During these hard times, many of us try to find comfort in food. Yet at least for a few of us, going to the grocery store may not be the safest thing to do right now. Instead of freaking out, which I initially did, I scoured the internet to find meals that I could make only using basic pantry items. From my search, I was able to assume that basic items include pasta, rice, canned soup, potatoes, oats, canned beans, canned corn and more.  Through the countless videos and websites I saw, I realized that it was not impossible to make food with only the items in your house, and, as an added benefit, most of these recipes can be turned vegetarian and vegan. Armed with this research, I challenged myself to cook for a day using only pantry staples. 


potato, onion, bacon, hash
Alex Vu

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Potatoes are a great pantry staple and are an easy vegetable to whip up in the morning. The texture of them is quite interchangeable, giving endless possibilities: you can have them soft and pillowy or crunchy and crisp. If you are in the mood for the latter, you can completely sear shreds of potatoes to make a crisp hash brown to enjoy with some ketchup. Or if you want grilled veggies to be covered by a pillowy potato blanket, chop up some hearty vegetables and use potatoes to make a filling breakfast medley. The best part about these breakfast ideas is that you can switch anything out and still make a great meal.


rice, meat, vegetable, pepper, corn
Miranda Dambrot

I consider lunch to be the most delicious food, period. For me, lunches make my mood brighter and help keep me going for the rest of the day. I have been missing all the burrito restaurants around Berkeley a little more than usual, and since I did not have any tortillas around, I decided to make this bean and corn salad with rice. Since lime juice may not be considered a pantry staple to some, it can be switched out with some sour cream or tangy hot sauce. As someone who often does not get enough protein, rice and beans are always a staple for me, but the extra lime juice helped me reminisce about my favorite Berkeley burrito spots.

#SpoonTip: You can easily switch the corn or beans for the protein of your choice. 


toast, bread, sweet, butter, grilled cheese sandwich, cake, honey, pastry, jam
Christin Urso

Dinners, even at Berkeley, are pretty light for me. However, due to being at home and getting to spend time with my parents, I have been craving my favorite childhood meals. Grilled cheese with tomato soup is a quick meal that I make to fill my stomach. Better yet, add some pasta and you have a completely heightened experience of the dish. If you are not vegetarian, here is a recipe that is basically the same thing but with bacon. The best part is that any bread works. I sometimes prefer a grilled cheese on an everything bagel just because of the extra umami flavor. If tomatoes are not your friend, you can try a black bean soup or any canned soup lying around.


syrup, blueberry, sweet, pancake, pastry, berry, cake, chocolate
Alex Frank

I am super into desserts right now. Due to all of my free time, I have started making snickerdoodle mug cakes, brownies, and even oatmeal pancakes. It took a while for me to realize that dessert can be healthy sometimes. When I feel like I have eaten too many carbs that day, I tend to make oatmeal pancakes with some frozen blueberries. They are scrumptious and fluffy. I also like to make a peanut butter and cinnamon spread to eat with them. If oatmeal pancakes are not your vibe, you can use basic pantry staples to whip up a delicious mug cake for dessert.

Because of the national initiative to #StayHome, I am really trying to keep my family members from running to the grocery store all the time. At Berkeley, I used to go to the grocery store every week to get fresh produce, yogurt, and bread. I now realize how much of a luxury that was and will make it a point in the future to always appreciate being able to do so. I am not the only one who is using her pantry staples to make meals. There are many great videos on YouTube of people making meals using just pantry staples that are not difficult at all. As an amateur chef who has used pantry staples for a few meals and felt that they have succeeded, I challenge you to cook for a day using only pantry staples.