories from fat, 13), 18 grams protein, 62 grams carbohydrates, 18 grams fiber, 5 grams fat (1 gram saturated), no cholesterol, 976 milligrams sodium.

Reprinted with permission from “Wait, That’s Vegan?!” by Lisa Dawn Angerame, Page Street Publishing Co. 2019.

The filling of Onion Pie Supreme can be one or two layers. CONTRIBUTED BY PAULA PONTES
The filling of Onion Pie Supreme can be one or two layers. CONTRIBUTED BY PAULA PONTES

ExploreUse sweet Georgia onions in this savory pie recipe
This guilt-free chocolate pudding is made from avocados and love. The recipe is “From Half the Sugar, All the Love” (Workman Publishing, 2019) by Jennifer Tyler Lee and Anisha Patel, MD, MSPH. CONTRIBUTED BY ERIN SCOTT
This guilt-free chocolate pudding is made from avocados and love. The recipe is “From Half the Sugar, All the Love” (Workman Publishing, 2019) by Jennifer Tyler Lee and Anisha Patel, MD, MSPH. CONTRIBUTED BY ERIN SCOTT

ExploreLove and sweetness in a low-sugar dessert
Chocolate Pudding
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate chips (about 1/3 cup)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened almond butter
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 10 to 12 ounces ripe Hass avocado, peeled and pitted (2 small to medium avocados)
  • Fresh raspberries (optional)
  • Place the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until melted, about 1 minute total.
  • Pour the almond milk into a high-powered blender. Add the melted chocolate, cocoa powder, brown sugar, almond butter, vanilla, salt and avocados and process until smooth and no chunks of avocado remain, about 2 minutes.
  • Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  • Divide among 10 small cups. Top each with fresh raspberries, if desired. Serves 10.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving: 142 calories, 2 grams protein, 14 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 2 grams saturated fat, 7 grams added sugar, 136 milligrams sodium.
To give some body to Garlicky White Bean Soup with Smoked Paprika and Lemon, you need to smash about half of the simmered beans into the broth while preparing the soup. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS
To give some body to Garlicky White Bean Soup with Smoked Paprika and Lemon, you need to smash about half of the simmered beans into the broth while preparing the soup. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS

Quick Sichuan-Style Pork Chops.
Quick Sichuan-Style Pork Chops.

Soothe both mind and body with nourishing shakshuka, which is basically eggs poached in warm tomato sauce. You can add extra vegetables and cheese, but don’t forget the smoked paprika. CONTRIBUTED BY KELLIE HYNES
Soothe both mind and body with nourishing shakshuka, which is basically eggs poached in warm tomato sauce. You can add extra vegetables and cheese, but don’t forget the smoked paprika. CONTRIBUTED BY KELLIE HYNES

Want a no-stress meal that's simply delicious? Whip up shakshuka

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