12 Easy Dinners You Can Make Using Food Items That Are Already In Your Pantry

There's nothing worse than finding a delicious recipe for dinner, and then realizing that you don't have half the ingredients — that's why we've come to rely on easy dinner ideas that make the most of our pantry staples. Meals filled with beans and grains that are easy to alter make for simple and quick weeknight dinners. And when your pantry is stocked with the basics, you'll have to make fewer expensive trips to the bodega — and you'll have fewer excuses to order takeout... again.

For dinnertime that doesn't require a pricey shopping spree, try out one of these 12 beyond easy dishes. You'll soon realize that making your evening meal is a lot less of a hassle than you thought.

Image: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Pea & Chickpea Pasta Salad

Made with freezer-friendly peas and chickpeas, Love and Lemons’ pasta salad makes the perfect take-along meal for an impromptu picnic.

Image: Love and Lemons

Couscous With Raisins, Pine Nuts, and Capers

Perfect as either a side dish or a simple vegetarian dinner, this couscous by The Kitchn is packed with plenty of protein.

Image: The Kitchn

Easy Layered Mediterranean Orzo Pasta Salad

While Half Baked Harvest’s pasta salad is topped with plenty of fresh ingredients, it’s likely that you already have the base layer of orzo, chickpeas, and olives in your home.

Image: Half Baked Harvest

Black Bean & Chickpea Chili

Easily prepared as a make-ahead meal, Love and Lemons’ vegetarian chili uses pantry basics for a hearty dish.

Image: Love and Lemons

Easy 4-Ingredient Tomato Sauce

There’s no excuse to resort to pre-made tomato sauce when you can make The Kitchn’s wholesome version with just four ingredients.

Image: The Kitchn

Spicy Sesame Basil Noodles

A simple stir-fry comes together in little time with a handful of ingredients. Break out the soy sauce, and try Half Baked Harvest’s takeout-inspired dish.

Image: Half Baked Harvest

Quick Vegan Lentil Soup

This comforting lentil recipe by Cookie and Kate utilizes long-lasting ingredients like onions and diced tomatoes.

Image: Cookie and Kate


An egg instantly transforms canned tomatoes into a savory dish you won’t be able to resist. Thanks Green Kitchen Stories!

Image: Green Kitchen Stories

Pasta al Forno

With the addition of mozzarella cheese, Mel’s Kitchen Cafe’s pasta al forno tastes like something you’d order at your favorite Italian restaurant.

Image: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Mexican Couscous Skillet

Mixing pantry staples with cheese and chicken, Inside BruCrew Life makes a Mexican-inspired skillet that can satisfy a crowd.

Image: Inside BruCrew Life

Quick Chana Masala

Filled with healthy chickpeas, Cookie and Kate’s chana masala makes for a quick and nutritious weeknight meal that requires no planning.

Image: Cookie and Kate

Black Beans & Rice

Can you go wrong with rice and beans? (Answer: no). The Crepes of Wrath breaks down how to get the most tantalizing flavor out of this simple dish.

Image: The Crepes of Wrath