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Recipe Ideas for Canned Vegetables that Are Collecting Dust in Your Pantry

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Canned vegetables are a mainstay in kitchens everywhere. They’re affordable, last a long time, and are perfect when fresh veggies are either out of season or just not available. But often they sit in your pantry collecting dust so let’s fix that with these canned vegetables recipe ideas.

An unorganized pantry filled with packages of food and canned food.
Photo credit: Unsplash/Annie Spratt

There’s a bit of a debate about how canned goods stack up nutritionally against fresh or frozen options. Yes, some nutrients may dip during canning, but in many cases, canned veggies can actually retain more nutrients than fresh ones that have been sitting out for a while. It’s always smart to read those labels to choose the best-canned vegetables for your cooking.

How Canned Vegetables are Made

Understanding how canned vegetables are made is crucial for appreciating their role in providing safe and long-lasting food options. This process not only ensures that vegetables remain safe to eat but also preserves their nutritional value for extended periods.

Canning vegetables involves cooking them in a sealed container that’s heated enough to kill harmful microbes. This method keeps the veggies safe and locks in their nutrients and flavor for much longer.

Even better, many brands today have stepped up to meet health trends with plenty of low-sodium and preservative-free options.

Canning vegetables is a precise process that ensures both safety and longevity. Vegetables are picked at their peak and quickly taken to canning facilities, where they are cleaned, possibly cut, and then blanched to stop any enzyme activity that could spoil their taste and nutritional benefits.

They are then packed in cans with water or seasoned brine and heated to a high temperature to sterilize them. After cooling, the cans are labeled and shipped out.

Various opened cans of vegetables and fruit.
Photo credit: Deposit Photos/NewAfrica

Tips for Selecting Canned Vegetables

When choosing your canned vegetables, always inspect the cans for any signs of damage, such as dents or rust, which can compromise the safety and quality of the contents.

Look for products with straightforward ingredient lists — vegetables, water, and minimal additives are best. This ensures you are getting the most natural product possible.

How to Use Canned Vegetables

To get the most out of canned vegetables, start by draining and rinsing them to reduce sodium. Then, place the contents into a saucepan with some water to cover the vegetables and turn the heat to medium-high.

When the vegetables are warmed through you can drain the water and serve them with seasonings like herbs, salt, and pepper or a dash of butter or olive oil to enhance their flavor.

“Canned veggies like green beans are a staple in my kitchen, especially the no-salt-added versions, so I can flavor them to taste better without going overboard,” shares Kristin Duke, content creator at MrAnimal Farm.

They’re great in soups, salads, casseroles, and stir-fries — just add them towards the end of cooking to keep their texture intact.

Two bowls of ground turkey chili with an instant pot in the background.
Photo credit: DTW, Ground Turkey Chili

Ideas for Meals with Canned Vegetables

Canned vegetables are incredibly versatile. You can use them in everything from soups and stews to salads and casseroles, streamlining meal prep and enhancing your dishes.

  • Add canned beans, carrots, green beans, corn, and tomatoes to soups and stews for extra flavor and nutrients.
  • Whip up quick and easy lunches or dinners like stir-fries or simple chicken dishes with canned mushrooms, green beans, and carrots.
  • Use canned mushrooms, olives, and onions on pizza. I often use canned mushrooms because I rarely keep fresh mushrooms on hand. I freeze the leftover mushrooms or add them to an omelet.
  • Use canned vegetables in sides like this Crockpot corn with cream cheese and bacon and casseroles like this gluten free chicken tetrazzini, or mix them into salads for an easy boost of nutrition.
  • Toss canned beans into a taco filling or a chili like this 3-bean chili or ground turkey chili for a hearty and filling meal.
  • Create a quick pasta sauce with canned tomatoes, herbs, and your favorite spices.
  • Use canned peas, corn, and carrots in shepherd’s pie or cottage pie.
  • Enhance breakfast casseroles or quiche with canned spinach or asparagus for a touch of green and extra nutrients.

“My favorite vegetable to buy canned is beets; it’s a great time-saver to not have to roast them yourself. I love throwing canned beets into salads, fruit smoothies, and even into homemade hummus.”

— Anne Mauney, MPH, RD, fANNEtasticfood.com

Storing and Keeping Canned Vegetables

Once opened, canned vegetables should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge — not in their original can — to avoid contamination and keep them fresh. Typically, they last about 3 to 4 days in the fridge.

By opting for canned vegetables, you’re choosing a simple way to keep nutritious and versatile ingredients within reach, supporting your health and budget.

Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The contents of this article, made available via Food Drink Life, are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. The Content presented here is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or dietary changes. Reliance on any information provided by this article is solely at your own risk.

This article originally appeared on Food Drink Life.

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DISCLOSURE: Not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations is at the choice and risk of the reader. Ditch the Wheat is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. I only endorse products that I believe in.

Sara Nelson wearing a yellow sweater.
Sara Nelson

Sara Nelson is the food blogger behind Real Balanced, a site that shares easy and balanced recipes. Since 2017, she has shared delicious, nutritious, and allergy-friendly recipes with thousands of blog readers and social media followers. Sara lives in Wisconsin with her husband, two children, and their dog.

Gluten Free Resources

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How do I know what is gluten free and what isn’t?
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If you need substitution advice I created a ton of resources here.

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