Simple endings make great beginnings: 10 store cupboard recipes

Posted by Ella Buchan on 3 August 2016


Think you need to go shopping? Save time and money by rooting through your cupboards first.

What might seem like scrag ends of pasta, rice, beans and spices can be transformed into a whole host of delicious meals.

Try one of these great ideas, and make a habit out of raiding the cupboard a couple of nights a week.

Misshaped pasta bake

Who cares if you use a mix of fusilli, penne and macaroni? This cheesy bake is still a super-tasty, easy family supper. Perfect for using up all those random bits of pasta.

Misshaped pasta bake

Cupboard curry

Make a sauce with garlic, peanut oil, leftover coconut milk and all those ageing spices. Great for chicken, prawns or mixed veg, and serve with whatever rice you have in the cupboard.

Chicken curry
Shutterstock via: Umpaporn

‘Everything’ biscuits

Use up any random, half-empty bags of dried fruit, nuts and seeds to make biscuits.

Throw in oats, chocolate chips, pretzels, cereal and ground coffee, too. Even salted crisps work. Experiment!

Try these compost cookies.

Biscuits with mixed ingredients
Cooking With Curls

Mixed-up grains

Run out of rice? Not quite enough quinoa? Try cooking them together in the same pot - the quinoa should melt into the rice, giving it a creaminess and nutty flavour.

Try with bulgur wheat, couscous and millet too, cooking separately if you want to play it safe.

Mixed-up grains
Shutterstock via: Iryna Melnyk


Breadcrumbs, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, mustard, spices... Throw it all in with some minced beef, lamb or pork (or a combination) to make meatballs to top pasta or serve with potatoes.

Use up any tinned tomatoes and herbs to make an accompanying sauce, too.

Meatball in tomato sauce
Shutterstock via: stockcreations

Spicy bean stew

Empty cans of beans and pulses (kidney, flageolet, black, chickpeas, borlotti and even baked beans) in a big pot and cook with tinned tomatoes and spices for a simple, hearty supper.

Got a handful of lentils and/or some sad-looking potatoes? Throw ’em in!

Spicy bean stew
Shutterstock via: Karissaa

Vegan cottage pie

Mashed sweet potato layered with lentils, onions, carrots and herbs makes a delicious alternative to lamb or beef.

Vegan cottage pie
The Full Helping

Bean dip

Out of hummus? If you have chickpeas, black or butter beans in your cupboard, just blend up with olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and maybe a dash of hot sauce or squeeze of lemon.

Delicious as a simple lunch or supper with fresh bread and frittata.

Bean dip with nachos, carrots and cucumber sticks
Shutterstock via: Nataliya Arzamasova


By its nature a ‘jumble’ of ingredients, this is a great way to transform nearly-empty bags of rice, tomatoes, broth and spices into a bowl of divine unctuousness.

Gimme Some Oven

Store-cupboard soup

Almost any ingredients can be turned into soup, with a little imagination. Lentils, beans, rice, tinned sweetcorn and coconut milk are all staple soup-makers.

Consider throwing a handful of rice or pasta into broth-based and tomatoey soups.

Check out these ideas on Homemade too.

Store-cupboard soup
Shutterstock via: Aimee M Lee

Liked this? Then try these: 

Get yourself store cupboard savvy

Get in a pickle: Easy guide to preserving your leftovers

What to do with leftover tinned foods