The Absolute Best Recipes You Can Make with Your Forgotten Pantry Staples

Your pantry is full of forgotten treasures: the can of kidney beans hiding behind the rigatoni; the unopened pouch of quinoa tucked off in the corner; the lonely tin of canned corn… But these ingredients, along with other overlooked pantry staples, can be used to make some pretty marvelous meals — if you know how to prepare them.

As more people are cooking at home, the Meatless Monday team set out to ask our followers which of their pantry items they’ve found to be the trickiest to cook. Our surveys have revealed that people aren’t quite sure what to do with canned corn, quinoa and canned kidney beans.

We sought the assistance from some of our favorite chefs, bloggers, and Instagram influencers to help us compile a list of superb plant-based recipes featuring popular, yet underutilized, pantry staples. Check out the list below and get cooking!

Corn Recipes


TexMex Chickpea Corn Fritters from Kevin Curry – Fit Men Cook

When it comes to plant-based patties, fritters always have more fun. These Tex-Mex chickpea corn fritters from Fit Men Cook become nice and crisp after a quick spin in the air fryer (or oven). Canned or frozen corn work for this one, but the big spice blend — smoked paprika, chili powder, cumin, oregano — is definitely a must.

Source: Fit Men Cook

Corn, Avocado, and Tomato Salad from Rachel Paul – The College Nutritionist

Want something a little lighter for the summer season? Try this corn, avocado and tomato salad from the College Nutritionist.

Source: College Nutritionist

Garlicky Corn and “Tuna” Pasta from Lenny Wu – Vegamelon

This isn’t your mom’s tuna casserole. Pairing a vegan protein with sweet corn and spices makes this garlicky corn & ‘tuna’ pasta from Vegamelon a must try.

Source: Vegamelon

Easy Vegan Jalapeño Cornbread from Jenn Sebestyen – Veggie Inspired

This recipe for vegan jalapeño cornbread from Veggie Inspired uses canned corn and jalapeño for a sweet punch of heat.

Source: Veggie Inspired

Crockpot Chili from Makenna Hale

Corn and chili were meant for each other. This crockpot chili from Makenna Hale is vegan and free of both soy and gluten.

Source: Makenna Hale

Vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie from Naturally Zuzu

Hearty and delicious, this vegan lentil shepherd’s pie from Naturally Zuzu will keep your taste buds craving more.

Source: Naturally Zuzu

Pro tip from Karla Dumas and the Humane Society Culinary Team: Roast canned corn to naturally caramelize it and bring out the sweetness. Season with salt, pepper and lime juice; add beans and cilantro for a quick side dish.

Quinoa Recipes


Instant Pot Vegan White Bean Quinoa from Nisha Vora – Rainbow Plant Life

You can never have enough chili recipes. This recipe for instant pot vegan white bean quinoa chili from Rainbow Plant Life uses coconut milk and cannellini beans, making it extra creamy and delicious.

Source: Rainbow Plant Life

Sweet Potato Quinoa Latkes from Joy Bauer

Holidays, brunch, late-night snack, doesn’t matter; these savory sweet potato latkes from Joy Bauer are the perfect place to put that quinoa. The original recipe calls for egg whites, but to make these latkes completely plant-based, use one of these vegan egg replacements.

Source: Joy Bauer

Fig and Raisin Quinoa “Couscous” from My Organic Diary

Completely gluten free, this recipe from My Organic Diary marries the flavors of North Africa with protein-packed quinoa. Golden raisins, cinnamon, and figs makes this flavorful side dish perfect for pool-side dining.

Source: My Organic Diary

Cherry Mint Quinoa Salad from Lisa Drayer

In addition to her cherry mint quinoa salad, Lisa Drayer covered the Meatless Monday pantry challenge in her recent CNN article, “How to eat less meat and more plants,” that also featured Chef Adam Kenworthy’s quinoa recipe suggestion and physician and chef Dr. Robert Graham’s advice on the health benefits of plant-based eating.

Source: Lisa Drayer

Peanut Butter Quinoa Cookies from DJ Blatner

These peanut butter quinoa cookies from DJ Blatner are seriously inventive and delicious. By using a combination of quinoa, oats, and flax seeds, you’re getting a solid helping of fiber packaged in a sweet, nutty cookie.

Source: Dawn Jackson Blatner

Teriyaki Fried Quinoa from The Foodie Takes Flights

Skip the takeout and sauté your own version of fried rice, or, in this case, teriyaki fried quinoa. Throw in a colorful collection of vegetables: corn, carrots, peas, purple cabbage, and you’ve got yourself a rainbow of a meal courtesy of The Foodie Takes Flight.

Source: The Foodie Takes Flight

Kidney Bean Recipes


Easy Pantry Pasta Bake from Delicious and Healthy by Maya

Clean out the pantry while making a filling family dinner. Use kidney beans (but any can of beans will do), spinach, tomato sauce, and a spice rack’s-worth of seasonings for this better-for-you easy pantry pasta bake from Delicious and Healthy by Maya.

Source: Delicious and Healthy by Maya

Comforting Black and Kidney Bean Chili from James – Healthy Living with James

Cocoa powder? Cinnamon? Coriander? The unique blend of spices makes this comforting black and kidney bean chili  from Healthy Living with James a unique spin on the classic.

Source: Healthy Living with James

Zucchini Oat Veggie Patties from Sharon Palmer

With a base of kidney beans, shredded zucchini, oats, and seeds, no two bites of these spicy zucchini oat veggie patties from Sharon Palmer will be the same.

Source: Sharon Palmer

Best Vegan Chili from Hannah – Two Spoons CA

Is it really the best vegan chili? Try this recipe from Two Spoons CA and decide for yourself!

Source: Two Spoons CA

BBQ Kidney Bean Kale Burgers from Jenn Sebestyen – Veggie Inspired

These kidney bean kale burgers from our friend Jenn Sebestyen at Veggie Inspired develop a nice crunchy crust after 40 minutes in the oven. A mixture of tahini, apple cider vinegar, molasses, and liquid smoke give these patties that beloved barbecue flavor without the grill.

Source: Veggie Inspired

Click here for more Meatless Monday recipes. When posting pictures of recipes to your social media network, tag @MeatlessMonday use #MeatlessMonday to show the plant-based community your creation.