We’ve all been there – you’ve not been shopping and the cupboards are bare apart from a few odd ingredients that don’t seem to go well together.

It might be tempting to just ring for a takeaway instead, but if you have a few simple ingredients you can usually always make healthy meals with empty cupboards without too much effort.

plate of low carb food on black background

Dried Pasta

Pasta is one of the easiest things to turn into a quick and healthy meal with just what’s in your cupboard. A simple tin of tomatoes and some vegetables can go a long way towards being a tasty meal (that’s usually totally syn-free if you follow Slimming World!).

You could even create a healthy Carbonara-inspired dish. Traditional Carbonara is made with eggs and pasta water, so with some seasoning and some chicken or vegetables (whatever you have lying around), you could create a really healthy meal.

Pasta arrabbiata
Pasta arrabbiata

A Hearty Salad

Have you ever noticed Instagram salads that are a collection of random vegetables, grains and legumes presented nicely?

Well, empty cupboard syndrome is the perfect time to try a healthy Instagram salad or even your own version of a Buddha bowl.

If you have a tin of chickpeas, pasta, some vegetables or even some rice then you’re onto a winner! What about making something a little like this burrito bowl?

Black bean burrito bowl
Black bean burrito bowl


Eggs really are the saviour of an empty cupboard – they’re so versatile. You can throw almost anything inside an omelette to create a healthy dinner option.

If you’re really stuck then have a look in your freezer for any long-forgotten veg, and try adding paprika when you whisk the eggs to give the omelette more flavour.

omelette on wooden board


Rice is something that all of us have in our cupboards and usually look past when we’re trying to invent dinner ideas.

One of the easiest ways to create something more unique is to oven-bake it.

Just add spices, and any vegetables or meat that you have lying around to some rice and water in an ovenproof dish to create a biriyani-inspired meal with leftovers.

Savoury rice
Savoury Rice


Ratatouille is a great dish to take inspiration from when you’re not sure what to make with fridge/cupboard scraps.

The original dish is a mixture of specific vegetables with a tomato sauce, but you can adapt it to use what you have.

You can throw together almost any vegetables you find, cook them down and then add some passata or tinned tomatoes (whatever you have) for a dish that’s hearty but healthy and might even be added to your regular menu in the future.


You can do it!

Having empty cupboards doesn’t mean that you can’t make a healthy meal, but it does require a little creativity to create a healthy and satisfying meal.

If you find yourself repeatedly struggling to make a meal from what’s left in your kitchen then ensuring that you have a few staples like tinned tomatoes, pasta, eggs, rice and frozen vegetables in stock at all times will help you always find something to create a healthy meal, rather than ordering a takeaway!

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