A new year inspires us to set new goals: save money, eat foods with more nutritional value, help Napa Valley food bank with foods, focus on what we have and waste less. The perfect resolution? Make your meals with shelf-stable foods that you already have in your pantry. The key to shelf-stable cooking is vegetarian meals! Dried lentils and canned legumes not only have great plant-protein, their additional fibre makes for a nutritional powerhouse. Try these meals with foods from your pantry if you’re looking for quick, nutritious and budget-friendly meals.
Chickpeas and tomatoes unite in this simple yet delicious and nourishing meal. While yogurt is traditionally used in this recipe, it can be easily made shelf stable with coconut milk. Other swaps to make: use canned tomatoes instead of fresh, garlic powder instead of garlic and onion powder instead of onion.
Add half a cup of oil, half of a 14-1/2-ounce can of tomatoes, half a packet of National Punjabi Chana Recipe Mix and one cup of coconut milk to a pot and cook on medium heat for two to three minutes, add a can of drained chickpeas and cook for 10 to 15 more minutes. Add a half teaspoon of coriander powder. Add two tablespoons of onion powder, and a half teaspoon of garlic powder, half a teaspoon of cumin seed powder and simmer. Finally, sprinkle with National Chaat Masala and serve.
Bean burrito bowl
Taco and burrito night is a favourite in many households. To make a shelf stable burrito bowl you don’t need to sacrifice on flavour, you just have to get creative.
Rice and beans make up the base of this meal. Cook rice according to the package instructions. While rice is cooking combine a 14oz can of black beans with a 14 oz can of tomatoes. Add 1 tbsp of soy sauce, 2 tsp chilli powder, 1 tsp each of smoked paprika, onion powder and garlic powder and a half tsp of cumin. Let the flavours simmer. Open a can of corn and a jar of salsa. Serve rice with bean and tomato mixture and use corn and salsa as optional toppings. If you like extra spice, top with canned jalapenos or extra hot mixed pickle.
Plant-based burger on homemade naan
While there are plenty of options for frozen veggie burgers on the market, the shelf stable version of a veggie burger has delicious flavours, can be made with things in your cupboard and is packed with nutritional value.
In a food processor, combine a 1½ cups of black beans, one cup of cooked brown rice, 1⅓ cups of panko bread crumbs, 1 tbsp each of paprika, chilli powder and onion powder, ¼ cup of bbq sauce (or sub chilli garlic sauce) and salt to taste. Form into patties and grill or fry. Serve your burger on homemade or store bought naan and top with plum chutney and oil-based crushed pickle.
Cooking shelf-stable foods is not only great for the environment (and your bank account,) it’s a way to get creative in the kitchen with food you already have. Put some of these recipes into the rotation for your new year meal plan and see how easy (and delicious!) shelf-stable cooking can be.