5 simple store cupboard recipes

Anna Pugh Anna Pugh Registered Nutritional Therapy Practitioner
Your pantry can be a source of some delicious dishes using the simplest of ingredients. Our nutritional expert, Anna Pugh, shares five easy store cupboard recipes to get you started.

We all know it’s best to stay at home at the moment, so if you’re in between food shops and only have store cupboard ingredients left, don’t fret. There are plenty of simple, healthy meals you can make with store cupboard foods.

Using basics such as dried pasta, tinned vegetables and stocks, you’ll be creating healthy meals in no time.

All recipes below serve 4.

Curried red lentil and coconut soup

Red lentils are wonderfully versatile and can easily be added to soup and stew recipes – they’re already split, so they cook quickly.

Aside from giving you good amounts of gut-friendly soluble fibre and protein, they’re also an invaluable source of B vitamins, magnesium, zinc and iron.


  • 2 tbsp coconut, olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp medium curry powder (or curry paste)
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
  • 4cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped (or 1 tsp ginger powder)
  • 150g red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 400ml tin coconut milk
  • 25g coriander or flat leaf parley, leaves and stalks chopped separately
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan on a medium heat and gently fry the onions until soft
  2. Add the curry, chilli, garlic and ginger. Fry for another 2 minutes
  3. Add the lentils and stir for a minute. Then add the chopped tomatoes, herb stalks and 600ml water
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste
  5. Add the coconut milk and bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes
  6. Blend if you prefer a smooth soup
  7. Pour into bowls and garnish with herb leaves.

Sweet potato and peanut butter wraps 

The health benefits of sweet potato are vast. Just 1 cup or 200g of this root vegetable provides plenty of soluble, gut-friendly fibre, over half of your daily reference intake (DRI) for vitamin C and seven times your DRI for vitamin A.

Vitamin A is vital for healthy skin and mucus membranes, our immune system, and good eye health and vision.

If you have a nut allergy, simply leave out the peanut butter or swap for an alternative spread.


  • 3 medium sweet potatoes peeled and sliced to 2cm slices
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large, ripe avocado
  • ½ lime, zested and juiced, plus wedges to serve
  • 2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
  • 4 small flour tortillas
  • ½ pack coriander leaves, chopped
  • Chilli sauce – shop bought or homemade (see ingredients below)
  • Optional extras: chopped spring onions, fresh chillies and sour cream

For the homemade chilli sauce

  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 1–4 red chillies, depending on how hot you like it, chopped, seeds removed
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar or cider vinegar


  1. Place the sweet potatoes in a roasting tin with the paprika and 2 tbsp oil
  2. Roast for 15 minutes, tossing halfway through until the potatoes are crisp
  3. Meanwhile, stone, peel and chop the avocado. Tip into a bowl with the juice and zest of the lime. Season generously and mash
  4. In a small container, combine peanut butter and the remaining oil
  5. If you’re making the chilli sauce: blitz all the ingredients in a food processor (this will keep in a fridge for up to 2 days or freeze for 3 months)
  6. Heat a pan over medium heat until hot and brush each tortilla on each side with oil
  7. Place 1 tortilla side down in pan and spread over half of the peanut butter mixture and add half of the sweet potatoes, chilli sauce, spring onion, chillies and coriander leaves
  8. Top with another tortilla, oil side up. Press down with a spatula and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until crisp
  9. Repeat with the remaining ingredients
  10. Cut the wraps into quarters and serve with avocado and lime wedges.

Pea, mint and feta barley stew

Firstly, barley is high in selenium – one portion (50g dry) contains 19mcg of selenium and a third of your recommended daily intake. Selenium is vital for protecting your cells from free-radical damage and aiding your thyroid to produce hormones necessary for good health.

Secondly, barley contains high levels of soluble, beta-glucan fibre, which reduces low density lipoprotein, or ‘bad’ cholesterol, by binding to bile acids and removing them from the body.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 200g pearl barley, rinsed
  • 700ml vegetable stock
  • 200g feta cheese, cubed
  • ½ small pack mint, leaves shredded, or 1 tsp dried mint
  • 400g peas, defrosted
  • Black pepper


  1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan or flameproof casserole dish over a medium heat
  2. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes. Then add the garlic and lemon zest and fry for another minute
  3. Add the pearl barley and stock. Season, bring to the boil, and simmer with a lid on for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally
  4. Meanwhile, put the feta in a bowl with the remaining olive oil, half the lemon juice, most of the mint and a good grinding of black pepper. Leave to marinate while the barley cooks
  5. Remove the lid from the barley and cook for 5 minutes more. Increase the heat, then add the peas, half the feta and all the feta juices. Cook for 3 minutes, then check the seasoning
  6. Divide the barley mixture between four bowls and top with the remaining feta, mint and, if needed, the lemon juice.

Tinned/frozen vegetable curry with mint raita

The beauty of this recipe is that you can add or take away vegetables, depending on what you have in your cupboard. So if you don’t have fresh courgette or mushrooms, you could use two tins of vegetables, or one tin of vegetables with a cup of frozen vegetables, or two cups frozen vegetables.

Just make sure vegetables that take longer to cook go in at the beginning, like the carrots and potatoes. Tinned vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms and peas etc. can go in towards the end.


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 medium eating apple
  • 1 potato, cubed
  • 400g can chickpeas (or other tinned pulses such as kidney beans or lentils)
  • 1 mug water
  • 2 tbsp curry paste or 1 tbsp medium curry powder
  • 1 vegetable stock cube, crumbled
  • ¼ mug sultanas or raisins
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 courgette, sliced – or tinned/frozen vegetables
  • 4 mushrooms, sliced – or tinned/frozen vegetables
  • 50g dry rice per person, or a naan or pitta bread or slice of toast per person

For the mint raita

  • 2 tbsp natural yogurt, crème fraiche or soured cream
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint or 2 tsp dried mint


  1. If you’re using rice: wash it and add to a saucepan with 100ml water for every 50g dry rice, bring to the boil and simmer until the water is absorbed
  2. Heat the oil in saucepan or frying pan over a medium heat and gently cook the onions for 5 to 7 minutes, until soft
  3. Add the garlic, apple, potato and chickpeas and cook for 3 minutes
  4. Add the water, curry paste or powder and stock cube. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes
  5. Add the fresh, tinned or frozen vegetables with the tomato puree and sultanas or raisins. Cook for 5 minutes, adding a little more water if needed
  6. To make the raita, just mix the mint into the yogurt, crème fraiche or soured cream
  7. Serve with either rice, a naan or pitta bread, or a slice of toast per person to mop up the juices.

Dried pasta 3 ways

  1. Meat option: Sausages or chorizo
  2. Fish option: Tuna
  3. Vegetarian option: Kidney beans


  • 6 pork sausages or one chorizo sausage / 2 tins of tuna, drained / 2 tins kidney beans, drained
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 rosemary sprigs, leaves finely chopped (or 1 tsp dried rosemary)
  • 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 150ml whole milk
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 350g pasta of choice
  • Grated parmesan or strong cheddar cheese to taste
  • ½ small bunch fresh parsley or basil, leaves roughly chopped
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a saucepan on a medium heat and fry the onion with a pinch of salt for 5 to 7 minutes, until soft and caramelised
  2. Add the garlic, chilli flakes and rosemary, and cook for another minute
  3. Add the tomatoes and sugar, and simmer for 20 minutes
  4. If you’re using sausages: heat the remaining oil in a medium frying pan over a medium heat. Squeeze the sausage meat from the skins and fry, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, for 5 to 7 minutes, until golden
  5. Add the sausage meat/chopped chorizo sausage, or drained tuna or kidney beans to the sauce with the milk and lemon zest. Simmer for a further 5 minutes
  6. Cook the pasta following pack instructions, drain and toss in with the sauce
  7. Season with salt and pepper. Taste test as you may need to add extra dried chilli with the kidney beans
  8. Scatter over the parmesan or cheddar and fresh herbs to serve.

Last updated Friday 22 April 2022

First published on Thursday 2 April 2020