5 simple and healthy meals you can make with almost nothing

Nutrition & Well-Being
26 October 2021Hubert Cormier

It's 5pm and you have no dinner plans? Are prepared meals and a trip to the grocery shop out of the question? Don't worry! You can easily make healthy meals, even when it seems like the cupboard is bare! Dig into the pantry and whip up one of these 5 quick, easy and tasty recipes!

The Basics

When you open the pantry door, you may already have enough to make a meal without having to leave your house.

These include canned fish, pasta, bread, diced tomatoes, hot sauce, dried legumes (including lentils), coconut milk, baking supplies, breadcrumbs and various condiments and spices. For vegetables and fruit, you may also have potatoes, onions, apples, bananas and maybe even canned or frozen fruit. So you can be resourceful and easily whip up any of these recipes:

1. Special grilled cheese

Make the perfect grilled cheese with basic ingredients: a good loaf of bread, your favourite cheese and a few extra ingredients of your own choosing. Try adding apple or pear slices, lean deli meats like sliced turkey or, occasionally, prosciutto or Calabrese sausage slices, caramelized onions, pesto, chopped walnuts, etc. For a more complete meal, try Bon Matin's no-fat, no-sugar-added Protein Loaf for 14g of protein per 2-slice serving, on top of the protein in the cheese. Psst! If you want to brown your grilled cheese to perfection, spread a little mayonnaise on your bread slices! The ingredients in mayonnaise have a higher smoke point than butter, so you can cook the sandwich at a (slightly) higher heat for a crispier exterior and an even softer inside!

2. Lentil Dahl

Did you know that you can cook lentils right away, without soaking? They're the only legumes with this characteristic, so they’re a great option when you’re pressed for time. For the perfect Dahl, you need garlic, ginger and your choice of spices (turmeric, curry powder, garam masala, cumin, crushed chili flakes, etc.). The base is a mixture of vegetable broth, coconut milk or diced tomatoes, depending on the recipe and/or what you have at home! Feel free to add roasted squash cubes, haloumi cheese, cauliflower (or cauliflower rice), mahogany nuts and even a little plain Greek yogurt as a topping to your Dahl.

3. Tuna pasta salad

Pasta salad is a classic. When revisiting this recipe, check out what you have on hand. If you have tuna in oil or seasoned tuna, it's perfect! To decide proportions, consider ½ cup of dry pasta (before cooking) per person and ½ can of 170 g of tuna per person. Then multiply that by the number of people in the party. You can use whatever is in the fridge and even use wilted or soft vegetables cut into small pieces: celery, zucchini, cucumber, peppers, etc. If you have canned or frozen corn, add some for extra crunch. The dressing is easy to make: a little sour cream, yogurt, lemon juice, chopped herbs of your choice, and olive oil to make it last longer.

4. Protein oatmeal

It doesn't get much easier than oatmeal! For extra nutrition, throw in one egg per person while cooking. The egg won't be noticed, but it adds 6g of protein per serving. And if you want a nice, creamy texture and a bit of fruit, try adding a mashed or pureed banana! The browner the bananas, the sweeter they will be. Do you already have some in the freezer?

5. Chakchoukas (poached eggs in tomato sauce!)

Chakchoukas are still relatively unknown or cooked in North America. However, it’s very quick to prepare and loaded with vegetables! We make Chakchouka by poaching eggs in a tomato mixture (diced tomatoes, onions, red peppers, garlic, tomato paste and spices). Garnish with a little feta or goat cheese and fresh herbs (parsley, mint, basil, etc.) and you're done. You can use 2 eggs per person. They can be served with naan bread or mouillettes (rectangular sliced bread sticks! –Make your mouillettes with Bon Matin 100% Whole Wheat bread, no fat, no added sugar for maximum dietary fibre and whole grains!)

And that’s it! With all these great ideas, you don't have to worry about cooking with what you have left in the house. You can manage without making that weekly trip to the supermarket! Remember to substitute and put those staples on your grocery list so you’ll always have them on hand!