10 great recipes you can cook from your pantry

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10 great recipes you can cook from your pantry

Feeling overwhelmed by the news around COVID-19? Ease your anxiety with our lockdown shopping list and meal plan.

We know: the news around COVID-19 is overwhelming. In these uncertain times, a bit of forward-planning can help ease the anxiety. And while outings to grocery shops are limited during this lockdown period, that doesn’t have to mean eating tuna out of a tin. Over the next few weeks, chances are you’ll want to keep your spirits up with some food that’s actually delicious. Enter our meal planner: full of tasty, wholesome food that’s easy to put together.

Before we proceed, a note on grocery shopping. Make sure you’re buying only what you need, leaving products for others to buy. Stockpiling out of panic is not only unnecessary, but leaves others vulnerable. Limit your shopping trips as much as possible and where you can, shop online. For this, we’ve created a handy list of essentials at Woolies, here.

Dry goods

Here we’re talking long life, non-perishable items such as canned food, pastas, tinned fish etc. Aside from lasting you a little while, they’re endlessly versatile and can be turned into a wide range of dishes:

  • Beans such as cannellini or kidney/ chickpeas
  • Pasta, rice and polenta or pap
  • Tinned tomatoes
  • Tuna
  • Dried pulses such as lentils
  • Coconut milk and long-life milk
  • Also remember condiments like tomato ketchup, mayonnaise and chutney, and curry pastes, pesto and your favourite pre-made sauces to spice up dull dishes.
  • Dried fruit
  • Nuts

From there, you can go and make the following:

Crusty pan-fried beans with creamy kale polenta

In place of the polenta, you can pop these onto pasta or toast for a hearty dinner.

Slow-cooked cowboy beans

Make double and freeze.

Butter chicken-flavoured chickpea curry

Like the beans, this freezes well (and improves over time).
Butter chicken-flavoured chickpea curry with home-made busted rotis recipe

Tuna-and-bean salad

This is a good, substantial lunch to throw together when you’re in the middle of a work (from home) day.


The ultimate bowl of comfort.

Tomato pasta sauce

Omit the sausages if you like, and make double to freeze for later.


Yes, ice cream is surely essential in times like these but also make sure you’re picking up things that you might not be able to get fresh in the next two weeks.

  • Frozen fruit
  • Spinach and frozen peas
  • Bread and rotis or wraps
  • Protein of your choice such as beef mince or chicken or bacon
  • Herbs (rinse and chop, then freeze in iceblocks)

Then make:

Chilli con carne

Like the curry, this freezes well and develops even more flavour over time.


An easy, crowd-pleaser.

Fresh items

During lockdown, you’ll probably want to limit your chances of exposure by shopping less regularly, so be sure to pick up fresh items that will last a bit longer. These will form the base of most of the recipes listed in this article:

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Carrots
  • Whole butternut
  • Potatoes and sweet potatoes
  • Citrus fruit
  • Hard cheese like Parmesan
  • Eggs (stored in a cool, dark place, eggs will last you about 10 days or so)

Bonus round

Chances are cabin fever will set in and you’ll want something fun and exciting to do at the end of the day. This feels like the perfect time to experiment with a new recipe you’ve always wanted to make, something that takes a bit more effort such as baking brioche or making a pie. For these, pick up the following:

  • Flour
  • Yeast
  • Castor sugar
  • Baking powder
  • Butter (butter freezes well so pop the extra blocks in the freezer!)
  • Chocolate, for snacking

Pull-apart caramel bread

When the kids start to drive you mad, give them some dough to knead and thank us later.

Blueberry-cherry pie

Now is the perfect time to nail your pie pastries.

Need more big-batch inspiration? Here are five of our favourite recipes to make in bulk.

Jess Spiro Article by: Jess Spiro

Jess Spiro is a freelance food writer, chef and restaurant critic based in Cape Town, who can often be found in search of the next great plate of food. Follow her on Instagram @jess_spiro to see what she's eating.

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