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KO Cooks! Pantry Recipes with Cathy Walthers

Written By Catherine Walthers 19 Mar 2020
KO Cooks! Pantry Recipes with Cathy Walthers

I’m calling these PANTRY recipes, ones that use a number of items already on your shelves such as beans, peanut butter, pasta, cans of tomato, grains and more. The recipes do include other items, maybe an onion, carrot or garlic or yogurt that hopefully you’ll also have on hand. Substitutions can always be made! This is my first attempt at pulling together pantry recipes, but I hope you enjoy them in these upended times. Be well!

- Cathy

Kitchen Outfitters Cooking Instructor 




 With kids at home, tomato soup may be the perfect “school” lunch. It uses 2 cans of whole tomatoes, and make enough for several days. It goes easily with grilled sandwiches, as you might expect.

Serves 6

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, diced

1 whole leek, washed and sliced

1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic

2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes, with juices

3 cups water

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1 to 2 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup heavy cream


  1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat and sauté the onions and leeks for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, 1 to 2 additional minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes, water, thyme, sugar and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer about 15 minutes, or until onions are thoroughly cooked.
  3. Blend the soup in a blender until smooth. Return to the pot, stir in the cream and taste for seasonings. 

 © Recipe from Soups & Sides, by Catherine Walthers


Carrot Ginger Soup

  Carrot soup, while not exactly pantry, but it’s typically a vegetable people have on hand.  This soup is simple, but delicious.

Serves 6

You can make a simple, creamy soup without cream – and this carrot soup is a perfect example. 

1 medium onion, diced

2 tablespoons butter or oil 

1 whole leek, trimmed, cut in half lengthwise, rinsed and sliced

2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced uniformly 

2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger

5 cups water

1 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, 1 orange (or more if needed)


  1. In a large soup pot, sauté the onion in the butter or oil over medium heat for 5 minutes until golden. Add leeks and carrots and continuing cooking, and stirring, until leeks are softened, about 8 minutes. Mixed in ginger and cook until fragrant, 1 minute longer.

    2. Add water and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer soup for 20 minutes or until carrots are very tender. Let cool a few minutes

    3. Puree the soup in batches in the blender, adding orange juice. Blend each batch for a minute or two to get the soup super smooth and creamy. Add additional water or orange juice is the soup seems a bit thick. Season to taste with additional salt if needed.

      © Recipe from Soups & Sides, by Catherine Walthers

Chickpea Burgers

Chickpea Burgers with Yogurt Sauce

These chickpea burgers – a combination of grain and bean - are a version of falafels but not fried! They are one of the easiest veggie burgers I make. I’m not sure if everyone has cracked wheat in their pantry. I imagine couscous or brown rice would work as a substitute, but I haven’t tried it, so let us know. Serve with some luscious yogurt sauce, referred to as tzatziki. 

Serves 4 to 6

1/2 cup fine or medium bulgur (cracked wheat)

1 & 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided

1 small to medium red onion

1/4 cup minced cilantro or parsley

1 can cooked chickpeas, rinsed well

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 to 1 cup panko or other bread crumbs

Yogurt Sauce

Pita Bread


  1. Bring a small saucepan with 3/4 cup of water to a boil. Add the bulgur and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, turn burner off, cover and let the bulgur sit for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Add onion and cilantro or parsley to a food processor, and finely chop the onion. Add the cooked bulgur, chickpeas, cumin, cayenne, and the remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt and pulse until chickpeas are chopped but not pureed.
  3. Turn into a bowl and mix in 1/2 cup bread crumbs. The mixture will be a bit moist, but if it seems too moist, mix in additional bread crumbs. Form into small patties about 2 & 1/2 inches wide by 1/2-inch high and set aside until ready to eat.
  4. To cook the patties, add a film of oil to a skillet and sauté about 5 minutes on each side, until golden and hot. Serve with yogurt sauce spooned over the top and pita bread on the side.


Yogurt Sauce

1 cup yogurt

1/4 teaspoon cumin

2 teaspoon olive oil

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 garlic clove, finely minced

2 tablespoons cilantro or mint


  1. In a bowl, combine the yogurt, cumin, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and cilantro or mint. Mix well.

 © Recipe from Soups & Sides, by Catherine Walthers

Asian Peanut Noodle and Kale Salad

Peanut noodle salads are great because you can really use any noodles and any little bits of veggies left over in the refrigerator. If you are lucky enough to score kale from a local farm or CSA, all the better. Or leave out the kale altogether; it will still be tasty.

Serves 4-6

1 (8- 9-ounce) package udon or soba noodles*

5 teaspoons dark sesame oil or peanut oil, divided

4 cups kale, stalks removed, rinsed and dried, sliced thinly into 1/4-inch strips (1/2 bunch approximately 

2 good pinches of salt

1 cup shredded carrots (from about 1 - 2 carrots)

1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes, cut into thin half moons

1 cup shelled edamame beans (from frozen food section)

1/3 cup unsalted peanuts, chopped

Lime and Peanut Dressing

3 tablespoons peanut butter

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons fresh lime or lemon juice

2 to 3 teaspoons honey

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

1/4 teaspoon Sriracha or hot sauce, or more to taste


  1. Cook the soba or udon noodles in salted water according to the package. (If using soba, aim for the lower cooking time because soba noodles can easily overcook.) When drained, continue to shake the strainer to release steam from noodles and stop the cooking. Add 2 teaspoons of sesame oil and shake again to distribute and keep noodles from sticking. Set aside.
  2. Place the sliced kale in a large serving bowl or salad bowl and add the remaining 3 teaspoons of oil and salt. Knead for 2-3 minutes, working the oil into kale leaves. Add the shredded carrots and radishes. Run hot water over the edamame beans for 30 seconds, drain and add.
  3. To make the dressing, whisk together the peanut butter, water, lime juice, honey, soy sauce, oil, ginger and hot sauce in a bowl. Taste with a few of the noodles, and add additional soy or salt if needed.
  4. Just before serving, mix the dressing with the noodles. Using tongs will help. Add to the kale and vegetables and mix again. Garnish with the chopped peanuts. Serve at room temperature.

*Cook’s Note: I’m sure any favorite noodle or spaghetti would work fine. 

© Recipe from Kale, Glorious Kale, by Catherine Walthers

Fried Rice with Greens 

Serves 4 – 5

 This is one of my favorite recipes, pantry or not. Fried rice can be healthy and delicious, especially if you use brown rice. Here’s another recipe you can add bits of extra vegetables from the fridge. It’s fine if you don’t have corn or napa cabbage, or even kale. I eat this for dinner or breakfast. It’s true: using cold, leftover rice seems to work best for making fried rice. If you can, make the rice the day before and store overnight in the fridge. The fish sauce adds another depth of flavor and blends right in. For vegetarians, substitute a bit of hot sauce.


1 cup short grain brown rice (or approximately 3 1/2 cups cooked rice)


2 tablespoons coconut oil, canola or peanut oil, divided

2 cups kale, stalks removed, rinsed and chopped into small bite-sized pieces

2 cups napa cabbage, thinly sliced into bite-sized pieces

1 cup shredded carrot (1 or 2 carrots)

1 cup corn kernels, stripped from 1 ear of corn

2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

3 eggs, lightly beaten (or 1 cup diced tofu)

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon fish sauce 


  1. To make the rice: rinse rice and place in a saucepan with 2 cups of water and 2 pinches of salt. Bring to a boil, turn to lower and simmer, covered, for about 38-40 minutes, until the water is absorbed. Do not stir or disturb. When rice is cooked, remove from the stove and let sit for five minutes. Place in a bowl and refrigerate overnight after stirring a couple times to release steam.  (To make the same day, cool the rice on a baking sheet until steam is released and refrigerate while you are chopping the vegetables.)
  2. Chop and ready the vegetables to stir-fry. Add 1 tablespoon of oil into a wok or your largest, heavy skillet.  Add the kale and napa cabbage and cook on medium-high, stirring constantly (I use tongs or two wooden spoons) for two minutes. Add the carrot, corn, ginger and garlic, and stir-fry another 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove vegetables to a bowl. Add 2 additional teaspoons of oil and scramble the eggs. (Alternately, you can scramble the eggs in a separate non-stick pan.) Add the rice, soy and fish sauce, and mix well. Add the vegetables and stir until everything is hot. Serve immediately, and enjoy. 

 Cook’s Notes:

-       Add tofu for protein: Add 1/2 tub of tofu instead of the egg, or along with the egg. Cut the tofu into small cubes, less than 1/2 inch, and cook in a non-stick skillet with a film of oil until lightly golden, turning gently as you go.

-       Sometimes fresh corn is unavailable; I’ve been told Cascadian Farms brand frozen corn still retains a bit of crunch. Or substitute fresh red bell pepper, diced tiny, and cook with the carrot.  the color and crunch of corn or red pepper can add. 

 © Recipe from Kale, Glorious Kale, by Catherine Walthers


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