It’s bound to happen, after months of grocery shopping and countless impulse canned food purchases, your kitchen pantry looks more like the canned food aisle at the grocery store than you know, your kitchen pantry. While it’s great you’re “stocked,” you may also be nearing the best by date on many of those canned food gems. Are they doomed for the trash? No way! I reached out to some of my favorite dietitian foodies to get their tips on building nourishing meals out of those stray cans!
Stray Can Conundrum: Problem Solved
The Canned Goods: Canned artichokes and canned tomatoes
The Expert: Lori Zanini RD, CDE
Challenge Accepted! I always have canned artichoke and canned tomatoes, so I brown some turkey and throw in the drained artichokes and tomatoes along with some Italian herbs for a quick and nourishing pasta sauce. While I’m heating the sauce, I cook some whole wheat penne, and I have a warm, healthy meal in less than 10 minutes.
The Canned Goods: Canned beets
The Expert: Elizabeth Shaw MS, RDN, CLT
Challenge Accepted! Yep, you know the can you picked up because you thought they were cranberries for Thanksgiving? Turn those into a delicious and nutritious hummus or falafel; they make a colorful centerpiece in minutes for your meatless Monday menu! Check out Liz’s Beet Hummus and Falafel Beet Sliders!
The Canned Goods: Canned fish
The Expert: Rachelle LaCroix Mallik, MA, RD, LDN
Challenge Accepted! I always keep tinned fish in my pantry, and one of my faves is a tin of sardines for a quick puttanesca style pasta. I sauté the sardines in extra virgin olive oil with canned tomatoes, pitted olives, capers, dried oregano and red chili flakes, then toss with cooked whole wheat spaghetti or spiralized zucchini. I don’t usually add salt since there’s plenty to flavor the dish between the canned and jarred ingredients. Pasta puttanesca requires only pantry ingredients, although some fresh lemon, parsley or basil certainly perks up the dish!
The Canned Goods: Canned black beans
The Expert: Tamara S. Melton, MS, RDN, LD
Challenge Accepted! One of my favorite fast meals (and my girls love it too) is a quick tostada. I drain and rinse canned black beans and add them, along with some grated cheese to a tortilla. Next they get cooked in a sauté pan sprayed with cooking spray over medium heat until the tortilla gets crispy and cheese is melted. To serve, I top with sour cream (or low or non-fat Greek yogurt) and salsa. It’s one of our go-to meals when we’re low on time for dinner, need a quick weekend lunch or for a meatless meal!
The Canned Goods: Canned black beans and canned fire-roasted tomatoes
The Expert: Elana Natker MS, RD
Challenge Accepted! I have a favorite recipe I make at least once a week, if not more. I drain and rinse 1 can of black beans and combine it with 1 can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes. Then I divide mixture into 2 parts. Put one in a microwave-safe bowl. Put the other in a reusable container to have another time). Microwave the bean-tomato mixture for 2 minutes. Top with shredded cheese (I prefer a Mexican blend). Microwave for 30-60 seconds more. Stir and serve. Easy! You can also put it over a bed of rice (leftover Chinese food rice works great!) or another grain like farro, freekeh or quinoa.
The Canned Goods: Canned beans, any kind
The Expert: Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE, CLT
Challenge Accepted! I always keep cans of beans on hand to add protein to random weeknight dinners. One of my favorite things to do is sauté whatever vegetables are in my fridge, toss it with whole grain pasta and a can of drained beans. Try Rachael’s Mushroom and White Bean Pasta!
The Canned Goods: Canned tuna
The Expert: Lindsay Livingston, RD
Challenge Accepted! Make these Tuna Quinoa Cakes with some canned tuna. They’re packed with protein and taste great warm or cold. Serve some for dinner with steamed veggies and pack the extras for lunch on top of a salad!
The Canned Goods: Canned chickpeas
The Expert: Kara Lydon, RD, LDN, RYT
Challenge Accepted! One of my favorite ways to use canned chickpeas is making chickpea salad! It’s a delicious plant-based alternative to chicken or tuna salad. Smash the chickpeas with a fork, stir in Greek yogurt or mayo, add your favorite spices and seasonings and you’ve got a delicious lunch! Try Kara’s turmeric chickpea salad, follow it up with one of these dessert recipes.
The Canned Goods: Canned salmon
The Expert: Marisa Moore, RDN
Challenge Accepted! I always have canned salmon on hand. It’s part of my southern DNA I think. I like to use it to make a batch of Baked Salmon Cakes to eat for breakfast or for dinner with a side of sautéed green beans. Canned salmon is an inexpensive and convenient way to get those omega 3 fatty acids and protein!
The Canned Goods: Canned tuna
The Expert: Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN
Challenge Accepted! in addition to making tuna salad and tuna sandwiches, which my kids love, I add tuna to whole grain pasta with olives, tomatoes, and hard-boiled eggs for a twist on the classic Nicoise salad! Try her Nicoise Pasta Salad!
What are your favorite ways to incorporate canned food into you recipes? Share your favorites with us in the comments section below!
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