Healthy Recipes From Pantry Staples

Denise Austin by Denise Austin | April 9, 2020 | Nutrition

One thing I think we are all doing right now is dining in at home a lot more than we ever have before – so let’s make some healthy recipes from pantry staples! The good news is that when you make your own meals, you are tapping into your creative side, saving money as compared to when you dine out, and you have control over what you put into your meals – so you can healthier while still enjoying every bite! We have been doing a LOT of cooking lately, and it’s actually been fun to revisit some old favorites, including the recipes here!

In the spirit of sharing in these isolating times, I wanted to give you some of my favorite recipes from my 10-Week Whole Body Plan. Enjoy a breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack recipe on me! I tried to choose recipes that rely on pantry staples and refrigerator staples so it is easier for you to make, but I have also offered some swapping suggestions in case you don’t have some of these ingredients.

And here are some cooking and eating tips before you get started:

  • Make cooking fun for you and your family. Give the kids chores – peel a carrot or help wash the veggies. The more everyone is involved, the easier – and more fun! – it will be!
  • Set the table. It may seem like a small thing, but sitting down to a proper meal can give your day more structure. If you have children, task them with creating place cards for each person. If you have teenagers, give them a side dish to prepare. If you are dining alone, light a candle for some ambience. Little things can make a difference!
  • Give yourself a break. If you aren’t feeling up to making a full meal, snack or graze. Some nuts, a homemade bean dip (or store bought!) with cut up veggies, some cheese and crackers… it’s OK to not be 100% focused on health right now. It’s all about doing the best we can, and sometimes that means cutting yourself some slack!!

Ok, on to my favorite recipes… I hope you enjoy these! And if you want more of them, I am offering new members 30 days of free access to my plan, where you can access my complete eating plan! It’s customizable and gives you all the meals plus snacks. It’s a great way to try new recipes that are easy to prepare and healthy, too.

3 Healthy Recipes From Pantry Staples

Fruity Yogurt Parfait
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Creamy Greek yogurt and cereal are combined together with nuts, chia seeds and fresh fruit. This recipe is super easy to sub out ingredients – use whatever fruit you have on hand, cottage cheese can stand in for the yogurt, and if you don’t flax or chia on hand, no worries! You’ll still be getting plenty of healthy nutrients. If you have kids, put all the ingredients in little bowls like a buffet to get them involved in the process! And as an adult, I suggest you choose a cereal high in fiber – good for you in so many ways!


1 (6 ounce) container plain, nonfat Greek yogurt (or soy yogurt for dairy-free version)
1/2 cup berries (fresh or frozen, thawed; or substitute 1/2 cup any preferred fruit)
3/4 cup gluten free cereal (more than 3 grams fiber and less than 5 grams sugar)
2 Tbsp. chopped almonds (or any preferred nut)
2 tsp. chia seeds (or ground flaxseed)

Layer the ingredients into a dish or tall glass, and enjoy!


Quick Salmon Salad

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Perfect for lunchtime, when you need some protein to give you sustainable energy. This salad is so healthy and delicious, and consists of only whole foods, important for keeping your system running smoothly and at its best. Plus it offers up plenty of healthy fats, protein and fiber. If you don’t have salmon, swap out tuna, which is a pantry staple for many of us… if you don’t have capers, mince some pickles or olives. And you can sub in onion powder and any dried herb you have on hand (dill, etc.) for the fresh parsley. Enjoy!


1/2 cup boneless canned salmon
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced red onion
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon capers, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups mixed greens


In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients except the greens, and toss to combine. Serve over mixed greens.

Tofu Stir-Fry with Peanut Sauce

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Delicious pressed and baked tofu should be a pantry staple because it’s so good for you, but if not, I have alternatives! Here, tofu is combined with peanut butter, brown sugar, soy sauce and your favorite colorful veggies, then served with cauliflower rice (you can sub out brown or white rice, too). If you don’t like tofu – or don’t have it on hand, sub in shrimp, chicken, or leave it out altogether and throw a handful of nuts (peanuts or cashews would be delicious) on top for protein. Any nut butter will do, and if you don’t have rice vinegar use plain vinegar with a pinch of sugar and add to taste. Finally, almost any hearty veggies will work in this dish! Frozen peas or mixed veggies, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, carrots, celery… use what you have!

1 recipe Baked Tofu (or 8 oz. cooked chicken breast or cooked shrimp)
3 Tbsp. creamy natural peanut butter (or cashew butter)
2 Tbsp. warm water
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. tamari or gluten free soy sauce
1 tsp. brown sugar (or honey)
Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
1 Tbsp. peanut, canola, grapeseed, or coconut oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 cup sliced onion
1 cup sugar snap peas
1 cup sliced red bell pepper
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice (or quinoa)


1. In a small bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, water, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, and cayenne (if using). Set aside.

2. In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and saute for 30 seconds.

3. Add the onion, sugar snap peas, and bell pepper. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the veggies are tender-crisp.

4. Add the peanut sauce and Baked Tofu and toss with the veggies. Heat for 1 minute.

5. To serve, plate half the veggie-tofu mixture over 3/4 cup rice.


Sub-Recipe: Baked Tofu

1 (14 oz) block firm or extra firm tofu, drained


1. Press the tofu by wrapping it in paper towels and placing it on a large plate. Place a second plate on top of the tofu, and balance a heavy can or pan on top of the plate. Let stand for at least 30 minutes and drain off any water that collects.
2. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Cut the tofu into 1″” cubes. Arrange the tofu on the baking sheet such that the cubes don’t touch one another. Spray the tofu with oil spray.
4. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, turning the tofu halfway through, until the tofu is brown and crispy on the outside.

Makes 4 servings (serving size = 1/2 cup)

I hope you try these pantry staple recipes over the next few weeks – they are favorites in my home, and I hope they become favorites in yours, too! And don’t forget you can access my virtual cookbook of healthy recipes when you join!

Let’s get fitter, together – inside and out,


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