A cupboard filled with basic ingredients can be a lifesaver in the middle of a busy week, or when it’s difficult to get to the shops. Dried pasta, rice, noodles and lentils alongside canned ingredients such as tomatoes, beans, tuna and chickpeas can form the base for a variety of family meals. Storecupboard recipes don’t have to be boring – try these inventive ideas next time you need an affordable, easy dinner.
1. Tuna & sundried tomato pasta bake
This tuna & sundried tomato pasta bake can be on the table in under 25 minutes and makes the most of canned ingredients you might have already, such as chopped tomatoes, sweetcorn, tuna and dried pasta. The sundried tomatoes and cheddar cheese give it a brilliant boost – we predict empty plates all round.
2. Easy paella
Fresh-tasting and full of Spanish flavour, our easy paella is wonderfully simple to make. Stock cubes are another important must-have for your cupboard and are used here alongside frozen fish, which serves to keep the cost down, too.
3. Muffin tin chilli pots
A twist on our classic chilli con carne, these muffin tin chilli pots are even easier to assemble and use just four ingredients. Simmer together kidney beans in spicy sauce and a can of chopped tomatoes for a simple supper all ages can enjoy.
4. Simple coconut & bean soup
Serve up a hearty bowl of Levi Roots’ simple coconut & bean soup – it’s certain to brighten up a rainy day! This vegetarian-friendly dish uses canned beans, coconut milk and curry powder alongside a few fresh aromatic ingredients.
5. Quick beef & broccoli noodles
Stir-fries are another time saving hero, and our quick beef & broccoli noodles are no exception. Be sure to keep dried egg noodles and stock cubes in the cupboard and you’ll only ever be moments away from a satisfying meal.
Also try our easy storecupboard stir-fried rice for a delicious veggie meal to serve one.
6. Chorizo & pea risotto
This chorizo & pea risotto is one of our top-rated midweek meals – it tastes luxurious while being blissfully easy to prepare. If you don’t have risotto rice on hand, you can easily use other types of rice, just adjust the cooking times accordingly.
7. Tarka dhal
Lentil-lovers will enjoy this comforting tarka dhal, which can be made vegan by swapping ghee for vegetable oil. You’ll need a few fresh ingredients such as onion and garlic to help lift the flavours.
Lentils can also be used as a base in our hearty roast fennel & lentil salad.
8. Sardine storecupboard spaghetti
The recipe for this sardine storecupboard spaghetti is easily adapted to serve as many mouths as you need to feed. Sardines are a great source of omega-3 and the canned versions will keep for a long time in your cupboard.
9. Satay cauliflower & chickpea curry with storecupboard flatbreads
Frozen cauliflower is given a mouthwatering makeover with this satay-inspired curry – plus, you can make your own storecupboard flatbreads using just three ingredients. It’s easier than you think! Try our satay cauliflower & chickpea curry with storecupboard flatbreads.
Watch our video for how to make a simple storecupboard chickpea & cauliflower curry.
10. Quiche Lorraine frittata
You can serve this quiche Lorraine frittata alongside a simple salad or peas for a protein-rich family meal that won’t break the bank. If you’re planning ahead, pack any leftovers into a lunchbox for the next day.
Looking for more recipes and ideas? Try these…
Budget meals for large families
Our best recipes for leftovers
5 storecupboared superfoods
A guide to cheap and healthy cooking
All our storecupboard recipes
Storecupboard one-pot recipes
Top 10 healthy storecupboard recipes
As many countries urge populations to stay at home, many of us are paying more attention to our diets and how the food we eat can support our health. To help sort out the fact from the fiction, BBC Future is updating some of their most popular nutrition stories from their archive.