Cheap and tasty canned food recipes as the cost of living crisis hits

Canned foods don’t always have the best reputation, but they can actually be used to make some of the cheapest, healthiest, and tastiest meals around.

Coles ambassador Courtney Roulston came to Brekky Central to show Nat and Kochie how to make two meals using canned goods you may already have in your pantry.

Watch the demo above and keep reading for recipes

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“To get through this period when the cost of living is high, canned vegetables are great. They’re convenient, they’re healthy, they’re full of protein,” Rolstein explained.

“Canned foods such as lentils and chickpeas in particular offer a ‘great way to bulk up your meals’ and still make staples like bolognese ‘but without the cost at the checkout’,” he said. she stated.

Bolognese with lentils


Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 40 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 1 can of 400 g crushed tomatoes
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 cup (250 mL) chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 can of 400g drained lentils
  • 1 packet of 500g spaghetti to serve
  • Parmesan cheese to serve
  • ¼ bunch basil or parsley, to garnish


  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until softened.
  2. Add the carrots, dried oregano and tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes to cook the tomato paste.
  3. Pour the canned tomatoes, bay leaves, chicken broth and lentils with a pinch of salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the lentils begin to split and the sauce has reduced and become rich.
  4. Cook the pasta for 10 to 12 minutes and drain, reserving a little cooking water. Toss the pasta through the bolognese sauce, adding a little of the reserved pasta water to loosen. Serve with grated parmesan on top and sprinkle with basil leaves.

Tomato and chickpea curry

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 45 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 large brown onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, grated
  • 1 long red chilli, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, garam masala
  • 1 can of 400g tomatoes
  • 1 can (400g) chickpeas, drained
  • 1 can of 400g coconut milk
  • 2 large tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ bunch fresh cilantro, to serve
  • *Steamed rice to serve


  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook the onions for 4 to 5 minutes or until they begin to brown.
  2. Add garlic, ginger and chili and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. Stir in the dry spices and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes to release their oils.
  3. Add the canned tomatoes and chickpeas and bring to the boil. Cook for 5-6 minutes then add the coconut milk and season with a pinch of salt. Simmer for another 8 minutes or until the sauce has thickened slightly.
  4. Finally add the quartered tomatoes and heat through.
  5. Remove from the heat and squeeze the lemon juice. Serve the curry with steamed rice and garnish with coriander sprigs.