Healthy recipes 30 Meal ideas using canned food May 01 2020
Joel Feren Joel leans against kitchen bench next to fresh vegetables Dietitian

Are you stuck for simple meal ideas and cooking inspiration at the moment, even though your pantry is well-stocked with cans? Don’t despair, here are 30 meal ideas using canned food.

Here are some delicious and easy meal ideas that deliver a host of important nutrients using everyday ingredients such as lentils, tinned apples, corn, fish, chickpeas and red kidney beans. 

1. Lentil dahl

Lentils are a rich source of protein, low glycaemic index (GI) carbs, fibre, iron, folate, magnesium and potassium. Combine them with flavoursome spices and you’ve got a delicious and hearty dhal. Give this warming dahl recipe a try on cooler nights.

2. Chilli con carne

Do you have a can of chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and red kidney beans? Then just add a few other basics from your pantry and voila, you can whip up a delicious chilli con carne in no time. If you really want to test your skills in the kitchen, look no further than this smoky beef chilli recipe.

3. Ratatouille pasta

This dish is the perfect Meatless Monday meal. Use leftover or tired veggies from your crisper, sauté them with chopped tomatoes and add them to pasta. Genius! Try adding a can of chickpeas to boost the protein content. Here’s an easy ratatouille pasta recipe you can make with the veggies you have on hand.

4. Middle Eastern baked eggs

Is there anything a can of chopped tomatoes can’t do? Combine it in a pan with eggs, spices and veggies and you’ve got another delectable meal. Here’s a quick recipe you can whip up in minutes. Otherwise, give this one pot wonder a go if you’re feeling adventurous.

5. Hummus

Blend together tinned chickpeas, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and a pinch of salt to make a delicious homemade hummus. It doesn’t get much easier. Give my hummus recipe a whirl for a quick and tasty snack.

6. Lentil Bolognese

Use tinned lentils in place of mince. They are cheaper, delicious and add key nutrients like fibre and folate. For a speedy midweek dinner, try my lentil bolognese recipe.

7. Minestrone soup

What a nutritious meal this makes when you include a number of hearty ingredients. Minestrone soup is an ideal way to use up the canned beans and diced tomatoes in your pantry. Whip up a hearty batch by following this recipe.

8. Tuna pasta bake

What to do with all those tins of tuna in your pantry? Add them to pasta with crushed tomatoes and veggies. Top with cheese before baking in the oven. It’s bound to be a family favourite. Here’s a simple and easy tuna bake recipe you can try.

9. Lentil and ricotta lasagne

Lentils are great to use instead of meat. Here’s another delicious and easy recipe to create this vegetarian winter warmer.

10. Beet and bean burger

You can’t ‘beet’ a homemade burger. Check out this delicious recipe using two cans of four bean mix.

11. Chickpea and vegetable curry

What’s more warming than a hearty curry? Including a tin of chickpeas boosts the protein and fibre content. Check out this delicious one pot chickpea and vegetable curry recipe.

12. Vegetarian nachos

Beef up your homemade nachos with a tin of pinto beans. They add flavor and protein plus a number of important nutrients. Whip up a plate in no time using this easy recipe.

13. Bean tacos

For ‘Taco Tuesday’ add a can of refried beans, black beans and diced tomatoes to bring the flavour of Mexico to your home every week. Turn your family dinner into a fiesta with this quick recipe.

14. Chicken and bean quesadillas

Here’s another Mexican specialty. Add tinned corn and black beans to boost the nutritional content of these quesadillas. Try this tasty recipe at dinnertime.

15. Beef and bean burritos

Beef up your tacos with canned red kidney beans, corn and diced tomatoes. Here’s a healthy and simple burrito recipe for some mealtime inspiration.

16. Homemade baked beans

Baked beans can be enjoyed hot, cold, on grainy toast or with eggs. You can include them at brekkie to add some much needed protein and provide lasting energy to power you through the day. Try this heart healthy homemade baked bean recipe.

17. Salmon patties

Make use of the tin of salmon in your pantry and whip up a batch of delicious salmon patties. Salmon is rich in omega 3 fatty acids which are important for heart health, so think of these patties as a present for your ticker. Use this recipe for a speedy lunch or dinner in less than 15 minutes.

18. Lentil soup

It needn’t take long to create a delicious soup. Simply add soup vegetables, stock, tinned tomatoes and a can of lentils. Make your own bowl of warming goodness using this recipe.

19. Sardines and tomato on toast

Tinned sardines are cost-effective and jam-packed full of calcium and heart-healthy fats. Team a tin of sardines with tomatoes on toast, by following this delicious recipe.

20. Tuna fish cakes

Tinned tuna is a cheap and nutritious kitchen staple. Dress it up or dress it down, it’s such a versatile ingredient. Check out this delicious and wholesome fish cake recipe.

21. Mexican chilli rice bowl

Mix tasty ingredients in a bowl and call it a meal – it’s culinary brilliance. Include a can of corn and red kidney beans to add nutrients and colour to this delicious and hearty meal. Give this easy-peasy recipe a try.

22. Tinned fruit on cereal

Don’t have any fresh fruit available? No worries. Add some tinned peaches/apples/apricots instead. Simply pick one in natural juice rather than in syrup.

23. Chicken and sweet corn soup

This meal makes use of the ever-so-humble tin of creamed corn. The final product is a wholesome and flavour-packed soup. Make your own at home by following this simple recipe.

24. Roast vegetable, feta and white bean salad

White beans are the perfect salad ingredient. Add them to roast vegetables and feta for a delicious, light and nutritious meal. Try the recipe and see for yourself.

25. Sweet potato tuna jackets 

Here’s a hearty meal that makes use of two canned foods. Combine the sweet potatoes with a side salad and you’ve got dinner sorted. You can’t go wrong with this simple and tasty recipe.

26. Falafel pita pockets

Falafel is bowling the world over. Add these delicious balls of flavour to pita pockets, combine with fresh salad veggies and top with hummus. Give this recipe a go for a quick and healthy dish.

27. Moroccan vegetable tagine

Combine a variety of hearty vegetables including canned chickpeas and tomatoes. Cook them in a tagine and you have yourself an epic meal that makes for great leftovers. Tantalise your tastebuds with this recipe.

28. Tuna puttanesca

Combine pasta with 2 tins of chopped tomatoes, a can of tuna plus other flavourful ingredients that will delight in every way. Try your hand at this tasty recipe for a simple, no-fuss meal in minutes.

29. Jacket potato with beans

Another winter warmer. Dress up the humble spud with a tin of red kidney beans, tomato passata, fresh ingredients and cheese. Give the recipe a try and you’ll have a delicious meal in no time.

30. Apple crumble

Everyone loves apple crumble, right? Here’s my healthier spin on the original. Dig in to my recipe and enjoy.

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Joel Feren Joel leans against kitchen bench next to fresh vegetables Dietitian Joel Feren is an Accredited Practising Dietitian with a background in the biomedical sciences. Joel’s main areas of interest include men’s health, food trends and the link between food and mood.