18 recipes for self-isolation

Avoid the supermarket crush and support small food businesses

In these trying times, it’s important to see positives and look forward to returning to our normal lives in the future.

WATCH: PM adds food courts to shopping centres in coronavirus restrictions

Even though we produce enough food on home soil to feed everyone, the supermarket shelves are bare with panic buying. The search for ingredients these last few weeks to develop recipes has been a difficult one.

I found myself coming up with ideas on how I can make the most of what we have still in supply and how to decrease anxiety levels after watching people scramble for the last of the pantry staples in crowded supermarkets.

Here are my top tips to separate yourself from the masses and shop sensibly.

1. Shop small and local 

Venturing out to a supermarket right now can be stressful to say the least.

Cafes that produce and stock their own goods and even corner stores (the few that still exist) and are a great way to keep your essentials in stock; milk, eggs, bread, butter, even the odd can of tomatoes or jar of cooking sauce can become invaluable in these times. Not to mention how good it feels to support small business.

Pantry shelves
(Credit: Chris Warnes)

2. Avoid supermarkets

Shop at fruit and vegetable stores away from the supermarket and shopping precinct madness. Not only will they not run out of fresh vegetables, they can’t be stockpiled and will keep being replenished.

You will also find a treasure trove of multicultural delights on the shelves and in the freezers of the larger stores.

There are endless meals that can be made from fresh vegetables, pulses, grains, condiments and continental products found here.

Frozen ready-made lasagnas, frozen meat products and pastries are also in supply.

(Credit: Armelle Habib)

3. Eat more seafood

This is still in good supply. Local fish shops can order and supply fresh seafood or find a fish monger for a larger variety of options.

4. Vegetarian options

Health food stores and small independent grocers are also a good source for vegetarian options, such as dried beans, pulses, grains, seeds and nuts. Tofu and soy products are also good substitutes.

(Credit: Gorta Yuuki)

Making the most from your pantry

With meat and poultry being at a premium right now, take the time to research and gather some vegetarian recipes that your family will find to be a good compromise and enjoy. There are a lot of recipes online that can be made ahead and frozen. Where you once used meat you can substitute with a vegetable. For example, use chopped eggplant and canned brown lentils instead of mince – or you can skip the vegetables all together and use frozen quorn (frozen meat substitute).

(Credit: Sue Stubbs)

Supplies of pasta and rice are now seriously depleted. Think outside the box and use other ingredients that can replace these belly-filling staples. Use potatoes, mashed pumpkin and sweet potato, cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles, lentils, quinoa, polenta, cannellini beans, chick peas, barley, buckwheat, freekah, dried noodles, flour wraps and tortillas and bread.

Preparing your usual meals may change during this time but you don’t have to compromise on flavour. The availability of fresh herbs and dried spices hasn’t changed. Some fresh herbs can be purchased in pots so they can be kept for longer periods.

Here, I’ve rounded up 18 recipes to make the most of the ingredients you can source now


Steamed fish with ginger, chilli and sesame

Steamed fish
(Credit: Nicky Ryan)

A fresh and satisfying midweek meal. Click here for the recipe. 

Coriander seed, honey and lime roasted salmon

Roasted salmon
(Credit: Cath Muscat)

This main has got the wow factor. You can use the same topping on salmon or fish fillets. Click here for the recipe.


Quinoa & vegetable broth

Quinoa and vegetable broth
(Credit: Cath Muscat)

A soul-warming broth filled with hearty veg and satisfying grains. Click here for the recipe. 

Yellow split pea, pumpkin & cavolo nero soup

Yellow split pea soup
(Credit: Nicky Ryan)

An easy main for a family dinner. Click here for the recipe.

Salads and vegie sides

Whole roasted spiced cauliflower

Roasted spiced cauliflower
(Credit: Cath Muscat)

Good looking and good for you, this is our new favourite way to eat a cauli. Click here for the recipe. 

Sriracha roasted pepita and cashews with buckwheat pumpkin salad

Sriracha Roasted Pepita & Cashews with Buckwheat Pumpkin Salad
(Credit: Cath Muscat)

A hearty salad for the perfect main meal with extra crunch and bursts of colour. Click here for the recipe.

Seasoned baked French fries

Seasoned baked French fries
(Credit: Cath Muscat)

A tasty snack or delicious side dish. Click here for the recipe. 

Roasted cauliflower, haloumi and zucchini with tahini dressing

Roasted cauliflower, haloumi & zucchini with tahini dressing-
(Credit: Cath Muscat)

It’s the tahini dressing that takes this delicious side dish to the next level. Click here for the recipe. 

Light meals

Quinoa warm brunch salad

Quinoa warm brunch salad
(Credit: Cath Muscat)

Healthy and hearty – perfect for breakfast in bed. Click here for the recipe.

Zucchini and four cheese tart

Zucchini and four cheese tart
(Credit: Nicky Ryan)

A wonderful light main great for lunch or dinner. Click here for the recipe. 

Baked polenta tart with asparagus, mushrooms and feta

Baked polenta tart
(Credit: Cath Muscat)

The colours of Italy on a sunshine base of delicious baked polenta. Click here for the recipe. 

Haloumi-stuffed tomatoes

Haloumi stuffed tomatoes
(Credit: Cath Muscat)

A bright and flavourful meal to get you through self-isolation. Click here for the recipe.

Chicken soba noodle salad with sesame peanut dressing

Chicken soba noodle salad
(Credit: Cath Muscat)

You can replace chicken with any cooked protein or plant-based substitute. This dressing can also be used over other Asian noodles, Buddha bowls or rice dishes. Click here for the recipe. 

Baked chilli jam tofu with brown rice, sesame and almond salad

Baked chilli jam tofu
(Credit: Cath Muscat)

A vibrant vegetarian light that packs in flavour and colour. Click here for the recipe.

Roasted sweet potatoes with tumeric spiced chickpeas

Roasted sweet potatoes
(Credit: Cath Muscat)

Display on a platter for the wow factor. Click here for the recipe.

Family dinner

Turmeric, potato and chickpea curry

Turmeric potato and chickpea curry
(Credit: Cath Muscat)

Christine Manfield shares her secrets for soul-warming vegetable curry. Click here for the recipe.

Mushroom lasagne

Mushroom lasagne
(Credit: Nicky Ryan)

You can use 1kg of button mushrooms as a substitute for Portobello and Swiss brown mushrooms. Click here for the recipe.

Sweet potato, lentil and cheddar sausage rolls

Sweet potato, lentil and cheddar sausage rolls
(Credit: Cath Muscat)

A vegetarian spin on an old favourite – and perfect for the kids! Click here for the recipe. 

You might also like:

How to create a healthy home office space

Self-isolating? 10 creative things you can do at home

Coronavirus update: How to clean your home

Related stories