Co-op Blog

7 Easy Recipes For Utilizing Your Pantry Staples

If you’ve found yourself at home with a stock pile of canned and dried goods that need to be used, making a high-quality, nutritious meal out of common pantry staples is totally possible! Maybe you bought a big bag of chickpeas or rice from our bulk section, or perhaps you got a good deal on some shelf-stable chicken stock or beans. Whatever the case may be, we’ve compiled a list of 10 of the best healthful, pantry-busting recipes for you to transform ordinary ingredients into something spectacular.

Pantry Staples Worth Keeping On Hand

If you’ve found this article and are wondering what you should be storing as pantry staples, look no further! Here are a few ingredients worth keeping on hand for all sorts of different uses:

Rice & Beans

Easy to store, super versatile, and shelf-stable, rice and beans can work as side dishes or as important carbohydrates in full meals. Our bulk section offers a variety of different rices and beans, and we have a wide selection of canned beans as well.

Seeds & Grains

Also shelf stable and sold in our bulk section, having a variety of seeds and grains on hand allows you to add extra nutrients to whatever meal you’re making. Seeds can be added on top of granola, cereal, or oatmeal, while grains like quinoa, millet, and buckwheat serve as excellent side dishes.

Broth, Stock, & Soup

Broth and stock are commonly used as a base for all sorts of different stews, soups, and sauces, and are certainly worth the pantry space. And canned soup is just a good item to have on hand for a quick and easy lunch.

Root Vegetables

Though root vegetables aren’t as shelf-stable as canned or dried foods, if they’re stored properly, vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and beets can last for months. Root vegetables are also incredibly versatile and can be prepared in all sorts of ways, making them a staple in most kitchens.

So, without further ado, here are some of our favorite recipes for clearing out that pantry.

Nut Butter and Flax Powerballs

nut butter flax seed energy balls

Energy bites are quick and easy and make for a nutritious breakfast on the go. They’re also super customizable.

Not a fan of almond butter? Sub in some classic PB&J. Allergic to almonds? Sub in peanuts, cashews, or crushed pecans!


  • 1 1/2 cups almond butter
  • 1 banana, peeled and mashed
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 2 tablespoons whey protein powder
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/3 cup almonds, finely chopped


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the almonds. Blend until smooth.
  2. Line a sheet pan or large plate with parchment paper. Roll a scoop of the mixture into 1-2 inch balls and place them on the parchment paper.
  3. Roll each ball in the chopped almonds and return to the parchment paper.
  4. Place your energy balls in the refrigerator until firm.
  5. Store energy balls in a tightly-sealed container or freezer.

Recipe & image adapted from Co+op

Smoked Gouda Risotto with Kale and Mushrooms

smoked gouda risotto

If  you’ve got a large stock pile of rice and a healthy garden full of fresh kale, aside from a few pantry ingredients, the only other thing you’ll need for this recipe is a healthy portion of fresh grated gouda and some local Washington button mushrooms.

Though you may think of risotto as a side dish, this recipe will be the star of the dinner show.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups diced yellow onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 pound button mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 1/4 cup Arborio rice
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons tamari
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth, divided
  • 4-5 cups roughly-chopped kale (1 large bunch)
  • 1/4 pound smoked Gouda cheese, shredded


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Sauté the onions for 5 minutes, add the garlic and mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms begin to soften.
  3. Add rice and stir while sautéing for about 2 minutes.
  4. Add tomato paste, tamari, paprika, salt, pepper, lemon juice and 3 cups of the broth and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then cover with a tight lid and place in the oven for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven, uncover and return the pan to the stove over medium-low heat. Stir in the kale and another 1/4 cup of broth. Cook for another 5-10 minutes, adding more broth if needed, until the kale is tender, rice is creamy and liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese. Serve warm.

Recipe & image adapted from Co+op

Vegetarian Chickpea “Meatballs” with Pasta Sauce

If you got a jar (or 5) of Muir Glen pasta sauce on sale from the grocery department, here’s an excellent vegetarian use for it! Eating a vegan diet? Sub in the parmesan for a vegan cheese alternative and swap the egg for ground flax mixed with water.

vegetarian chickpea meatballs


  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained, rinsed
  • 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (3 oz)
  • 1/2 cup panko crispy bread crumbs
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 1/2 cups (from 25.5-oz jar) Muir Glen™ Organic Roasted Garlic pasta sauce
    Additional basil, if desired


  1. In a food processor, combine chickepears, 1/2 a cup of the parmesean cheese, bread crumbs, garlic, and basil. Process for 1 minute to combine. Scrape down the sides and add the egg and salt. Process again until the mixture is well combined. Refridgerate for 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a 15×10-inch baking pan with foil, and spray with cooking spray.
  3. Scoop a rounded tablespoon of chickpea mixture; gently roll into 1 1/4-inch ball. Repeat with remaining mixture to form 18 balls.
  4. In 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add chickpea balls; cook 5 to 6 minutes, turning frequently, to lightly brown on all sides. Transfer to pan. Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until balls are firm to the touch.
  5. Cook your choice of pasta noodles according to the package directions.
  6. Heat the pasta sauce over low-medium heat, stirring occasionally until warmed.
  7. Serve with pasta sauce and remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese over pasta and garnish with additional basil.

Recipe & image adapted from Muir Glen

Catalan Spinach Sauté

Whether you got a whole bunch of frozen spinach taking up space in the freezer, or you had a bountiful harvest from your garden, here’s another way to use spinach that isn’t a salad.

sauted spinach


  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 pound frozen cut-leaf spinach
  • 1/4 cup currants
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • Balsamic vinegar, to taste
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste


  1. Heat oil in a skillet, add onion and garlic, and saute until they begin to soften.
  2. Add spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through.
  3. Stir in currants, pine nuts, a splash of balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper. Serve alongside steak, chicken, or veggies.

Recipe & image adapted from Eating Well

Whole Grain Corn Muffins

whole grain corn muffins

Whether you need a quick breakfast, a mid-day snack, or a cure for your sweet tooth, these corn muffins are vegan and can use up those frozen corn kernels you have shoved in the back of your freezer.


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 1 cup unsweetened plain almond milk
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In a small bowl, combine flaxseed with almond milk and set aside to allow it to gel for 5 minutes.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, stir applesauce and maple syrup together and add flaxseed mixture. Then sift in cornmeal, oat flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir until well-combined, but avoid over-mixing. Add the corn kernels.
  4. Either using a silicone 12-cup muffin pan or a 12-cup muffin pan lined with paper, spoon out equal portions of batter into the cups.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center. Serve warm.

Recipe & image adapted from Forks Over Knives

One-Pot Pasta with Broccoli and Lemon

broccoli and lemon pasta

If you have some dry pasta, frozen broccoli, a lemon, and some basic spices, you can make an incredibly easy weeknight meal. This pasta would also work well as a side dish for grilled chicken or tofu.


  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound penne
  • 1 pound broccoli, head cut into florets (3 1/2 cups), stems peeled and thinly sliced (1 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely grated
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest, plus 3 tablespoons fresh juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan (1 ounce), plus more for serving


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add penne and cook 5 minutes.
  2. Add broccoli and cook until pasta is just under al dente and broccoli is crisp-tender and bright green, 3 to 4 minutes more.
  3. Drain, then add pasta and broccoli back to the pot.
  4. Toss with garlic, oil, lemon zest and juice, and cheese. Serve, topped with more cheese.

Recipe & image adapted from Martha Stewart Living

Basque Garlic Soup

garlic soup

Great for a cold day, or a warm day for that matter, this soup is made of simple, shelf-stable ingredients, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t extraordinary.


  • 4 ounces high-quality baguette
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 garlic head (about 12 cloves), peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Pimentón de la Vera (smoked Spanish paprika)
  • 8 cups homemade or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 3 large eggs, beaten


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Place baguette on a baking sheet, and toast in the preheated oven until very browned and almost burnt 20 to 25 minutes.
  2. Remove from oven, and let cool. Break or slice bread into 2-inch pieces.
  3. Heat 7 tablespoons oil in a large pot over medium-high.
  4. Add bread pieces, and reduce heat to medium. Cook, turning often to allow the bread to toast and soak up oil, until golden brown, about 2 minutes.
  5. Remove bread, and set aside. Wipe pot clean.
  6. Add garlic and remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pot. Cook over medium-high, stirring constantly until garlic is golden brown, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  7. Stir in paprika. Add broth and salt; bring to a boil.
  8. Add bread to pot. Reduce heat to medium-low, and maintain a simmer. Add vinegar.
  9. Cook, stirring occasionally to break up bread, until flavors meld, about 25 minutes. Taste and add more salt, if needed.
  10. When ready to serve, bring soup to a simmer over medium-high. Stirring constantly, slowly pour beaten eggs into hot soup.
  11. If any large pieces of bread remain, cut with kitchen scissors, or break apart with a spoon. Serve hot.

Recipe & image adapted from Food and Wine

By: Leigha

LeighaLeigha is the Marketing Assistant at the Skagit Valley Food Co-op.