Tinned foods, like beans, vegetables, soups and fish, are brilliant back-ups for when you’re out of fresh produce. But they’re also fantastic ingredients in their own right that add concentrated flavour to our dishes and boost the nutritional profiles of our meals. Give them the credit they deserve with these 6 easy swaps to add more tinned food to your cooking:
Swap ground meat for beans and lentils
Beans – whether cannellini, butter, black eyed or kidney – are perfect for adding to meals that include minced meat, such as Bolognese, chilli con carne, taco fillings, burritos, lobby and shepherd’s pie, because they have a naturally dense texture. Partially substituting meat for beans or lentils bulks out dishes so they go further and save you money. A good tip to lend your bean dishes a deeper, savoury note is to melt in a couple of tinned anchovies at the very start.
White beans are also useful for filling out tuna and chicken salads, especially when topped with a jammy egg. Tinned lentils are ideal for tossing through veggie sides because they retain their shape and add interest, fibre and bulk. Simply drizzle over a dressing and you have a scrumptious flavour combo.
Swap burgers for tinned luncheon meat, beans or salmon
Breadcrumb luncheon meat, like Spam, and fry for a quick burger or hot sandwich filling. Add regular toppings, such as burger relish, mayo and salad, and you won’t be able to tell much of a difference from a regular patty. Mashed chickpeas and kidney beans from a tin can be used to make veggie burgers and canned salmon makes for delicious chunky-style fishcakes to pop inside a bap with a slick of mayo and slices of pickled gherkin.
Swap traditional lasagne for an uber-fast corned beef version
Use corned beef instead of minced beef to make a high-speed lasagne. Layered up with bechamel, pasta sheets and oodles of cheese, it tastes delicious and takes little time because the corned beef is already cooked and only requires heating though in a herby marinara sauce.
Swap fresh fruit for tinned
Tinned fruit is ideal for forming the base of a quick crumble. Rinse the fruit first to remove any syrup and stir through a dash of lemon to counteract the sugariness before sprinkling your regular crumble or streusel topping over it. Serve with hot custard and no one will know the fruit has come from a tin. Tinned pineapple, pears and mangos are ideal for upside-down cakes or you can simply stir them through your cake batter and bake for a fruity pudding with pockets of syrupy juice. Tinned rhubarb and raspberries can be swirled through a cheesecake and tinned peaches are scrumptious baked underneath dollops of cobbler or a custardy clafoutis.
Swap cream, sauces and stocks for soups
Use a can of cream of chicken soup in a gratin or as the base for a chicken pot pie instead of double cream. Tomato soup is a great shortcut for a quick Sloppy Joe sauce and canned chicken broth is delicious used in pilaf rice or risotto.
Swap fresh milk for canned milks, custards and caramels
Blend evaporated milk into your morning smoothie or bowl of porridge for a rich treat or warm it up and mix in your favourite cheeses for a fast mac and cheese sauce. Whip a tin of custard or tinned caramel into some double cream for an instant cake filling, pavlova topping or base for a banoffee pie.
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