Cooking Recipes with Your Pantry Items


Another Bean recipes you say? Are you concerned I am hoarding all the legumes in Australia? Well, if you need some let me know as I have my pantry full of chickpeas, lentils, black beans, cannelli, kidney beans and lots of dried grains. Why? Because as we move into the next 3 foreseeable weeks we need to have our pantry stocked so we can create a healthy, satiating, economical meal in minutes. Most of these recipes call for some type of fresh, frozen or canned vegetables but do not be afraid to substitute.

Here are five of my family’s favourite. They are kid-tested and fussy husband approved. My suggestion is to double or triple the recipes as they freeze really well.


There’s a line in a song that children love to sing: ‘Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart.’ And it’s true. The resistant starch in this zinc-packed bean won’t cause a quick rise in blood sugar levels. This phytonutrient-rich dish is high in fibre and iron.


1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 red onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 large carrots, peeled if necessary, chopped
2 large celery stalks, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped coriander, plus extra sprigs to serve
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 jalapeno chilli, finely chopped (optional)
1 x 400 g tin black beans, drained and rinsed
1 x 400 g tin red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 x 800 g tin diced tomatoes
700 g tomato passata
1 cup vegetable stock
1 small sweet potato, peeled and roughly chopped
2 teaspoons tomato paste
lime wedges, to serve

  • Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat and add the onion, garlic, carrot and celery. Stir well, then cook for 3–4 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Stir in the coriander, cayenne, cumin, paprika and chilli, if using, and cook for a further 1–2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the black beans, kidney beans, diced tomatoes, tomato passata and stock and mix well.
  • Pulse the sweet potato to rice-sized pieces in a food processor and add to the pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low–medium and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, then simmer over low heat, covered, for 45 minutes–1 hour or until cooked to your liking. (For maximum flavour, let it simmer for up to 4 hours.)
  • Serve with lime wedges and extra coriander


There’s more to protein than steaks and chicken breasts. The recipe uses high-quality vegetarian forms of protein -  cashews and quinoa -  but believe me, it’s the kind of meal you can serve to even the most passionate of meat lovers. It also boosts metabolism, reduces sugar cravings and soothes the digestive system. 


1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 brown onions, thinly sliced
1 cup finely chopped sweet potato
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tbsp grated ginger
2 cups finely chopped broccoli
Sea salt

1/2 cup coconut milk
3 tbsp vegetable stock or water
1 tbsp tamari
1 cup raw unsalted cashews
1 1/2 cups roughly chopped wok chop
3 tbsp roughly chopped basil leaves
Freshly ground black pepper

  • Cook the quinoa according to the packet instruction (you’ll need 2 cups cooked quinoa for the stir-fry).
  • Meanwhile, heat the coconut oil In a wok over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes or until golden.
  • Add the sweet potato to the wok and stir-fry for 4 minutes or until tender. Stir in the turmeric, ginger, broccoli, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the coconut milk, stock or water, Tamara and cashews and stir-fry for 3 minus. Add the book chop and basil and season with pepper, then stir-fry for another 3 minutes.
  • Toss through the quinoa, season to taste with salt and pepper if needed, and serve.

Spice it up: Chop a bird’s eye chili and add before serving.
Change up the carbs: If quinoa’s not for you, try brown or basmati rice.
Go nuts: Any kind of nut will work here - use your favorite.
Swap the herbs: Try coriander or lemon thyme in place of basil.


The combination of Southwestern ingredients and Eastern seasonings add a unique flavor to this burrito. Enjoy!


1 medium onion, cut in half and sliced thin
4 medium cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
1-1/2 cups sweet potatoes cut in 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup green peppers, thinly julienned
1 cup red peppers, thinly julienned
1 tsp garam masala
1 TBS + 1/2 cup vegetable broth

2 cups or 1 15 oz can black beans (BPA free), drained
2 oz Chevre goat cheese (optional)
salt and black pepper to taste
4 whole wheat tortillas
Prepared salsa (optional)
1 head of romaine lettuce, shredded (remove outer leaves and discard)

  • Chop onions and garlic and let sit for 5-10 minutes to bring out their health-promoting properties.
  • Prepare other vegetables.
  • Heat 1 TBS broth in a 12 inch stainless steel skillet. Healthy Sauté onion, garlic, ginger, and peppers in broth over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garam masala and sweet potatoes and mix well. Add 1/2 cup broth and cook covered on low heat for about 10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
  • Add beans making sure they are rinsed and drained well first. Mix, cooking for another 5 minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • While vegetables are cooking, shred lettuce.
  • Place vegetable mixture in


This tiny legume fills you up but not out. Red lentils are a great source of cholesterol-lowering fibre
that also stabilises blood sugar levels. They are also packed full of B vitamins and magnesium.


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 leek, white part only, halved lengthways, washed and chopped
1 carrot, peeled if necessary, chopped

2 cups red lentils
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
2 litres vegetable or chicken stock (ideally homemade, but if store-bought ensure it is MSG free)
flat-leaf parsley or coriander
leaves, to garnish

  • Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, garlic, leek and carrot and cook, stirring, for 5–6 minutes or until softened and lightly golden.
  • Wash and drain the lentils, then add to the pan with the sweet potato and stock. Bring just to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until the lentils and vegetables are soft.
  • Remove from the heat and allow to slightly cool, then purée in a blender or with a hand-held blender. Serve warm, garnished with parsley or coriander leaves.

TIP: For an Asian influence, add 3 tablespoons of coconut milk and chilli and lemongrass to taste. Add the coconut milk right at the end after you have blended the soup and gently warm it through – but don’t let it boil or it will curdle.


Three cans of your favourite beans - kidney, aziduki, 

COOKING TIME: 1-4 HOURS (plus optional soaking)
♥ SERVES 6-8


 Olive oil, as needed

 Aromatics, such as peeled garlic cloves, a halved onion or shallots, a celery stalk or a carrot

 Dried or fresh herbs, such as thyme, sage, oregano or rosemary sprigs, or a bay leaf or two

 A hunk of cured sausage, bacon, ham, smoked duck or pork or a Parmesan rind (optional)

 Chopped fresh herbs or celery leaves, red-pepper flakes, sliced scallion or red onion, flaky sea salt, for serving (optional)

  • Rinse the beans, then soak them in salted water (it should taste like the sea) for anywhere from 4 hours to 12 hours. If you don’t have time, you can skip this step.
  • Drain beans and put them in a pot or electric pressure cooker. If cooking in a regular pot, add enough water to cover the beans by 2 to 3 inches. If using a pressure cooker, use less water, more like 1 1/2 to 2 inches. Add a drizzle of oil and whatever aromatics and herbs you like. Add enough salt to the cooking water to make it taste like the sea.
  • If using a regular pot, simmer the beans for anywhere to 30 minutes to 2 to 3 hours, depending on what variety you used, how old they were and whether or not you soaked them. Check on them periodically, adding more water if the level gets too low (as in, lower than the beans). For the pressure cooker, the timing is anywhere from 5 minutes at high pressure to 50 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally.
  • Garnish with fresh herbs or celery leaves, sliced onion, if you like, a drizzle of oil, and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and sea salt.
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