5 Ingredients. 5 Minutes. 5 Meals. – Out Of The Can

The humble can. It may not be glamorous, but for those of us leading busy lives, a can of chickpeas, tomatoes or beans in the cupboard can mean the difference between a quick nutritious home cooked meal and expensive not-so-healthy take-out.

Building on the response from Sherri’s great idea of 5 ingredients, 5 minutes, 5 meals a few weeks ago, we’ve decided to turn it into a regular feature on Zen Family Habits. Today we’re focusing on ingredients that come out of a can.

What are your favourite quick and easy family meals?

Canned lentils with sausage & tomato (serves 4)


I hadn’t even heard of canned lentils until a few months ago. Now I’m always looking for excuses to use them. Super simple and quick they’re packed with all the protein and goodness you expect from the humble lentil.

If you can’t get your hands on lentils, canned beans would make a good substitute.

3 good quality pork sausages, preferably Italian style
2 cans lentils, drained (15oz or 400g each)
1 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 handful flat leaf parsley, leaves picked

Heat 2 tablespoon olive oil in a medium frying pan over a high heat. Remove sausage skins and crumble the meat into bight sized pieces. Stir fry sausage until browned and cooked through.

Stir through lentils and allow to warm for a minute. Remove from heat and stir through remaining ingredients. Season and serve warm.

Tuna & butter bean salad (serves 6)


Canned tuna doesn’t have the most glamorous image but growing up in the country, it was about the only fish I got to eat apart from the occasional fish finger and on special occasions some canned salmon.

If tuna isn’t your thing, you could substitute in canned salmon or if you have more than 5 minutes to spare – pick up a couple of tuna steaks from your fishmonger and use fresh BBQ tuna instead.

I prefer to use tuna that has been canned with olive oil as it seems to have more flavour and a less dry texture.

This salad will keep well in the fridge and makes a lovely packed lunch. So don’t be afraid to make the whole batch with the leftover possibilites in mind.

3 cans butter beans (15oz or 400g each), drained
1 large can tuna in oil (16oz or 425g), drained & oil reserved
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper, finely chopped

Combine all ingredients in a large salad bowl. Adding a little of the reserved oil if it looks a little dry.

Season with salt & pepper and serve immediately.

Kidney bean tacos (makes 8)


For a healthier option, turn these into a wrap and replace the taco shells with wholemeal pita bread.

1 can red kidney beans (15oz or 400g), drained
1 can sweet corn (15oz or 400g), drained
1/2 red onion, peeled & finely chopped
8 taco shells
1 tub sour cream

Heat a medium frying pan on a high heat. Add 2 tablespoon olive oil and beans, corn and onion. Stir fry for 2 minutes to warm through. Remove from the heat.

Fill taco shells with warm bean mix and serve with sour cream passed separately.

Chickpea & parmesan salad (serves 3-4)


Inspired by the lovely Molly over at Orangette.

This is one of my all time favourite quick meals. I always have a tin of chickpeas in the pantry and some parmesan in the fridge for when I need dinner fast.

If you don’t have fresh salad leaves, it tastes delicious without but won’t feel quite as virtuous.

2 cans chickpeas (15oz ot 400g), drained
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 handfuls mixed salad leaves or lettuce, washed.

Combine all ingredients and season with salt & pepper. Too easy.

Tomato, zucchini [courgette] & white bean soup (serves 4)


I’ll admit this recipe is stretching the 5 minute limit. I have made it and eaten in under 5 and it was lovely but the zucchini was a touch on the crunchy side. If you can spare an extra 5-10 minutes of simmering you’ll have a better soup.

For a simple low maintenance pesto recipe that doesn’t require a food processor see stonesoup.

3 medium zucchini (courgettes), finely chopped
2 cans tomatoes (15oz or 400g)
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3 cans cannellini or borlotti beans (15oz or 400g), drained
pesto, to serve

Place zucchini, stock & tomatoes and their juices in a large saucepan on a high heat. Cover and bring to the boil. Boil for 3 minutes. Stir through beans and allow to heat through.

Season & serve hot with a spoonful of pesto.


Editor’s note: Post written by jules from stonesoup | minimalist home cooking.