7 Tasty Ways to Eat Canned Vegetables – Really!

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By the author of The Ultimate Guide to Frugal Living and The Flat Broke Cookbook 

If you’re anything like me, your heart does not go pitter-patter at the idea of opening a can of veggies and saying, “Buon appetite!” Also, if you’re anything like me, you have a hefty stash of them that you bought on sale. So, how can you use them (and get your family to come back for seconds?)

Here are a few concoctions I make with canned veggies that my family and I enjoy. Consider working them into your repertoire to use up those cans collecting dust in your pantry. Here are some things I make, which include canned veggies, that my whole family enjoys. Please note that these aren’t all the healthiest dishes in the world, but they’re hearty, inexpensive, filling, and tasty if that’s what you’re looking for in a recipe.

Christmas Beans

I made this one long ago Christmas as an alternative to green bean casserole, and now we eat it regularly (but we still call them Christmas Beans).


  • 2 cans of green beans (NOT french cut – the regular ones) well-drained
  • 3 strips of bacon
  • 2/3 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of minced onion
  • Optional: 1 tsp of flour or cornstarch to thicken your sauce
  • Salt and pepper as needed


  1. Fry up your bacon in a big skillet – I like mine pretty well done but I leave it soft in this initial step.
  2. Next, remove the bacon to a plate. Once it cools, chop it up into tasty bite-sized pieces.
  3. Whisk in your sugar, vinegar, garlic, and onion and let it get bubbly. If it needs thickening, whisk in your flour now.
  4. When it’s the consistency you like, stir in your drained green beans and your bacon. Let it get carmelized and wonderful and heated through – about 3 minutes.
  5. Remove it from the heat and season it as desired.

Beef and Vegetable Soup

You can use any kind of ground meat for this soup.

  • 1 large can of V-8 or V-8 type juice
  • 1 pound of ground meat
  • 1/2 an onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 can of green beans, including liquid
  • 1 can of corn, including liquid
  • 1 can of peas and carrots, including liquid
  • Optional: add a can of potatoes and a can of tomatoes, peppers, and onions (like Ro-Tel for my Southern friends) – you can also add some pasta during the last 10 minutes of cooking time
  • 2 tablespoons of an Italian spice blend (check out mine here)


  1. In a large stockpot, brown your ground meat, along with the onion and garlic, until it’s cooked through.
  2. Turn down the heat and add in all the rest of your ingredients. Let it simmer on the stovetop or dump the entire thing into your crockpot. The longer it cooks, the tastier it is.


I’ve posted this tasty recipe before. You can use piccacillo as a hearty stew, or as an enchilada or burrito filling. Please remember I’m terrible at measuring and tend to cook by “feel” more than by recipe. But the instructions below should give you enough to go on. Feel free to tweak this recipe to fit your own likes and dislikes.

When I lived in Mexico, I was kind of surprised that the only canned veggies I could easily find were mixed vegetables and corn. Once I tried picadillo, I completely understood why they liked canned mixed veggies so much. A friend there brought me some picadillo stew when I had Covid, and I unlocked the world of picadillo. Leftover stew or a version with just a bit of tomato sauce instead of a giant can of tomatoes and broth is used to stuff burritos, enchiladas, and just as a one-dish meal.

Maria never gave me a specific recipe, but this is how she showed me to make it. It seems like a ton of work, but it’s really not bad at all.

Picadillo Ingredients:

  • 1-2 pounds of ground beef
  • 2 cans of mixed veggies (the kind with potatoes)
  • 1 can of black beans
  • Finely minced garlic
  • 1/2 an onion, minced
  • Cumin, chili powder, salt, seasoning salt, and oregano to taste
  • 1 small can of tomato sauce


  1. In a large skillet, fry up your ground beef, garlic, and onion until the meat is cooked through. I prefer to get it a little bit brown because I like the texture better. When it’s almost done, season it with cumin, chili powder, and salt.
  2. While the meat is cooking, drain two cans of mixed veggies. I usually sit a sieve in a bowl for this.
  3. Remove the cooked meat mixture from your skillet and immediately put in your mixed veggies. Stir them up in the beef drippings. (I never said this was healthy, right?)
  4. Fry the veggies for about 10 minutes until they’re nicely browned. Season them with salt and oregano.
  5. When the veggies are done, stir in your meat mixture and your tomato sauce. Remove it from the heat and let it sit for a few minutes before serving.

Use this mixture to stuff your enchiladas or your burritos. If you are making it as a stew, add a large can of crushed tomatoes once everything is fried up and let it simmer for a while.

Shepherd’s Pie

This is something I learned to make when I lived in Canada. Of course, it’s officially only shepherd’s pie if your meat is ground lamb – I believe it’s called cottage pie with other meats. We just used the name “shepherd’s pie” in a universal sense.


  • 1 lb of ground meat
  • 1/2 an onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 can of peas, drained
  • 1 can of carrots, , drained
  • 1 can of corn, drained
  • 1/2 a packet of brown gravy mix
  • 4 cups of mashed potatoes, prepared
  • 2 tbsp of butter (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • In an ovenproof skillet, brown your meat, onion, and garlic. (I use my trusty cast-iron frying pan.)
  • Stir in your gravy mix to coat the meat, then add your canned veggies (make sure they’re drained!)
  • Spread your mashed potatoes over the top of this concoction. Add a dollop of butter and a sprinkle of black pepper on top.
  • Bake it at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. I usually cover it with foil the first half hour then remove the foil for the last bit.

Some people like to add cheese to the mashed potatoes but we rarely do. My whole family likes this with a drizzle of ketchup at the table.

Corn Casserole

Super easy and mostly from pantry ingredients! Nearly all of these recipes call for an egg but because one of my children is allergic, I always left it out and it still turned out great.


  • 1 box of Jiffy cornbread mix
  • 1 can of creamed corn
  • 1 can of whole-kernel corn, drained
  • 1 cup of sour cream OR cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup of melted butter


  1. In a bowl, mix the cornbread mix, butter, and sour cream/cream cheese together until it’s incorporated.
  2. Stir in the w cans of corn.
  3. Pop it all in a buttered baking dish and bake it at 350 until a knife comes out clean, approximately 45 minutes.

For a different flavor, you can add cheddar cheese and a wee can of drained, diced chili peppers.

Peas and Potatoes

This falls into the category of not fancy but very tasty and filling. You can season it differently to go with different meals but I’ve just provided the basics here.


  • 1 can of potatoes, drained
  • 1 can of green peas, drained
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon of rubbed thyme
  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Melt 1 tbsp. of butter in a large skillet and cook your onion until it’s translucent.
  2. Add the rest of the butter, then crank up the heat a little and add the potatoes and peas.
  3. Put the lid on and set a timer for 4 minutes.
  4. Stir your mixture – it should be lightly browned on the skillet side. Add your thyme, salt, and pepper, then pop the lid on for 2 more minutes.

Serve as is, or top it with extra butter and a spoonful of sour cream.

What do you do with canned vegetables?

Do you have any go-to recipes to encourage your family to eat canned veggies? Or do you like canned vegetables the way they are? Please share your favorites in the comments!

About Daisy

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.

Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 12 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at SelfRelianceand Survival.com You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

7 Tasty Ways to Eat Canned Vegetables - Really!
Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is an author and blogger. She's the single mom of two daughters and credits extreme frugality and a good sense of humor for her debt-free lifestyle. She is the author of numerous books, the editor of TheOrganicPrepper.com, and is the founder of a small digital publishing company in the emergency preparedness niche.

9 thoughts on “7 Tasty Ways to Eat Canned Vegetables – Really!”

  1. This too is one of those ‘by feel’ recipes.
    Fried Green Beans
    Drain a can or two of green beans
    Heat bacon grease in a skillet. Add the drained green beans and fry for a few minutes. Sprinkle flour, about 2-3 tablespoons per can, over the beans. Fry till they are brown. Season with salt and pepper. You can add some diced onion with the beans too if you like.

  2. You had published an article about frugal foods and canned tomatoes. I make the vegetable soup w/canned vegetables, beans and tomatoes on a regular basis. I sauteed some onion and garlic to start off with. Not as good as fresh but better than canned Progresso soup.

  3. What I call the standard canned vegetables are edible but canned spinach should be avoided at all costs IMHO. I’ve never tried commercial canned okra but somehow I think that is a disappointing (read: not edible) as canned spinach.
    A side dished of commercial canned corn (whole kernel or cream style) is edible (but a bit of butter makes it better). Other vegetables can (no pun intended) use a little help if consuming as a solo side dish.

    1. Canned okra is every bit as bad as you imagined. Also on the DNE (do not eat) list for me is canned asparagus. One redeeming quality of canned asparagus is that you can turn it into a decent cream of asparagus soup. Please note I said decent. Not fantastic or ambrosial. ?

      1. Oh No! I love canned spinach and asparagus! (I have never tried okra-in any form.) But canned spinach shines in a dip, a quiche, or soups. Just be sure to drain well. I like the taste of canned asparagus, and it makes a great soup, baked with mac n cheese and ham, or in a cream sauce. Different tastes, but whenever it’s cold, rainy, or snowy, I am always grateful for canned veggies. A quick warm meal is just around the corner!

  4. Fantastic ideas! One I will do is very frequently is corn muffins or corn bread with a can of beans and a can of corn mixed in. Here’s how I do it:

    (all measurements are approximate)
    1 1/2 cups corn meal
    1/2 cup regular flour – whole wheat, spelt, all purpose, whatever
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    salt to taste
    Cumin and cayenne to taste (I like a lot)
    Sometimes a little powdered chicken bullion
    1 can beans of choice (I like black beans, or two cups of your own)
    1 can corn niblets (can also use frozen)
    Optional: powdered milk, regular milk, yogurt or Kefir

    Mix dry ingredients togeter
    Mix wet ingredients including liquid from the cans

    If not using canned goods, you may need to add a little more water or milk

    Pour into big muffin tins, silicone 3 1/2 inch muffin molds, or a greased cake pan

    Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes, until it’s golden brown on top and a knife comes out clean

    This is really good with chili, a nice way to sneak in more veggies, and the taste is amazing. You can also add diced peppers or other vegetables if you want.

  5. Bemused Berserker

    Even if you’re serving canned vegetables as a side dish, there are a few way to spiff them up and make them more flavorful. Most of these we do to get the Grandkids to eat their veggies.
    We used to add a tbsn of butter to green beans, but now we use a thin of bullion (beef) instead. The kids ask for seconds now on them. Adding some mild diced peppers to corn gives it a Southwestern flavor.
    For canned carrots, we use White Sauce, that even I think makes them much tastier.
    There’s more, but those three are the ones I remember off the top of my head.

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