What to do with leftover tinned foods

Posted by Ella Buchan on 7 May 2016

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Don’t throw them in the bin. Follow our recipe ideas to whip up some delicious meals with your tin soldiers.


From classic pasta sauces to minestrone soup, there’s not much you can’t do with tinned toms.

Whizz up with on-the-turn cucumber, celery, veg stock, red pepper, sherry vinegar and olive oil for a zippy gazpacho. Use in spicy baked eggs, spoon on toast with a few scraps of basil for a simple supper, or blend into a quick tomato soup with stock, a pinch of chilli flakes and smoked paprika.

Gazpacho with eggs
The Spice Spoon

Coconut milk

Use to add exotic sweetness to chia pudding, bring a touch of luxury to your morning porridge or stir into wilted greens. You can even cook spiralized vegetables in the liquid, creating a light sauce.

It’s also lovely in coffee, mashed potatoes and scrambled eggs.

Still got some leftover? Freeze in ice cube trays, ready to drop into Thai curries, stir fries, soups and even pina coladas.

Chased pudding with coconut milk


Throw into practically any type of salad, sprinkle on pizza or mix with scrambled eggs, fresh chopped tomatoes, coriander and a little chilli for a Mexican-inspired breakfast.

More than just a bulking ingredient, sweetcorn also adds smoky sweetness to salsa. Or try this creamy, nutty chicken and sweetcorn chowder from  Homemade.

Sweetcorn salsa


Many recipes require only one or two fillets for a salty punch - leaving you with a tin packed with (rather strong-tasting) oily fish.

To store safely, discard the can, transfer to a dish and top with oil so the fillets are submerged. You can keep them this way for several weeks to use sparingly in dishes needing that fishy kick.

To use up bigger quantities, blend with capers, herbs and olive oil to make a zingy salsa verde, which can be stored in a jar and spooned on fish and roasted meat, stirred into soups or spread on sandwiches.

Anchovies salsa verde
The Iron You


Apart from easy sandwich fillings and flaking into salads, tinned tuna works well in pasta bakes, stirred through rice dishes and stir fries and stuffed into baked potatoes before topping with cheese and browning under the grill.

Don’t pour that oil down the sink, either. Drain off and use for cooking tomato-based sauces like puttanesca, adding depth of flavour.

Pasta with oil from tinned tuna

Fruit cocktail

If you don’t fancy eating it straight from the tin, throw into a blender with ice and any other fruit to make a smoothie. It also mixes well with cottage cheese for a baked potato topping or low-fat snack.

Use the preserving syrup to drizzle on breakfast pancakes or French toast.

If all else fails, chuck it all into a jug of homemade sangria.

Fruity sangrias


Remove from the can and freeze, ready to whizz into a refreshing peach granita.

Sauté peaches in butter with a sprinkle of cinnamon for an easy, instant dessert (best enjoyed hot with a scoop of ice cream).

Chop up and bake into cakes, cookies and brownies, for extra fruitiness and moistness, or mix with coriander and finely chopped red onion to make a salsa.

Peach granita
Melanie Makes


Thick, creamy soups will work beautifully in a pasta bake or potato gratin. You can even throw together different flavours, like mushroom and chicken. Simply mix in cooked pasta and what’s left in your veg drawer, grate on some cheese and bake for around 20 minutes.

Mushroom soup can be turned into a sauce for chicken or steak – just add a glug of brandy and reduce.

Or chuck leftover minestrone into stews and hotpots to add extra flavour and up the veg content.

Mushroom soup
Unsplash/Elli O.

Corned beef

Make a classic hash, roasting or frying with potatoes and veg like peppers and onion - perfect topped with a fried egg for brunch.

Use in place of ham in omelettes, quesadillas, toasties and eggs benedict. Or crumble into your ragu for lasagne, Bolognese or chilli.

Corned beef quesadillas
Family Fresh Meals

Baked beans

Bigger tins are more economical, but when you’re grabbing a quick meal for one, there are always leftovers.

Simply stir baked beans into hearty stews and curries and use to bulk out a cottage pie.

Or rinse off the sweet tomato juice in a colander and blend with lemon juice, olive oil and garlic to make a hummus-style dip.

Baked beans in tomato sauce

Like this? Then try these:

12 Things you didn’t know you could do with tinned tomatoes

Get yourself store cupboard savvy

10 brilliant batch-cook recipes that keep on giving