Once upon a time, my meal planning looked like this: I’d decide what I wanted to cook, made a list of the ingredients, and went to the grocery store to buy them.
These days, it tends to look more like this: I look around in the kitchen — especially in the pantry — to see what we already have, and then plan a meal around that. Often, especially when it’s harvesting season in the garden, the trip to the grocery store can be skipped altogether.
I love cooking from the pantry. I love the sense of food security that rows of large glass jars, filled with staples such as whole grains and beans, can bring. I love being able to reduce food packaging waste by buying in bulk, in bags we rotate, and to reduce plastics leaching into our foods by storing food in glass instead. I love the fact that this habit quite naturally makes us eat primarily whole as opposed to processed foods. And yes, I’m lazy enough to love not having to go to the grocery store multiple times a week to pick up a can of beans one day and a box of rice the next. Oh, and did I mention that we’re also saving money this way?
Here are some of my favorite meals that have their basis in our pantry:
- black bean and roasted sweet potato burgers (brown rice, black beans, cornmeal)
- sprouted wheat-free crepes (quinoa, buckwheat)
- the Moosewood vegetarian chili (kidney beans, cracked wheat) with corn bread (whole wheat flour, corn meal)
- “Eggs in a Nest” from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (brown rice, sundried tomatoes)
- my favorite granola from here (oats, shredded coconut, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax, almonds)
- the Moosewood split pea soup (split peas)
- kasha varnishkes with egg noodles (buckwheat groats, egg noodles)