The smell of spring is in the air and with only just 1 day to go, now is the perfect time to get ready to shake up your diet for a new season and way to do this is via giving your pantry a spring clean!
Here I am sharing exactly how to do this + sharing some spring friendly ways to use up winter pantry staples.
Why spring clean your pantry?
Winter is certainly a season for hibernation and with that can come increased appetites and craving warmth. This can translate to over purchasing and a desire to collect food in our pantry for a rainy day.
Spring is a season for new life and nutrition wise this translates to lightening up our meals and adapting our food choices for a warmer season.
This is also the perfect way to use up food before it goes off and to reduce food waste.
How to spring clean your pantry?
The best place to start to by pulling all food out of your pantry > check the use by dates > throw out any food already expired.
For any food not expired, move it to containers where you can see it easy and add the use by date to the container. When putting the food back into the pantry, try grouping the food together in categories such as ‘seasoning” “baking” “carbs” “protein” “snacks” to make it easier to find food. The easier it is, the less chance of it being pushed to the back.
How to use up foods purchased for winter in spring?
Cleaning up the pantry is one step but we also need to think of ways to use leftover foods to ensure these don’t hang around until summer!
Here are some pantry items which are commonly purchased in winter and ways to use them in spring friendly dishes:
Canned legumes (eg lentils, chickpeas, black beans, red kidney beans, cannellini beans)
- Turn into a dip and have as a snack or use as a puree for meat eg cannellini bean puree with fish/chicken – see recipe below!
- Mash/pulse in a blender and add to patties to make them bind
- Use in baked goods such as bean brownies
- Mix with salad and protein of choice and use as the filling of a wrap/sandwich
- Toss into salads to boost protein and fibre content
Garlic White Bean puree with Pesto Crusted Fish
4 x 150g fish fillets, skin removed
4 x tbsp pesto (jar or homemade)
1/3 cup crushed macadamia nuts
White bean puree
1 can cannellini / white beans, rinsed and drained
2 cloves garlic crushed
Squeeze lemon juice
Pinch chilli flakes, optional
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 180C.
Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Spread each fish fillet with pesto, on the side facing up, sprinkle evenly with macadamia nuts. Place in the oven for 10-15min until cooked through.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a pot, add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant, add cannellini beans, lemon juice and chilli, fry off for a few minutes. Either using a stick blender or adding this mixture to a blender, start blending until a smooth puree forms, adding extra virgin olive oil as needed. Season to taste.
Spread puree on each plate, top with the cooked fish and serve with a green salad.
- Lovely as a marinade for meat especially if using the BBQ
- Add to salad dressings especially cumin, cinnamon and chilli – see recipe below!
- Add to smoothies and granola / muesli such as turmeric, cinnamon and ginger
- Use on veggies before roasting or grilling them
- Use in bliss balls when making snacks
- Add to dips – paprika, cumin, turmeric work well in hummus!
Carrot, Cumin & Date Salad
2 cups grated or spiralled carrots
1 cup fresh coriander, chopped
1/2 cup dates, finely chopped
1/3 cup pine nuts or flaked almonds
1 tsp. cumin, ground
2-4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2-4 tbsp. maple syrup
Salt and pepper
Add all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl.
Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well.
Serve immediately or put in the fridge prior to serving.
Pasta / rice or other grains
- Use cooked pasta/grains in frittatas for a lighter dish and serve with a side salad
- Try pasta bake as a side dish with BBQ fish/meat/tofu and salad
- Use cooked and cooled pasta/grains in salads as this is a great form of resistant starch, beneficial for feeding bacteria resident in our colon – see recipe below!
- Add to nourish bowls for extra fibre – simply toss with some avocado, olive oil and herbs as a yum way to spruce it up.
Fresh & Zesty Pasta Salad
Serves 4 (as a side)
2 cups cooked and cooled pasta
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 shallot, cut finely
1 punnet grape tomatoes, kept whole
1 tbsp. lemon zest
1 tbsp. capers or chopped olives
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped (or basil)
extra virgin olive oil
Heat olive oil in a frying pan, add garlic and shallot and cook for 3-4 minutes until soft. Add tomatoes and cook until slightly softened and until they start to break up. Add pasta, lemon zest and capers, combine well. Remove from the heat, toss through the parsley and almonds before serving.