It’s all very well stocking up on canned goods, but they’ll be of little use unless you know how to get the best out of them – because watery pasta sauce and stew is going to get old pretty fast.
Chickpea hummus bowls with roasted vegetables
A can of chickpeas can be thrown into pretty much anything. They’re great for bulking out recipes and adding additional plant-based protein to meals. However, chickpeas are rarely celebrated as the star ingredient, so wanted to push the humble chickpea centre stage. My recipe for hummus bowls not only encourages the use of surplus vegetables, but it’s easy to throw together and tastes delicious. In a large roasting tin, add a mixture of surplus veg, sprinkle with smoked paprika and season well with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 200°C/180°C fan. Meanwhile make the hummus, by blending 1 can of drained chickpeas, 1 chopped garlic clove, 1.5 tbs of tahini, the juice of half a lemon, 1 tbs of water and 1 tbs of extra virgin olive oil. Once blended, spoon generously into bowls and top with the roasted vegetables, along with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Serve with toasted pita bread.
Roasted butterbean traybake
Butterbeans are often overlooked by shoppers, but this kidney shaped pulse generally makes itself at home in a big hearty stew. These mealy yet mild flavoured beans, can be tossed into soups, casseroles and even blended into mash. However, I prefer to roast them in a bit of stock along with sweet potatoes, to make a hearty traybake for two. Preheat an oven to 200°C/180°C fan. In large casserole dish, add a roughly chopped sweet potato along with a can of drained butterbeans and half a sliced red pepper. Pour over 175ml of stock and season well with salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Give it a good stir and bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Once cooked, remove from the oven and make two wells using a spoon. Crack a free-range egg into each well and bake for a further 6-8 minutes, depending on how you like your eggs. Finish by topping with chopped fresh coriander and serve with Greek yogurt and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Tinned plum tomato sauce al’arrabiata
Pasta sauce is a great way to eat tinned tomatoes but to avoid a watery disappointment, follow my simple pasta sauce recipe. I often opt for tinned plum tomatoes, as I prefer the chunkier texture they bring, but ordinary will also work. Add 2 chopped garlic cloves to a tbs of warm (not hot) oil in a large saucepan along with a pinch of chilli flakes. Allow to infuse over a low/medium heat for a few minutes. Add one can of plum tinned tomatoes and a tbs of tomato puree. Break the plum tomatoes up with a spoon and stir. Season well with salt and pepper, up the heat and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes and your sauce is ready. Serve with your choice of pasta and top with either mozzarella or Parmesan.
Black bean tostada bowls
A can of black beans in my house inevitably ends up either in a smoky chill, wrapped up in a burrito or squashed into a quesadilla. Although as the weather heats up over the coming months, I’m more likely to throw them into Mexican tostada salad. To make the tortilla bowls, simply place each tortilla into a heatproof bowl each, with a ball of foil in the centre to prevent them from falling in on themselves. Bake in an oven for 15 minutes at 200°C/180°C fan. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine 1 can of drained black beans with, 1 can or drained sweetcorn, half a chopped cucumber, 3 chopped spring onions, 2 handful of cherry tomatoes, 1 chopped cos lettuce, half a deseeded chilli (finely diced) and 50g of grated cheddar. Mix well and put to one side. To make the dressing, combine 1 tsp of homey, 1 tsp of Tabasco, the juice of 1 lime and 1 tbs of extra virgin olive oil. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well, before spooning into the edible tortilla bowls.
Thai green lentil soup
Okay so not a canned good, but still a store cupboard staple that could do with a creative injection. Red and green lentils are superhero’s when it comes to adding a bit of bulk to stews, soups and even Bolognese. My Thai green lentil soup not only adds a bit of fragrant flare to the humble lentil, but it’s a hearty meal that will see you through self-isolation. In a large cooking pot with a lid, sweat 1 chopped onion in a tsp of oil, over a medium to low heat for 10 mins. Once soft, add a piece of grated ginger, 2 chopped garlic cloves and 50g of Thai green curry paste. Give it a good stir and cook for 2 minutes. Add 150g of chopped sweet potato, 1 can of coconut milk, 1 litre of stock, 150g of dried green lentils and a bashed lemon grass stork (optional). Turn down the heat and simmer for 20 mins, stirring occasionally. Cut the storks off a large handful of coriander and add them to the soup. Cook for 5 more minutes. Finally take off the heat, fish out the lemon grass and blend. Serve topped with the remaining chopped coriander leaves.
Join me next time for part 2. In the meantime, visit learningwithexperts.com for more foodie blogs.