I Eat Plants: The Pantry Chllenge


I sadly found out a couple of weeks ago that I will need to vacate my apartment.

Looks like I’m moving into a very nearby apartment with a much better a kitchen, which is a very good thing, but of course, it means that I have to move all of my stuff.

Including all of the stuff in my kitchen.

Including tons of food.

Enter the pantry challenge.

Last summer, I canned 40 lbs of tomatoes.  I made and canned salsas and pickles and apple sauce and pie filling and roasted red peppers.  I still had jams from the year before (turns out I don’t eat all that much jam.  Yes, they’re still safe after a year, but they do start to lose flavor).  Not to mention all of the staples I have around- rice, beans, flours, other grains… and up until recently, I had been working so many hours I wasn’t using much of any of it.


But now I have time to cook, and I really want to use up what I have on hand, so I made grocery shopping off limits until I move (fresh veggies notwithstanding).  This is what is known as a pantry challenge:  use ingredients you have on hand to make all your meals.  My move notwithstanding, this is a great way to use up what’s in your pantry as we get ready for the farmer’s market season.

So, I’ve been looking through the fridge, freezer and cupboards every weekend and seeing what I can come up with for meals, and then basing my veggie shopping off of that.  My fresh veggie shopping is limited, as I want to use up the veggies I have on hand, like ones that store longer in the fridge (carrots, potatoes, refrigerator pickles), fermented veggies (kimchi, sauerkraut), frozen veggies (corn, green beans, kale), and canned veggies (pickles, roasted red peppers and tomatoes, mostly).

Despite the fact that it is now spring, I’m still doing a lot with heavier foods, including soup, to use foods up.

I’ve been making a number of things for my pantry challenge, but this week’s soup used a bunch of things:  leftover white wine (did you know that you can freeze wine

in small portions to use later?), a bit of wild rice, frozen veggie broth, leftover vegan ham-style seitan, carrots, and topped off with some of the chives I have growing on my windowsill and scallions I have regrowing in the kitchen.

I know I don’t have much hope of using up all of the food in my panty and freezer before I move, but with this pantry challenge at least I can lighten the load a bit!

And if you want to try the soup, head on over here for the recipe!


About Author

I Eat Plants columnist Jodie Deignan went vegetarian in 2004 and fully committed to veganism in 2007. By day she’s a psychiatric nurse practitioner and by night she spends a lot of time cooking delicious vegan food for herself and her friends. She’s a bit of a picky eater, with a special distaste for mushrooms, seaweed, raw tomatoes, and eggplant, though she’s discovered along the way she’s a little more open-minded than she once thought. She blogs at The Picky Vegan.

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