We've got a squirrelly winter storm coming here in Durango. It's not clear how much, if any, snow we'll be getting. Somewhere between none and a couple of feet. I'm sensing a pattern here.
My plan was to hit the store in the afternoon before the storm got here. But it started snowing in the morning. So I had to slap together a meal plan really quickly and get to the store.
Since I'm still unfamiliar with how the weather acts here, I wanted to have a few extra easy meals available in addition to the scratch meals I had planned.
I always like to keep a few pantry staple meals ready to go anyway, no matter the weather. They're great for days when you need a quick meal. And all of these keep for a while until you need them.
Here's what I've got on. hand right now. Maybe it'll give you some ideas for easy meals to keep around.
Pasta, Pesto, & Kale
I don't normally plan more than one pasta meal in a week. But I like to keep extra on hand in case I need it for a quick meal. And if you choose a whole grain pasta and make sure to pop some veggies into it, you've got a decent well-rounded meal.
This brand, Wicked Kitchen, showed up in our local Kroger store (City Market) a couple of months ago. I picked up a bunch of their product to try while they were on sale.
We haven't tried this Black Olive Pesto yet but the Orange Pumpkin Pesto was really good. The ingredients on most of their products are pretty clean, but not whole food plant based. Here's what's in the Black Olive Pesto: "Black Olive (black olive, salt, ferrous gluconate), Sunflower Oil, Basil (basil, sunflower oil, salt, lactic acid), Water, Capers, Cashews, Sugar, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Garlic Purée, Lactic Acid, Pea Fiber, Carrot Fiber."
To prepare, cook about 4 servings of the pasta according to the package. Toss in the frozen kale for the last 4-5 minutes of cook time. Drain and return to the pot. Add the jar of pesto and heat until warmed through.
Dal Makhani, Rice & Tofu
There are a few brands of shelf-stable Indian foods out there that have vegan options. Tasty Bite and Jyoti are the ones we get most often. You do have to verify the ingredients on the label though because they aren't all vegan.
When I looked up this Dal Makhani online, the ingredient list on their website said it contained butter. So I ran to the pantry to check mine. Nope, totally vegan. Whew! This is a lesson though. Formulations change all the time. Unless you're dealing with a vegan company, you always have to check the label to make sure the ingredients haven't changed.
Did you know that tofu makes a great paneer substitute especially if you press it well? And tofu usually has at least a few weeks before the sell by date when you buy it.
I like to pair the prepared dish, like this dal, with tofu and then eat it over rice. Jyoti's Delhi Saag is our favorite and I've got one of those in the pantry as well.
To prepare, I cook the rice in my Instant Pot. Then, after pressing the tofu, I dice it up and sauté it in a non-stick frying pan until browned on all sides. Then, I heat the dal or delhi saag in the same pan with a little water until warmed. Stir in the tofu until warmed up and serve with the rice.
Spaghetti with Red Sauce & Spinach
Oh look, more pasta! I don't think anyone is a stranger to pasta with a red sauce. But I like to up the nutritional profile by, again, choosing a whole grain pasta and adding greens to the sauce. This time I'm using frozen spinach.
Cook the pasta according to the package and drain. Heat the sauce in a pot and add spinach. Sometimes I add 1/4 cup of TVP or canned lentils to the sauce if I want more protein. Add the pasta and heat until warmed.
Yes, there are vegan frozen pizzas! And now that I have a bigger freezer I will grab a couple of frozen pizzas whenever they are on sale. Yep, it's junk food. But we don't eat these very often. All Daiya (pronounced Day-uh) products are vegan!
I originally picked up a few soup cups for us to have on hand in case we felt ill after our COVID vaccines. These two are leftovers from that.
Now, usually soups are pretty high in sodium. The McDougall's soup is. (It's still not even close to as high as canned soup.) But the Yai's Thai soup is quite low in sodium, less than 200mg.
I hope you got some ideas for plant based pantry staple meals. Do you have any pantry staple meals you'd like to share?