UNLV Food Pantry Recipes

The home-cooked recipes below are simple, nutritious, and delicious. They will give you the confidence and motivation to prepare fresh meals on your own. These suggestions are just a starting point - experiment with vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and sauces to satisfy your taste buds.

Main Meals

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadilla

Sweet potatoes are packed with nutrients, specifically vitamin A, and the beans are full of fiber and protein. These quesadillas make a satisfying meal or snack any time of day. Add even more flavor with the homemade salsa recipe. Plus, most ingredients are found at the UNLV Food Pantry!

  • Total time: 15 minutes
  • Servings: 5
  • Serving size: 1 quesadilla

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (low sodium preferred)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, washed and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • 3/4 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded
  • 5 medium whole wheat tortillas
  • 1/4 cup homemade salsa (see separate recipe)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream/Greek yogurt (optional)

Directions

  1. Cut a lengthwise slit in the sweet potato and microwave for 6-8 minutes, or until completely soft.
  2. Scoop the flesh into a large bowl.
  3. Add the black beans, cilantro, chili powder, garlic and red pepper flakes, and mix well.
  4. Spread about 1/2 cup of the sweet potato mixture on one side of the tortilla.
  5. Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of cheese on top and fold in half.
  6. Place the quesadilla in a pan or skillet and cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, then flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes; cut in half.
  7. Serve with desired topics like salsa or sour cream (or Greek yogurt).

Buddha Bowl

Buddha bowls are a quick and easy plant-based meal! Plus, most ingredients are found at the UNLV Food Pantry! The combination of rice and beans form a complete protein. Follow #buddhabowlrecipes on social media to find many creative ways to build your own buddha bowl.

  • Total time: 15 minutes
  • Servings: 3
  • Serving size: 1 bowl = 1 cup rice and beans, 1 cup vegetables

Ingredients

  • 2 cups, instant brown rice, cooked (or any kind of rice)
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (or any beans, low sodium preferred)
  • 3 cups mixed vegetables, chopped (fresh or frozen)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mix the rice and beans.
  2. Heat mixed vegetables on the stove for 5 minutes in a pan/skillet or microwave for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Top rice and beans with cooked vegetables and enjoy!

Mixed Vegetable Casserole

This dish is perfect when you’re in a hurry! Plus, most ingredients are found at the UNLV Food Pantry! Simply put all the ingredients in a dish and press start on your microwave. Within 10 minutes, you have a meal that is packed with vitamins from the vegetables, fiber and protein from the beans, and calcium from the cheese. Enjoy this casserole as is or with a whole wheat dinner roll.

  • Total time: 20 minutes
  • Servings: 3
  • Serving size: 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 1 can mixed vegetables, drained and rinsed (low sodium preferred)
  • 1 can green beans, drained and rinsed (low sodium preferred)
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed (low sodium preferred)
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 roll crackers of your choice (about 20 crackers), crumbled
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a large microwave safe dish, combine the mixed vegetables, green beans, pinto beans, and onion powder; top with mozzarella cheese and crumbled crackers.
  2. Microwave for 10 minutes on high or until cheese is melted and golden brown.
  3. Serve hot and add salt and pepper to taste.

Southwestern Pasta

Very easy, delicious, and makes a large batch for leftovers. The recipe uses southwestern-inspired seasonings and ingredients to create a satisfying meal. Plus, most ingredients are found at the UNLV Food Pantry! This recipe uses penne pasta, but you can use any pasta you want.

  • Total time: 20 minutes
  • Servings: 5
  • Serving size: 1.5 cups

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked pasta
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup broccoli, chopped (fresh or frozen)
  • 1.5 cups tomato sauce or pasta sauce
  • 3/4 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mix cooked pasta, black beans, corn, and broccoli.
  2. Add the sauce and cheese. Mix well once again.
  3. Heat on the stove for 5 min to melt cheese, or microwave for 1-2 min with 1 tbsp of water to maintain the moisture.

Tuna Mac and Cheese

This macaroni and cheese recipe is versatile and includes many of the necessary macro and micronutrients. Plus, most ingredients are found at the UNLV Food Pantry! This recipe is quick, easy, and delicious after a long day at school or work. Get creative with vegetables like peas, carrots, or zucchini.

  • Total time: 10 minutes
  • Servings: 5
  • Serving size: 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 1 box macaroni and cheese
  • 1 5-ounce can tuna, drained
  • 1 cup peas, frozen or canned
  • 1 cup broccoli, chopped, frozen or fresh

Directions

  1. To cook the pasta, follow the instructions on the box.
  2. While pasta is cooking, defrost the peas and broccoli if needed (microwave for 1 minute).
  3. When pasta is done, drain in a colander, return to pot and mix in the cheese.
  4. Add tuna, peas and broccoli, and mix until incorporated; serve warm.

Tuna Potato Cakes

These tuna cake patties are easy to make and taste delicious! Plus, most ingredients are found at the UNLV Food Pantry! Tuna is an excellent lean protein that is ready to eat, so you’re only cooking the cakes long enough for the egg. The potato helps hold the cakes together and adds a nice texture.

  • Total time: 20 minutes
  • Servings: 3
  • Serving size: 2 cakes

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 3 5-ounce cans of tuna, drained
  • 1 egg
  • 1 large potato
  • 1/4 red onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon plain, Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 head green leaf lettuce

Directions

  1. Wash the potato and cut a slit lengthwise; microwave for 4-5 minutes or until fork tender; let cool and dice into small cubes.
  2. In a pan over medium heat, use nonstick cooking spray and sauté the onions and potatoes for 5 minutes or until cooked through.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the tuna, egg, potatoes, onions, lemon juice, and garlic powder and mix until combined; form golf-ball size patties and flatten to 1/2 inch thickness.
  4. In a pan over medium heat, use nonstick cooking spray (or 1 tbsp olive oil) and cook for 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
  5. Top with a mixture of ketchup and Greek yogurt, and serve on a bed of lettuce.

Tuna Salad with Mixed Vegetables

There are many ways to make a tuna salad, but this is a healthy version using Italian dressing. Plus, most ingredients are found at the UNLV Food Pantry! Serve with crackers, on a bed of salad greens, or in a whole wheat wrap.

  • Total time: 10 minutes
  • Servings: 4
  • Serving size: 1.5 cup

Ingredients

  • 3 5-ounce cans tuna, drained
  • 1 can mixed vegetables, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup Italian dressing
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together.
  2. Serve with crackers, pita bread, sandwich or salad.

Soups

Vegetarian Chili

The chili is simple, quick, and filling! Plus, most ingredients are found at the UNLV Food Pantry! You can serve it as a vegetarian soup or add lean ground turkey for even more protein and flavor. Beans are packed with protein and fiber, while the corn adds a natural sweet flavor. You can buy canned roasted tomatoes, or you may roast fresh tomatoes in the oven for 5 minutes at 400°F.

  • Total time: 30 minutes
  • Servings: 4
  • Serving size: 1.5 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 can corn, drained and rinsed (low sodium preferred)
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (low sodium preferred)
  • 1 can red beans, drained and rinsed (low sodium preferred)
  • 1 can roasted tomatoes (or roasted fresh cherry tomatoes)
  • 1 can tomato sauce, unsalted (or low sodium)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 cups water

Directions

  1. In a large pot, add all the ingredients.
  2. Turn the heat on high and bring to a boil; simmer and cover for 15 minutes (or microwave for 10 minutes).
  3. Serve with baked tortilla chips.

Corn Chowder

Chowders are normally loaded with heavy cream, but this chowder uses low fat milk to add just the right amount of creaminess, making it a healthier alternative. For additional protein, you can add grilled chicken or tofu. And, most ingredients are found at the UNLV Food Pantry!

  • Total time: 30 minutes
  • Servings: 4
  • Serving size: 1.5 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 cans corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 potato, diced small
  • 1/2 onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup low fat (1%) milk
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Microwave potato for 4-5 minutes on high heat or until tender.
  2. In a skillet/pan warm olive oil on high heat, then sauté the pepper, potato, and onion for 4-5 minutes or until soft.
  3. In a large pot, add the corn, vegetables, broth, and milk and bring to a boil; simmer for 20 minutes on low heat then partially cover.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately.

Salads

Tomato and Chickpea Salad

This salad is packed with antioxidants from the tomatoes, along with protein and fiber from the chickpeas. Plus, most ingredients are found at the UNLV Food Pantry! This salad is a perfect side for any meat or pasta dish.

  • Total time: 10 minutes
  • Servings: 5
  • Serving size: 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed (low sodium preferred)
  • 1 can sweet corn, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (or 1 tomato, diced)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, dried (or 1/4 cup fresh, chopped)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (or 2 cloves, minced)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Drain and rinse the chickpeas and corn together using a colander.
  2. Wash and cut the tomatoes.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, parsley, garlic, and salt.
  4. Add in the chickpeas, tomatoes, and corn and mix.
  5. For best results, allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes so the flavors can combine.

Corn and Bean Salad

This salad is packed with protein and fiber from the beans, while the pepper and corn add the perfect amount of sweetness. This salad is a perfect side for the tacos or sweet potato quesadilla recipes. Plus, most ingredients are found at the UNLV Food Pantry!

  • Total time: 10 minutes
  • Servings: 5
  • Serving size: 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 1 can corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed (low sodium preferred)
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (low sodium preferred)
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 red onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped (or 1 tablespoon dried)
  • Salt to taste

Directions

  1. Drain and rinse the corn, kidney beans, and black beans together using a colander.
  2. Wash and cut the pepper and onion accordingly.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, and cilantro.
  4. Add the corn, kidney beans, black beans, pepper, and onion and mix.
  5. For best results, allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes so flavors can combine.

Snacks

Hummus

Hummus is a simple Mediterranean dip made from chickpeas and is packed with fiber and protein that will keep you full longer. Add hummus to pita chips, wheat crackers, or carrot sticks. Get creative by adding hot sauce, grilled red peppers, or sunflower seeds to this recipe.

  • Total time: 10 minutes
  • Servings: 4
  • Serving size: 1/2 cup

Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed (low sodium preferred)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Add liquid as needed to reach preferred consistency (add 1:1 ratio of oil and lemon juice).

Banana Sushi

This easy, fun, and filling snack is perfect for any time of day, especially after school or work. The banana is packed with potassium for your muscles, and the whole wheat tortilla provides valuable grains and nutrients. Peanut butter is a healthy fat and protein, while a drizzle of honey adds a perfect amount of sweetness.

  • Total time: 5 minutes
  • Servings: 2
  • Serving size: 1/2 roll (4-5 pieces)

Ingredients

  • 1 large whole wheat tortilla
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
  • 1 medium banana
  • honey to taste
  • 1 tablespoon almonds, crushed (optional)

Directions

  1. Spread the peanut butter evenly onto the whole wheat tortilla.
  2. Place the banana towards the edge of the whole wheat tortilla, then roll tightly into a log.
  3. Cut into bite-size pieces using a serrated knife, drizzle with honey, and top with optional crushed almonds.

Desserts

Oatmeal Banana Cookies

This cookie recipe is only four ingredients and very simple to make with items in your pantry. The riper the banana, the sweeter the cookie! You can make this cookie healthier by replacing the chocolate chips with raisins or adding nuts.

  • Total time: 20 minutes
  • Servings: 12
  • Serving size: 2 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 medium bananas, ripe to overripe
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix oats and bananas; mash bananas with a fork.
  3. Mix in cinnamon, chocolate chips and any other add-ins.
  4. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and form bite-size cookies.
  5. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown and firm to the touch.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

This smoothie is a chocolate lover’s dream and a healthy dessert option! The peanut butter and banana add the perfect creamy texture and balance of sweetness and saltiness. You can use skim or reduced fat milk, or a plant-based alternative such as soy or almond milk.

  • Total time: 5 minutes
  • Servings: 2
  • Serving size: 3/4 cup

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk (skim, low fat, or alternative milk)
  • 1 small banana, frozen
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
  • 1/2 cup ice

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.