Stock Your Pantry with Canned Goods for Convenience and Health

Stock Your Pantry with Canned Goods for Convenience and Health

You don’t have to break the budget to enjoy a healthful meal! Canned goods are making a comeback thanks to their versatility and affordability. From tomato products to chickpeas, give these tried and true pantry staples a fresh look.

Even for the most organized among us, it can feel like a overwhelming task to get any dinner on the table for the family during the week, let alone a healthy one. So, what’s the secret to making weeknight dinners a cinch? According to dietitian Ellie Krieger, three components are key: a well-stocked pantry, a little bit of planning, and not overthinking it. 

With the right ingredients in your pantry and freezer, dinner is never as hard as it might seem. Ellie says that she always keeps canned goods (like tomatoes) in her pantry, since she says they are a busy home cook’s best friend. Not only do they make a great base for sauces, but they offer a powerful nutrition punch with their high lycopene content.  She is also a big fan of beans (more specifically, white beans, pinto beans, chickpeas), as well as frozen seafood, as these high protein options can create endless delicious combinations in the kitchen.

Learn more about how Ellie keeps weeknight dinners healthy here.

For other pantry food inspiration, check out some of our favorite posts:

Best Budget-Friendly Foods for the Pantry
Tried and True Pantry Staples

Ellie was our RD of the month! Learn more about her here. And don’t forget to check out some of her favorite recipes featuring canned tomatoes!

Winter Caprese Toasts with Roasted Tomatoes and Pesto
Shakshuka Pita Pizzas
Creamy Tomato Soup with Popcorn

Greek Style Braised Eggplant

Greek Style Braised Eggplant

This heartwarming veggie delight for Greek Style Braised Eggplant is cold-weather comfort food that takes your taste buds around the world! #KitchenTravel. 

If you are looking for a vegetable power packed disk, look no further! The Greek Style Braised Eggplant is perfect for chillier months while still being incredibly healthy and tasty. This dish is very versatile as well, since it can be served as an appetizer with Italian bread, or as a side and main course depending on your crowd!

This plant based dish combines ingredients such as chickpeas, canned tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers that are sure to satisfy your Mediterranean cravings. Additionally, the chickpeas will help satiate as they are packed with protein! With the addition of garlic, turmeric and black pepper it will be a party in your mouth while providing your body with incredible anti-inflammatory benefits.

While this recipe has many delicious components, the real star is the addition of canned tomatoes. Not only do they add great flavor, but they also include plenty of nutrients! Tomatoes contain a substance called lycopene, which gives the tomato its vibrant color; it is also great for your skin, heart health, decrease risk for cancer and lung health. Additionally, they provide essential antioxidants that have been found to positively impact hypertension. Research suggests that this is because fruits and vegetables contain a wide variety of antioxidants that work together and create a powerful chain of antioxidants. That’s why we love canned tomatoes! They are rich in antioxidants, and contain lycopene in addition to other phytochemicals (like beta carotene) that can work together to prevent disease.

So, what are you waiting for? Try out this recipe for maximum flavor and health! 

Yield: 6 servings

Greek Style Braised Eggplant

Greek Style Braised Eggplant

This heartwarming veggie delight is cold-weather comfort food that takes your taste buds around the world! #KitchenTravel. 

Cook Time 20 minutes
Prep Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ lbs. eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • salt, as needed
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, deseeded and diced
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 dry bay leaves
  • 1 ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • ¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 (28 oz.) can chopped tomato
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans chickpeas, drained but reserve the canning liquid
  • parsley, for garnish

Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
    2. Place the eggplant in a colander over the sink. Sprinkle salt over the eggplant and set it aside for 20 minutes. Rinse the eggplant with water and pat dry.
    3. Heat the olive oil in a large oven-safe pan over medium high-heat. Add in the onion, bell pepper, and carrot. Cook for 2-3 minutes then add in the garlic, bay leaves, paprika, coriander, oregano, cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper, and salt to taste. Continue cooking for 1 minute.
    4. Add in the eggplant, tomatoes, chickpeas with reserved chickpea liquid. Mix to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover the pan and transfer it into the oven. Bake it for 45 minutes until the eggplant is very tender.
    5. Remove the pan from the oven and uncover. Drizzle olive oil on top and garnish with parsley. Enjoy!
For other delicious tomato-based recipes, check out some of our favorites:

Walnut and Mushroom Ragu
Sausage Tortellini Soup
Huevos Rancheros

Mediterranean Baked Fish

Mediterranean Baked Fish

So easy, and yet so elegant. This recipe for Mediterranean Baked Fish allows your taste buds to travel the world, from the comfort of your own kitchen! #KitchenTravel

Your taste buds will be swimming in happiness with this Mediterranean Baked Fish recipe. Thanks to simple ingredients and a fast cook time, you can get this quick and healthy dinner on the table for any night of the week. 

The flavor of the fresh cod fillets mixes beautifully with the artichokes, canned tomatoes and kalamata olives, and the feta cheese crumbles on top helps complete the Mediterranean taste. For those whom follow the Mediterranean diet this will fulfill all the components; high protein from the cod fillet, and packed with vegetables and olive oil for a low carb nutritious meal!

The canned tomatoes marry all the flavors together wonderfully.  Canned tomatoes are a real powerhouse ingredient.  Adding the bright red color comes from the nutrient of lycopene.  Lycopene is rich in antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, and has been proven to protect the body against many chronic diseases. Similar to most nutrients, it’s more natural to obtain lycopene from foods rather than supplements. In order to achieve maximum health benefits associated with lycopene, it is recommended to consume tomato products with a heart healthy fat, such as olive oil or avocado. That’s why we recommend enjoying lycopene and its health benefits through delicious foods such as this recipe. So, what are you waiting for? Enjoy some canned tomato products today!

Yield: 4 servings

Mediterranean Baked Fish

Mediterranean Baked Fish

So easy, and yet so elegant. This dish allows your taste buds to travel the world, from the comfort of your own kitchen! #KitchenTravel

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ Tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 (28 oz.) can chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup fresh chopped basil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 (4 oz.) cod filets
  • ½ cup crumbled feta
  • 1 (15 oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained
  • 4 oz. kalamata olives
  • 2 Tbsp. capers
  • 1 lemon, sliced

Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven to 375˚F.
    2. Heat the olive oil in a large oven-safe pan over medium heat. Add in the onion and garlic and saute until the onion turns translucent. Then mix in the canned chopped tomatoes and basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring the mixture to just a boil then remove it from the heat.
    3. Nestle the cod filets into the sauce and sprinkle the feta cheese on top. Add the artichokes into the sauce, in between the fish. Layer the lemon slices on top of the cod filets. Sprinkle the olives and capers on top.
    4. Transfer the pan into the oven and bake it for 15-25 minutes or until the cod is fully cooked. Enjoy!
For other delicious tomato-based recipes, check out some of our favorites:

Walnut and Mushroom Ragu
Sausage Tortellini Soup
Huevos Rancheros