Cooking healthy with canned goods

Canned goods are a staple found in almost every home cook’s pantry across the country.  While there is a concern about sodium content, canned foods can be a healthy part of your diet, especially when you consider the use of legumes and no-salt-added options like vegetables. 

Although it is industry sponsored, the website can provide useful information about the products.   Newer labeling also gives you sodium content after draining and rinsing vegetables, like green beans.  That alone almost cuts the sodium content in half.  

A recent report published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found legumes like soybeans, lentils, green peas and chickpeas (used to make hummus), are underutilized despite their cardiovascular benefit.   They are also a great substitute for animal protein.  

Making your own hummus can be quick, easy, delicious and at the same time, it will save you money and allow you to use ingredients your family loves. 

Here are two recipes you can whip up with ingredients that may already be in your cupboard.

Legume Salad by Chef Rosana

1 (15 oz) can black beans, white navy, cannellini or lima beans
1 (15 oz) can pigeon peas
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas
½ cup minced onion
1 small clove of garlic, minced or pressed
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup red wine vinegar
Salt and cracked black pepper to taste


1.    Individually, drain the cans of legumes and rinse with cold water. Drain

2.    Place all legumes together in a bowl or container. Add minced onion, garlic, olive oil & vinegar. Toss several times and season with salt and papper.

3.    Adjust olive oil, vinegar or seasoning as needed.

4.    Allow to rest at room temperature for 1 hour top marinate or place in fridge overnight. Keep refrigerated up to a week.

Basic Hummus Recipe by Chef Rosana

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, low sodium
Liquid from simmering chickpeas
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (1 large lemon)
1/4 cup well-stirred tahini  
1 small garlic clove, minced or pressed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
Salt to taste
Paprika, as needed for serving

1.    Open and drain the chickpeas. Place in a sauce pot and cover with cold water. Simmer at medium to low heat until skins start to get soft. Do not boil and do not drain. 

2.    In the bowl of a food processor, combine the tahini and lemon juice and process for 1 minute, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl then process for 30 seconds more. This extra time helps “whip” or “cream” the tahini, making the hummus smooth and creamy.

3.    Add half of the chickpeas and liquid to food processor and process for 1 minute. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl, then add remaining chickpeas and liquid. Process until thick and quite smooth; 1 to 2 minutes.

4.    Add the olive oil, minced garlic, and salt. Process for 30 seconds, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl then process another 30 seconds or until well blended.

5.    If needed: Most likely the hummus will be too thick or still have tiny bits of chickpea. To fix this, with the food processor turned on, slowly add 2 to 3 tablespoons of extra water until you reach the perfect consistency.

6.    Taste for salt and adjust as needed. Serve hummus with a drizzle of olive oil and dash of paprika. Store homemade hummus in an airtight container and refrigerate up to one week

Optional flavorings: (choose one or more of the following)

1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 chipotle in adobo pepper, add to food processor while pureeing the chickpeas
¼ to ½ of pimento or piquillo pepper, add to food processor while pureeing the chickpeas

Roasted Parmesan Artichokes

LINK: See for the artichoke recipe