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ALDI Pantry Meals (when you can’t get to the store)

Can’t get out to the store, or anticipate not being able to go for a while? Here are some ALDI pantry meals to keep you going, plus ideas on what to stock up on when you do get over there (or do a delivery / pickup order).

aldi pantry meals when you can't get to the store

2023 update — I wrote this post during the beginning days of the pandemic in 2020, but these strategies work any time you won’t be able to get to the store for a while. If you’re sick, have a sick kid, are busy, or just trying to stretch out your time between trips, check out these tips.

ALDI Pantry Meals

While people have been stockpiling and panic buying during the pandemic, I thought it might be useful here to focus on some of the more practical ways a well-stocked ALDI pantry can help get you through hard times — whether this be a 14 day quarantine, 10 days of kids with the flu, or another unplanned emergency where you just can’t get out to the store for a while.

Most of the stock-up stories I’ve seen talk about picking up a supply of mac & cheese, canned ravioli, instant oatmeal, and other prepared convenience foods. Today, I’d like instead to talk about quick semi-convenient ALDI pantry meals you can throw together with pantry staples + a few extras when that mac & cheese gets a little old.

ALDI Pantry Foods to get you through

bag of rice from aldi

If I were to stock my house for two weeks of emergency eating right now, here are some of the things I’d make sure I had in stock — or, that I would pick up at ALDI ASAP:

  • Canned beans
  • Tortillas
  • Cheese
  • Canned tomatoes & sauce
  • Canned chipotle peppers
  • Salsa
  • Milk (the dates at my store yesterday were over two weeks out)
  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • Bread (freeze extra)
  • Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Carrots & celery
  • Minced garlic
  • Oranges
  • Apples
  • Limes
  • Avocados
  • Frozen & canned veggies
  • Chicken & ground beef or ground turkey (freeze extra)
  • Smoked sausage or kielbasa
  • Broth
  • Rice
  • Peanut butter
  • Nuts & dried fruit
  • Pasta
  • Soy sauce

This list of course would depend what I already had in my pantry — and would supplement my ordinary shopping, where I’d also pick up my normal produce, snacks, and other meal ingredients for the week.

saltines at aldi

If I were planning for illness, I’d also pick up a couple of extras like ice pops (for soothing sore throats) and saltines (for soothing touchy stomachs). And, in general, I’d always be sure to have basic spices on hand.

Quick ALDI Pantry Meal Options

Why these particular pantry items? Because they readily combine into so many different meal options! For example: Off the top of my head, black beans alone serve as the backbone of a multitude of recipe combinations…

make black beans into meals

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather whip up a batch of vegetarian black bean chili or quick cook up some quesadillas than face a couple straight weeks of canned ravioli or mac & cheese.

Picking particular produce

oranges at aldi

Why did these particular produce items make the list? Simply because they’ll keep for a longer period of time, and/or because they will serve you well as basic recipe building blocks.

  • Carrot + celery + onion + spices + broth = the building blocks for soup
  • Carrot + celery + eggs + rice + frozen veggies = the building blocks for fried rice
  • Celery + peanut butter = easy, kid friendly snack
  • Oranges & apples keep longer than other produce, add sweetness to your life, and give you the vitamin C that you’re going to want
  • Potatoes, you can bake and top to turn into an easy lunch, chop and roast to turn into a side, pan fry to to accompany your breakfast…
  • Garlic, because life needs flavor no matter what’s going on in the world around us
  • Limes, because a little acidity perks up flavors and because they pair well with other pantry staples like black beans
  • Avocados, for your healthy fats, easy burritos, avocado toast, and variety

If you’re shopping now and planning a couple of weeks out, you can also pick up some more perishable produce to use during week one, reserving your apples & oranges for week two.

Eggses it is

eggs at aldi

ggs are another long lasting & affordable basic protein that you can turn into a variety of meals. We already talked about fried rice and breakfast burritos, but in addition to those ideas:

  • Eggs + broth + spices = egg drop soup
  • Eggs + cheese + butter = scrambled eggs
  • Eggs + toast + cheese = breakfast sandwiches
  • Eggs + butter + garlic + pepper + Parmesan + spaghetti = noodles with egg & cheese
  • Eggs + salsa + tortillas = chilaquiles
  • Eggs + smoked sausage + potatoes + onion + cheese = hoppel poppel

Hard boil some eggs to have as snacks, or throw sunny side up eggs onto avocado toast to turn it into a more filling meal. (I like also to top mine with everything bagel seasoning, but that’s me.)

Play this game with your own favorite pantry staples

grilled cheese with avocado mushroom onion


ry this basic meals building blocks game yourself with any item on the list, or add in your own staples. For instance:

Got cheese & bread & butter? You have yourself a grilled cheese sandwich right there; and you can throw in some avocado and sauteed onion to change things up. Got cheese & tortillas? You have quesadillas — or bulk those up with any combination of beans, salsa, eggs, avocado, and/or rice to make burritos. Got cheese & crackers, or cheese & an apple? You have yourself a hearty snack. Got cheese & rice & frozen broccoli? Yup, you have broccoli cheese rice. Swap out that rice for a baked potato, and you have a stuffed broccoli cheese potato. Take out the cheese, chop up and roast the broccoli and potatoes, and you have a side dish.

Got chickpeas? Roast them up with olive oil and spices for a snack; mix them up with a little garlic, lime juice, and spices for a sandwich filling or just to eat with a spoon. Got nuts & dried fruit? Turn them into trail mix. Got frozen veggies? Cook them up as a side dish, add them to soup, stir them into fried rice, use them to top baked potatoes.

Suffering from sticker shock?

clearance drumsticks

It does look like a lot all at once, I get it. We’re stocking up at ALDI here for affordability — but, the current climate also highlights how useful it can be to get in the habit of picking up extras to stock your pantry. Do this as your weekly budget allows, or as you spot clearance items or sales.

For the past few weeks, for instance, my local ALDI has been running sales on canned beans at $.48-$.49 as opposed to their normal $.69 price. I’ve been throwing a couple of cans into my cart every week to restock my pantry, because at $.20 off a can? Why not.

Whenever I walk down the fresh meat aisle, I keep an eye out for ALDI’s red clearance stickers. This way, I always have basic meats in the freezer to turn into meals — even if the sales in a given week don’t strike my fancy, or if I’m unable to make it out to the store.

What ALDI pantry staples are you picking up?

aldi pantry meals when you can't get to the store

Are you picking up extras this week, or just going about your normal shopping? Do you just make a habit of having a well-stocked pantry in general? Let me know what you’d add to this list, or your own favorite meals to throw together with pantry staples.