While there is no need to hoard goods while quarantined, we might want to limit our visits to the grocery store. Restricted access to fresh produce, makes cooking diverse and nutritious food a little trickier, so we’re here to help.
Under these circumstances, here are 5 easy recipes using only non-perishable ingredients, so you can always make something at home. Who knew that you could make so many delicious meals with the stuff you always stored in your food cabinet!
250g canned or frozen peas
30g nuts (pine nuts, cashews or walnuts)
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar
50g nutritional yeast or parmesan (optional)
Salt and pepper
1. Get a large pot of water to boil for the pasta. Cook them based on package instructions. Set aside some pasta water for later.
2. For the pesto, drain and rinse the peas if canned or thaw the peas if frozen, and place in a blender along with all the other ingredients. To avoid big pieces of garlic in the pesto, chop it finely prior to adding it to the blender.
3. Blend until smooth. Add water as you go if the mix is too dry. Taste and add salt as needed.
4. Pour the pesto onto the cooked pasta along with half a cup of the saved pasta water (it helps make everything super creamy). Get it all back on the heat and toss until everything is hot and coated in green goodness.
5. Serve, maybe top up with a few nuts and/or parmesan, and enjoy.
Couscous and chickpea salad
400g dry couscous
400g canned chickpeas
400g canned diced tomatoes
1 red onion
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon salt
1. In a pan over medium heat, add a splash of olive oil. Cook off the onions, chopped up, until transparent. Add the spices and a pinch of salt, toast them off for 1-2 minutes.
2. Rinse and drain the chickpeas before adding them to the pan. Stir everything until the chickpeas start to crisp up. Take off the heat.
3. In a salad bowl, add the couscous, diced tomatoes, the content of the pan as well as some salt and pepper. Mix until everything is coated in tomato (the moisture of the tomatoes will rehydrate the couscous) and cover the bowl.
4. Refrigerate for at least an hour (or until the couscous is fully puffed and fluffy). Add salt and pepper to taste. You can add some chili if you like spicy. In an ideal world, fresh herbs take it to another level.
5. Serve up hot or cold, whatever you feel like.
Chinese-style tomato egg-drop soup
400g canned peeled tomatoes
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 vegetable stock cubes
2 tablespoons corn flour (cornstarch), mixed with 2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Salt and pepper
1. In a large pot over medium heat, add oil and cook off a diced onion. Ideally this would call for 2 spring onions, but for the purpose of this article, any onion will do.
2. Add in the tomatoes and crush them with a spatula until left with bite size chunks of tomato.
3. Grate the garlic or finely chop it and add to the tomatoes. Stir for 1-2 minutes.
4. Pour 1.5l of boiling water in the pan along with the stock cubes. Stir until dissolved.
5. In a bowl, crack the eggs and lightly whisk them to break them up. Slowly add the to the simmering soup while stirring to create a vortex. This gives the eggs a lacey consistency rather than creating poached lumps.
6. Add the soy sauce and the corn flour slurpy to the pot and give it a few minutes to thicken.
7. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve hot.
Red lentils indian dal
400g red lentils (can be substituted with other lentils and pulses)
1 can of coconut milk (~300ml)
3 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon chilli powder or flakes
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 cube vegetable stock (or just use salt)
1. Finely chop onions and garlic. Rinse and drain lentils.
2. In a medium pot on medium heat, add a splash of oil or butter. When hot, add onions and garlic and stir until soft. Add the spices and a pinch of salt stirring for another 2 minutes.
3. Add lentils to the pot and toast them off without adding any liquid for about 3-4 minutes.
4. Add coconut milk, stock cube and tomato paste, stir until all is dissolved and nothing remains attached to the bottom of the pot. Bring to a gentle simmer, reduce the heat to low and let the dal cook for about 30-40 minutes while stirring every so often. Add water if you see it become too dry.
5. It should then attain a creamy and thick consistency and lentils should break down and become mushy. Turn off the heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.
6. Serve with rice, naan or pita. Add a squeeze of lemon and fresh coriander if available.
200g flour (any should work)
300ml light coconut milk*
½ tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder (makes them fluffy, but you can do without)
* If you don’t have light coconut milk, use half coconut milk half water. It can also be substituted with any other dairy or plant-based milk.
** not non perishable, but will keep fine outside of the fridge for a while. Alternatively, use flaxseeds and water to make flax egg, a tablespoon of applesauce or skip the egg altogether (the pancakes still hold shape quite well).
1. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. I’d advise passing the flour through a sieve to avoid lumps in the batter.
2. Whisk together the egg and the milk in a separate recipient.
3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones. Combine by whisking until smooth.
4. Heat up a pan with a little fat of your choice to avoid sticking. If you have butter, that’s the tastiest, always. Otherwise coconut oil or an oil such as canola or sunflower (olive oil has too strong of a taste, I’d avoid if possible. But desperate times desperate measures).
5. Scoop a bit of batter into the pan. When little bubbles form at the surface, flip and cook the other side until golden brown. Adjust heat and pancake size accordingly (the first pancake is never perfect) and repeat with the rest of the batter.
6. Serve and top with whatever you like and have available; nutella, maple syrup, jam, fruits (heated up frozen fruits are delicious on pancakes), that part is up to you!
After all, it’s OK to treat yourself a bit in those dark days!
Mathilde is a professional content writer based in Utrecht. To balance out the serious content she produces, she tries to bring a little laughter in the world with her comical animal facts on Instagram @dailymooseletter.