IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Joy Bauer shares 18 healthy recipes you can make with foods in your pantry

Tight on time and money? Don't shop — check your cabinets!

TODAY nutritionist, Joy Bauer, shares her tips on how to be the boss of your pantry — from the best organizational tips to the healthiest things to stock up on for quick, easy and healthy meals.

With limited trips to the grocery store due to the pandemic, I really had to get creative with canned beans and fish, rolled oats and nut butters this year. Here are a few of my favorite recipes that go from pantry to table in no time!


1. Chocolate-Banana Overnight Oats

No time for breakfast? You can prep this healthy and tasty breakfast the night before.

2. Jumbo Oatmeal Pancake

Pancakes are a real crowd-pleaser and they’re quick to whip up. This version features ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen, requires only a simple toss and mix, and tastes incredibly yummy.

3. Overnight Banana Strawberry Oats

You’re going to flip for these sweet and satisfying overnight oats. Just prep them the night before and you’ll wake up to a delicious breakfast in the morning.

Strawberry and Cream Smoothie
Strawberry and Cream SmoothieCourtesy Joy Bauer

4. Strawberry and Cream Smoothie

This "breakfast milkshake” is filled with creamy goodness, it feels indulgent and comes with a whole lot of nutrition.

5. Peanut Butter Cup Smoothie

Creamy and delicious, this smoothie tastes more like dessert than breakfast. Adults and kids alike will slurp the sweet sip right up!

Canned fish

6. Veggie Tuna Salad

This salad is packed with protein, beta carotene and vitamin C. It’s the perfect lunch in a crunch and can be served on a bed of fresh spinach leaves or on a halved and toasted English muffin.

Open-Faced Tuna Melt
Open-Faced Tuna MeltCourtesy Joy Bauer

7. Open-Faced Tuna Melt

This open-faced sammie is nostalgia in a bite! I gave the classic tuna melt a healthy makeover with fiber-rich whole-grain bread, canned light tuna (canned albacore white tuna is higher in mercury) mixed with light mayo (and maybe some hot sauce for extra heat), and topped with cheese.

8. Wild Salmon and Chickpea Salad

Everybody seems to have a favorite tuna salad recipe, but it is just as easy to create fabulous salads using canned salmon, which has much more omega-3 fats and vitamin D.

Nut butters

9. Joy Bauer's Chocolate-Peanut Butter Fudge Bites

These chocolaty, fudgy bites are not only delicious but are perfect for beating the afternoon energy slump.

10. Cold Sesame Noodles with 4-Ingredient Peanut Sauce

These cold sesame noodles are a family favorite in my house. They’re ridiculously easy to make and the peanut butter sauce requires only four simple ingredients — one of them is water!

11. Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal Squares

This tasty treat offers 4 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber so it’s a sweet treat that’s sure to have some staying power.


12. Lentil Hummus

This recipe is a nice spin on the classic dip, incorporating lentils instead of chickpeas. Lentils are a brain-boosting ingredient and, in some studies, have been shown to help clear brain fog and improve cognition.

Lentil Hummus

13. Black Bean Tacos

Taco time! I made black beans the star of this recipe because they’re busting with nutrition — and they’re a terrific source of plant-based protein and fiber.

14. Quinoa-Black Bean Casserole

This creative spin on my Triple Veggie Quinoa recipe is a great family-style meal for Meatless Mondays! The addition of the eggs and cheese give this dish a unique Mexican flare that your whole gang is sure to love.

15. Three Bean Veggie Chili

This hearty vegan chili gets a powerful punch of protein and fiber from the beans, making it a tasty and satisfying meal.

Quinoa-Chickpea Tabbouleh
Quinoa-Chickpea TabboulehCourtesy Joy Bauer

16. Quinoa-Chickpea Tabbouleh

Tabbouleh is a Middle Eastern salad made with couscous or bulgur, tomatoes, cucumber and fresh herbs like parsley and mint. I substitute quinoa as the grain and add chickpeas to bump up the protein, transforming this side dish into a substantial meal.

17. Slow Cooker Chicken and Black Bean Chili

This slow cooker chili is incredibly tasty on its own, but it also makes a delicious filling for enchiladas and tacos, too. You can even spoon it over a platter of whole grain tortilla chips to create a healthier rendition of “loaded nachos.”

18. Salsa Verde Chicken Chili

I love this chicken chili with salsa verde. I add a can of dark red kidney beans along with a can of white cannellini beans, but you can swap in any beans you have on hand to make it a filling and fibrous all-star dish.