Do you remember when the COVID-19 pandemic came into our lives, and we started hoarding everything from toilet paper to canned foods? And now you’re looking in your kitchen cupboard and wondering… just what were you thinking?
If you’re like me, I’m sure there are plenty of canned goods in there – tomatoes, lentils, fish, fruit, pumpkin puree, chickpeas, luncheon meat, beans, broths – the list is endless.
And so are the possibilities.
We stocked up out of a fear of running out, but now we have to put all our good intentions to use. All you need is a can – and a plan. Canned foods are convenient, versatile, and easy on the budget. Available year-round, canned ingredients have similar nutritional value and taste found in fresh or frozen foods.
Canned foods are excellent in starters, mains and desserts… we’re pretty sure there are a couple of cans in your kitchen ready to be turned into a dynamic meal.
So grab a can opener and make plans for your next breakfast, lunch and dinner.
DID YOU KNOW
According to the Canned Food Alliance — a consortium of can producers, select food processors and affiliate members — canned food is packed at its peak and close to the source. In fact, every fall, farmers from across North America are planning the harvest of picking and packing fruits and vegetables within hours of being picked – a true farm-to-table initiative.
Most canned fruits and veggies contain no preservatives. They’re picked and packed at the peak of ripeness, cooked quickly at high temperatures, and sterilized in steel cans to keep nutrients in and impurities out. For those worried about sodium, just check the label and you’ll see reductions in everything from salt to sugar.
Tuna Chickpea Pitas
Recipe courtesy Pulse Canada (pulses.org)
1/2 cup (125 mL) yogurt, whole milk or Greek
3 Tbsp. (45 mL) lemon juice
2 Tbsp. (30 mL) tahini
1/4 cup (60 mL) parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp. (2 mL) EACH salt and pepper
2-5 oz. (142 g each) cans white albacore tuna, drained
1-15 oz. (425 g) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup (60 mL) red onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cups (500 mL) cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups (500 mL) arugula
Whole wheat pita bread, about 4
Whisk together yogurt, lemon juice, tahini, sea salt, pepper, and parsley in a small bowl until smooth and creamy. In a separate medium size bowl add tuna, chickpeas, red onion, and celery. Pour yogurt mixture over top and stir until combined.
Add two tablespoons tuna and chickpea mixture into pitas. Garnish with arugula and cherry tomatoes. Fold and serve.
Makes 4 servings.
Lentil and Mushroom Pasta Sauce
A delicious and satisfying dish that can be assembled and on the table in no time. Make a double batch and freeze. Courtesy of cookbook author Greta Podleski from her award-winning Yum & Yummer cookbook (One Spoon Media/Yumyummer.com.)
1 Tbsp. (15 mL) olive oil
1 cup (250 mL) diced onions (about one large)
2/3 cup (150 mL) each of diced carrots and diced celery (1 large carrot and one large rib)
2 cloves fresh garlic
3 cups (8 oz/227g pkg) finely chopped mushrooms, cremini recommended
3 cups (750 mL) canned or jarred favourite marinara sauce
1 19-oz. (540 g) can petite-cut tomatoes (with liquid)
1 Tbsp. (15 mL) balsamic vinegar or splash of red wine
2 tsp. (10 mL) dried Italian seasoning or 1 tsp. (5 mL) each of dried oregano and dried basil
1 19-oz. (540 g) can lentils, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp. (30 mL) minced fresh parsley (optional)
Favourite cooked pasta
Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Cook and stir until vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and continue to cook until mushrooms are tender and have released their liquid, about 5-7 minutes.
Stir in marinara sauce, tomatoes with their liquid, vinegar and Italian seasoning. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add lentils and cook for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and stir in parsley, if using. Serve over hot pasta.
Pantry Staple Spiced Kidney Bean Curry
Recipe courtesy Pulse Canada (pulses.org)
2 Tbsp. (30 mL) olive oil, extra virgin
1-½ tsp. (7 mL) cumin, seed
1 Tbsp. (15 mL) coriander, whole seed
1 tsp. (5 mL) red pepper flakes
1-1/2 tsp. (7 mL) turmeric, powder
1 white onion, small, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-15 oz. (425 g) can tomatoes, crushed
1 19-oz. (540 g) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup (250 mL) broth, vegetable or beef
1 tsp. (5 mL) salt
Fresh mint, for garnish
Fresh cilantro, for garnish
Add olive oil to a large pot over medium on the stove. In a mortar and pestle (or spice grinder), grind coriander and cumin seeds. Add coriander, cumin and red pepper flakes to pot and stir for several minutes until fragrant. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes until golden, then add garlic and cook for an additional 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add turmeric and tomatoes. Stir to combine and simmer for 7 minutes.
Add beans and broth and cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until slightly reduced and thickened. Garnish with cilantro and mint. Serve with rice or flatbread.