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

Post written by jules from stonesoup | minimalist home cooking. Follow her on Twitter.

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?

sausages & lentils

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.

butter bean & tuna salad

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.

corn & bean tacos

kidney bean tacos
makes 8
Inspired by reader Viola’s comment on 5 ingredients. 5minutes. 5 meals

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 salad

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.

zucchini & white bean soup

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.


Editors note: I’d like to extend a huge thank you to Jules for taking this project under her wing. She has a fantastic blog at stonesoup and takes excellent pictures to accompany each recipe, don’t you think? Thanks a bunch Jules!

18 Responses to “5 Ingredients. 5 Minutes. 5 Meals. – Out Of The Can”

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  1. Kevin M says:

    Good recipes, but what about BPA leaching from canned food? We’ve tried to limit our intake after reading things like this:



  2. As a guy whose best out-of-the-can dish is Spaghetti O’s, I won’t attempt to leave any suggestions. However, I will definitely be sharing your delicious recipes (and others that come along through the comment section) with my wife. She’ll love this!

  3. Looks good. My wife isn’t crazy about canned foods–especially canned meats. But I think it’s a great halfway point between fresh and junk food.

  4. These recipes don’t appeal to me. I love 5 ingredient meals so I guess I just hit at a bad day. I’ll look around your blog for some I might like. Doylene

  5. I think I’ll try some of these this week. Thanks Jules!

  6. H Lee D says:


    We’ve mostly stopped using canned items (as well as food/drink in plastics) due to those issues.

    We’ll go to the store, buy a whole bunch of dry beans, cook them all and put them in the freezer in 1-can servings, so we have cooked beans when we need them but skip the cans. It takes some time, but it doesn’t need to be done often.

    Or we’ll slow-cook the beans during the day (soak overnight, slow cook during the day) so they’re ready at dinner time.

  7. I’m glad that some of you will be trying some of these recipes. I hope you enjoy them!

    @ Kevin – That is a very valid concern thank you for bringing it up. While I try and cook with fresh ingredients every time there is the odd occasion I reach for a canned ingredient but it’s certainly not a staple.

    @ H Lee D – Thanks for the tip on cooking and freezing dried beans. That’s a great alternative and freezing in single can servings is a great idea. Thank you!

  8. Rana says:

    These sound really good especially the lentils and sausage.

  9. ’5 minute’ recipes are great and eating something like this is infinitely more healthy than the takeaway foods people grab when they only have 5 minutes to spare for eating. As much as I love pottering around the kitchen trying out new recipes and tins of baked beans and tuna are welcome friends in our house to fill jacket potatoes when time doesn’t allow for ‘proper’ cooking.

  10. Zengirl says:

    Great pictures and recipes! Only issue I have canned food is some of it are very salty and very mushy (does not hold shape). Although I use can some times, I soak lentil night before and use pressure cooker to cook it, as it is equally fast and not too mushy. Just another idea. Thanks for recipes! Looks

  11. Zengirl says:

    Looks Yummy I mean. I am not sure why it got cut off during last comment.

  12. Kelly says:

    My favorite canned meal is quinoa chili: http://www.thecentsiblelife.com/2009/10/16/quinoa-chili/

    It takes less than 5 minutes to make and about 15 to cook. So easy, and can be customized with fresh greens, frozen corn, cheese, sour cream, the list goes on!

    I love the recipes that you shared! Hope to try them soon.

  13. martha in mobile says:

    These are great recipes for hurricane season (when the power is out for days, it’s too hot to cook much, and the camp stove is all you’ve got). Thanks!

  14. H Lee D says:

    Sherri – Glad the tip was useful :) The cheapest glass containers we’ve found are canning jars. (No sense in using plastic if you’re avoiding cans because of the plastic…) They require a tiny bit of care coming out of the freezer, as the lid is usually frozen on, but a quick rinse under cold water pops them right off :)

  15. stephane says:

    all theses recipes look great :-)

  16. Megan Slater says:

    Those dishes are making me super hungry…..they look delicious! Has anyone tried that organic batter blaster pancake mix from a spray can (like whipped cream)? I’ve been hearing a lot about it lately. I was thinking of picking some up to have on hand during the holidays.

  17. That looks really good and super healthy. Thanks for the idea.

  18. Drucilla says:

    I am a college student and cooking something that doesnt take a lot of time and is tasty is hard to find. I cant wait to see other meals you post

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