|Chili tomato soup with corn and chickpeas. (Supplied)
A wise cook stocks a few cans in the cupboard in anticipation of a day when supplies are low. Tomatoes, salmon, tuna, broth, chickpeas, beans, pasta sauce, for example – plus staples like rice and pasta. Look on these ingredients as little life boats, ready to keep meals afloat (and on the table) even on the leanest of days.
Chili Tomato Soup with Corn and Chickpeas
Soup is certainly a lot less effort and mess when you put some of your cupboard stash to work in a soup pot. This hearty bowlful is equally good as supper, or packed for lunch. Choose low-sodium or no-added salt products if possible.
- 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) canola oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 large cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 large potato, peeled (if desired) and chopped
- 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
- Half yellow or orange bell pepper, chopped
- 2 tsp. (10 ml) chili powder
- 1 tsp. (5 ml) ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp. (1 ml) hot pepper flakes or pepper
- 3 cups (750 ml) chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 cups (500 ml) tomato puree (passata)
- 1 can (19 oz./540 ml) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup (250 ml) corn kernels, canned or frozen
- 1 to 2 Tbsp. (15 to 30 ml) fresh lemon juice
In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; stirring often, fry onion, garlic, potato, carrot, yellow pepper, chili powder, cumin and hot pepper flakes until vegetables as slightly softened, about 6 minutes.
Add broth and tomato puree; bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in chickpeas and corn; simmer for 10 minutes. Taste, adding enough of lemon juice to brighten flavour; salt to taste.
Makes 6 generous servings.
TIP: Try serving this soup topped with shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, and/or a dollop of sour cream, even some chopped fresh cilantro if available.
Puttanesca Pasta Sauce
Here’s enough sauce for four pasta suppers, based on a pound (450 g) of dried short pasta (shells, bows or rotini. Puttanesca sauce includes anchovies — you can leave them out, but I suspect that even the most ardent anchovy hater won’t know they are in the sauce. Anchovies add an amazing depth of flavour.
- 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) olive oil
- 4 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) anchovy paste or 4 chopped anchovies
- Pinch hot pepper flakes
- 1 can (26 oz/796 ml) no-salt tomatoes
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) chopped sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed
- 3/4 cup (175 ml) quartered and pitted oil-cured black olives, rinsed
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) capers
In large saucepan, heat oil over medium-low heat. Fry garlic, anchovy paste and hot pepper flakes, stirring and mashing with a fork until garlic is tender and anchovy paste has blended into the oil. Add tomatoes; crush with potato masher or fork. Add sun-dried tomatoes. Bring to simmer over medium heat; cook gently, stirring often, until sauce thickens, about 25 minutes. Stir olives and capers into sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Makes enough sauce for 4 suppers.
Tuna and Bean Salad
A fine weekend lunch, or any day lunch packed and ready to go. At the table, serve on romaine hearts or bibb lettuce with crusty bread.
- 1 can (170 g) solid white tuna, drained
- 1 can (19 oz./540 ml) white kidney or navy beans, or chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 can (14 oz./397 g) artichoke hearts packed in water, drained and halved
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) diced red or yellow bell pepper
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) diced red or green onion
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) wine vinegar
- 1-1/2 tsp. (7 ml) Dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp. (1 ml) each salt and pepper
In bowl, break tuna into bite-size chunks. Add beans, artichoke hearts, red pepper and onion. Toss gently.
In liquid measuring cup, whisk together oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Pour over tuna mixture and toss to coat evenly.
Makes 4 generous servings.
TIP: If there lurks some fresh parsley or cilantro in your crisper, chop up about 1/4 cup (60 ml) and toss into the salad just before serving.
Leftovers from Cans: Recipes don’t always use full cans. The taste of the dish is more important than have something left in cans and jars. There is a solution: For any legume, chickpeas or kidney beans, for example, add them to a salad or freeze for future soups. Any tomato product will freeze in anticipation of pasta. Broth too, freezes well. Try the trick of freezing products like these in handy measurements, e.g. 1 cup (250 ml) for broth, with the amount marked on the top.