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Blog: Every Bite Counts

Maximizing Flavour, Minimizing Waste: Canned Foods and Leftovers Unite

Savour delicious meals, manage your budget, and prevent food waste by combining canned foods and leftovers. We’ve got tasty ideas for combining canned staples with your fridge’s fleeting leftovers, fresh veggies, and herbs for flavour filled meals.

Think of affordable and versatile canned foods like chickpeas, tuna, and condensed soups—as your kitchen’s secret weapons. They can serve as a base for your culinary creations, allowing you to breathe new life into leftovers, amplify flavours or give your dish a protein power boost. Here are some mouthwatering examples.

  1. Chickpea and Veggie Stir-Fry:
    • Combine rinsed, canned chickpeas with a combination of fresh or leftover veggies from your fridge. If you have leftover meat, add that too, just make sure it’s cooked thoroughly.
    • Stir-fry fresh, hearty fresh vegetables until desired tenderness, then add cooked leftovers and heat through.
    • Season with a simple sauce made of soy sauce, honey, garlic, and ginger.
    • Serve over fresh or leftover rice or noodles.
  1. Tuna and Avocado Salad:
    • Mix canned tuna with ripe avocados (dark spots or bruises from avocados are safe to mix in), roughly chopped tomatoes, and any other veggies or herbs you need to use.
    • Season with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and your favourite herbs & spices (e.g. cilantro, cumin, red pepper flakes, etc.).
    • Spread on toast or mix with lettuce greens for a delicious, filling salad.

Also try this Tuna Pasta

  1. Quick Canned Bean Quesadilla:
    • Create a tasty quesadilla filling by combining canned beans (e.g. black, kidney, or pinto beans) with sautéed fridge vegetables.
    • Slice or dice vegetables (e.g. bell peppers, onions, zucchini, mushrooms, cabbage, etc.) into small pieces and sauté until tender.
    • Combine with mashed beans and season with taco seasoning. Spread on tortilla, top with grated cheese and you’re set to go.
    • Serve with salsa, guacamole, and fresh cilantro.

Also try Potato & Cheese Quesadillas

  1. Lentil and Vegetable Soup:
    • Leftover vegetables, herbs and convenient lentils make this an extra quick and easy soup.
    • Dice leftover vegetables into even sized piece.
    • Sauté until they start to caramelize then add rinsed, drained lentils, leftover meat (if using), soup stock and seasonings. Simmer to allow flavours to blend.
    • Add fresh greens like spinach, kale or beet tops in the last five minutes of cooking to wilt.
    • Freeze leftovers for future meals to minimize waste.

For soup making tips read How to Make Soup Without a Recipe

  1. Canned Tomato Soup Starter
    • Heat up a can of your favourite tomato soup and add in whatever leftovers you have available – rice, pasta, vegetables, cooked meat, tofu and herbs for a super quick and delicious meal.
    • If using fresh vegetables like carrots or broccoli, steam or cook them before adding.
    • Be sure meat is thoroughly cooked before adding and don’t forget about tasty additions like cooked meatballs or sausage.
    • Use cheese and stale bread (croutons) for toppings.
    • Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.


By combining canned goods with perishable ingredients from your fridge, you not only create budget-friendly meals but also contribute to preventing food waste in Canada. For more inspiration or to share your favourite way to create meals with canned foods visit our Instagram at lovefoodhatewasteca.