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Eight Foods That Lazy Cooks Should Always Have in The House

by Stephanie Koathes Feb 17, 2020

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White plate with black beans, corn, and tomatoes.

For some people, cooking is an art form and something that gives them great pleasure. For others, cooking is a chore to be avoided at all costs.

If you’re a lazy cook, it’s tempting to always order take-out, but the cost adds up. Don’t worry. We have a list of foods you should always have in the house to make cooking as painless as possible.  

Black beans

Canned black beans should be a staple in your pantry if you’re a lazy cook. Black beans are nutrient-dense, full of vitamins and minerals like fibre, potassium, folate, and vitamin B6. And all you have to do is open a can and toss them with spices.

Black beans in pita bread.


Season black beans with cumin, chilli powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Toss the beans on a bed of rice with corn, tomatoes, cheese and a sprinkle with chopped scallion for a tasty, low-effort meal. You can add shredded rotisserie chicken for more protein.

Mix seasoned black beans with cheese. Stuff the mixture into pita bread or a quesadilla and heat in a pan until the outside is crispy and the cheese is melted.

Canned tuna or salmon

Canned tuna and salmon can easily be turned into something filling and tasty. Both canned salmon and tuna are good sources of protein and rich in good for you omega-3 fatty acids. They’re shelf-stable and cheaper than fresh fish. Be sure to pick up canned tuna in water, not oil.

Canned tuna in a white bowl.


Season canned salmon with spices such as chilli powder, onion powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Add a small amount of mayonnaise to bind everything together and spread on whole-wheat bread for a filling sandwich. You can replace the mayonnaise with a slice or two of avocado.

Whole-wheat pasta

Pasta is always a staple in the lazy cook’s arsenal, but going for whole-wheat varieties will up the nutrition factor.

Whole wheat pasta with mushroom and spinach on a plate resting on a wooden table.


Pasta will always be good with some tomato sauce and a light sprinkling of cheese, but you can up your pasta game without much effort. Blend a ripe avocado with garlic, basil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and a little olive oil to make a creamy sauce. Toss your pasta in this avocado ‘alfredo’ sauce and top with a small amount of cheese.


Avocados are a nutrition powerhouse. Avocados are packed with healthy omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, vitamins C and E, and beta-carotene and lutein, which are good for eye health. Having this fruit around means it’s easy to add some filling, healthy fats to a quick, lazy meal.

Black bean soup topped with pieces of avocado.


Add avocado slices to your bowl of seasoned black beans, corn, tomatoes, and rice.

Use avocado instead of mayonnaise in sandwiches.

Or, use avocados as a creamy base for quick, healthy smoothies.

Just add slices to anything!

Fish fillet


Boneless fish fillets are great for quick, low-effort weeknight meals. All you need is a thawed fillet, some foil and an oven.


Sprinkle the fillet with salt, pepper, and other spices of your choice, then drizzle with olive oil and wrap in foil. While you season the fish, let the oven preheat to 350 degrees. Put the fish in the oven for around 15 minutes (cook time depends on the type and size of the fish fillet). Once cooked through, carefully remove the hot fish from the foil and enjoy with rice and vegetables. It’s quick and easy and doesn’t require you to dirty many dishes.

Frozen vegetables

Frozen peas and carrots in an orange container

Frozen vegetables are a great way to get the nutrients of veggies without much work. Frozen vegetables last longer than fresh and can often be cheaper.

If you’re really lazy, they can be prepared in the microwave so that you don’t even need to get a pot dirty. Follow the instructions on the package and add to whatever else you’re eating.

Nuts and seeds

A bowl of pecans, cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, and pistachios.

You should always have some nuts and seeds on hand if you’re a lazy cook. Peanuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are very handy to add another dimension to even the simplest of dishes.


Top oats with sunflower and pumpkin seeds for added nutrients and texture.

Use almonds, peanuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds to make quick, no-bake granola bars that you can grab from the fridge for a snack.

Make a mix of nuts, seeds, dried sweetened coconut, and chocolate chips, and you can snack on by the handful.


Oats are fibre-rich to keep you feeling full and can help lower levels of bad cholesterol. They’re also very easy to prepare, which makes them perfect for the lazy cook.


Add oats, milk or nut-milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and your sweetener of choice to an airtight container. Leave the mixture in the fridge overnight. The next morning you can top your overnight oats with fruits and nuts for a quick, healthy breakfast that required no cooking at all.

Sources: Medical News Today, Healthline