Here's how to use your store cupboard essentials to make a variety of delicious meals

by Rebecca Beardmore

With a well-stocked store cupboard, you don't need to miss out on healthy and nutrition-packed meals if you find yourself unable to get out to the supermarket for regular shops.

One of the biggest benefits of cooking with store cupboard ingredients is the shelf-life, as most dried or tinned ingredients may have months or even years before they run past their best before date.


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Dried or tinned beans, chickpeas, and lentils cost pennies per 100g, but provide a hefty protein hit to your dishes. If using dried, soak overnight to reduce cooking time, or use a pressure cooker.

Green lentils can be used as a mince replacement in cottage pies or pasta dishes.

Red lentils can be used to thicken stews, or in lentil dahl - a curry dish made from a base of tomatoes, onions and curry powder.

Chickpeas are great in stews, blended with lemon juice to make hummus, or even mashed with red onion, dried dill and mayonnaise to make a tuna replacement.

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Butter beans make a good replacement for pieces of chicken, and form the basis of Greek dish, 'gigantes plaki', when added to garlic, dried basil and tomatoes.

Other beans paired with tinned tomatoes can create delicious chillis or taco fillings, and, of course, there's always baked beans on toast if you have bread available.

Tinned vegetables

Although there has been some debate in recent years over the nutrition content of tinned vegetables compared to fresh, in a pinch, tinned vegetables can form the basis of many quick and easy meals.

Tomatoes, albeit technically a fruit, are the perfect base for sauces including curry, bolognese, and a variety of stews. Tins of tomatoes or passata are a real all-rounder.

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Tinned peas, green beans and sweetcorn can be added to practically any meal, and work well in vegetable fried rice or fish pie.

Potatoes from a tin can be used in the same way you would use fresh ones. Try roasting them or chopping into curries to bulk them out.

Tinned fish

Fresh fish may not always be available in supermarkets, and could go out of date fairly quickly after purchasing.

Tinned fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines or mackerel can be used as fillers for baked potatoes or sandwiches (if you have bread), pasta bakes, or in a fish pie with a white sauce and mashed potatoes.


The possibilities are endless with flour.

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Self-raising flour can be used in cake recipes, bread or wholewheat flour for bread recipes (if you have dried yeast), and plain flour in biscuit recipes.

Plain flour is also a key ingredient for sauces. Make a roux using flour, butter and milk (if you have no butter, you can replace it with oil) to create the base for a myriad of sauces.

White sauce can be used with dried pasta sheets, green lentils and tomatoes for an easy lasagne, or try adding cheese to mix with macaroni.

Cornflour mixed with water can also thicken any sauces when added while cooking.

If you have an egg, you can even make your own pasta.