Sweetcorn fritters with all the delectable fixings. Picture: Instagram.
Sweetcorn fritters with all the delectable fixings. Picture: Instagram.

3 easy and delicious ways to use up your canned food items

By Sacha van Niekerk Time of article published Jul 30, 2021

Share this article:

Every kitchen has a cupboard that is stocked with canned goods. These items are staples in every household, because the packaging helps each can to remain fresh - so long as they remain properly sealed (no rust, dents or swelling).

If you’ve run out of inspiration on how to cook some of these commonly bought canned food items, not to worry. With a few added ingredients and a little creativity, these pantry staples can be given quite the gourmet makeover.

From pasta salads to shakshuka, whether it’s pay-day or two weeks after, you’ll want to try these delicious meals at any time of the month.

Three delicious canned food recipes to try:

Tuna pasta salad

By @jess.in.the.kitchen

Picture: Instagram.

Tuna pasta salad is an easy go-to recipe perfect for when you’re pinched for time and low on ingredients. It uses mainly frozen veggies and pantry staples, so it hardly requires any planning. The salad ingredients can be used with pasta, but also served in a pita, on crackers or rice cakes or even in a wrap with extra greens.


450g pasta shells

2 cans chunk tuna,⁠ drained

3 stalks celery

1 small onion⁠

1 cup frozen peas⁠

4 tbsp mayonnaise

Salt and pepper to taste ⁠


Prepare a pot of salted boiling water. Cook shell noodles according to the directions on the box.⁠

Meanwhile, dice stalks of celery and onion.

Drain two cans of chunk tuna in water. ⁠

Once the noodles are done, drain and rinse with cooler water. Add 1 cup of frozen peas and stir. The warmth of the pasta will help to thaw them. ⁠

In a large bowl, combine the noodles, peas, tuna, onion and celery. Add mayonnaise. I can’t really tell you how much, because I have legitimately never measured it.

Add salt and pepper to taste and stir.

Give it a taste. The noodles will absorb moisture over time, so be prepared to add a little more if you’re eating it the next day. It’s best if prepped a few hours ahead of time.

Sweetcorn fritters

By @gastronomic.ally

Picture: Instagram.

Sweetcorn fritters are the perfect base for a twist on Eggs Benedict or Royale. Simply swop the English muffin for a fritter and serve it with bacon or salmon, poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. They also pair beautifully with a dollop of sour cream, salsa, avocado and rocket.


1 big can of sweetcorn (300g)

3 spring onions, finely chopped

2 eggs

30ml milk

90g plain flour

1 tsp cayenne pepper

A handful of coriander, finely chopped

Salt and pepper

Vegetable oil for frying

Your choice of toppings: recipe uses chorizo, poached egg, spring onions and harissa yoghurt


Drain the sweetcorn and pop it into a bowl. Add the spring onions, cayenne pepper, coriander and seasoning.

Whisk together the eggs and milk. Add to the sweetcorn mixture and mix together.

Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan (we’ll be shallow frying, so you’ll need enough oil to cover the whole base of the pan). Once hot, add 2 tbsp of mixture per fritter.

Fry for 3/4 minutes on one side, flip and cook for another minute.

Serve immediately or pop in a preheated oven while you fry the rest. Add your toppings and enjoy.

Tin fish shakshuka

By @kgomiskitchen

Picture: Instagram.

Shakshuka is a classic North African and Middle Eastern dish consisting of eggs poached in a rich and hearty, spiced tomato chutney. This version includes a South African favourite - pilchards - that add extra flavour and protein. Serve with toasted naan, pita or bagged bread.


1½ tbsp oil

1 onion

2 tsp crushed garlic

1 tsp curry powder

1 can pilchards (215g) @luckystarsa

1 can crushed tomato (410g) @allgoldsa

1 tsp white sugar

Salt and pepper

2 eggs


Preheat the oven to 180°.

Heat oil in a pan on medium heat and cook the onions until soft.

Add the crushed garlic and curry powder and cook until fragrant.

Add the can of crushed tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes, add sugar to the pan and stir.

Add a can of pilchards with tomato sauce, remove the bones before adding if you prefer.

Stir the pan and simmer for 15 minutes, add pan contents to an oven-proof dish.

Create two indentations and add the raw eggs.

Bake for 12 minutes.

Serve with toasted bread of choice.

Share this article: