Canned vegetables tend to get a bad rap. And while there is nothing like eating farmers' market–fresh veggies, there is definitely a time and a place for canned veggies. It's an easy way to eat more vegetables, and canned veggies can be real dinner-savers in the winter when fresh versions of your favorites might be too expensive or unavailable. Plus, you won't waste money on a bunch of green beans that go bad before you get to eat them. Canned veggies keep in your pantry for months, so reach for them when you're low on groceries to add to soups and casseroles to help you get your veggie servings in.
Think you don't like canned veggies? We taste-tested canned vegetables available now and were surprised by how delicious they can be. Here are our top 5 favorites to keep on hand for a fast veggie fix at dinnertime.
Read More: Is Canned Food Healthy?
Pictured Recipe: Stetson Chopped Salad
The resounding favorite, these canned golden kernels taste as sweet as candy but pack in way more nutrients without any added sugar. We're ready to throw them on tacos and add to casseroles, salsas and salads. And though corn is sweet, it has a low glycemic index, meaning its carbs are slowly released into your bloodstream and are unlikely to spike blood sugar levels.
Related: 5 Myths about Sweet Corn Busted
Pictured Recipe: Cincinnati-Style Chili
With whole, diced, crushed and flavored tomatoes all available in cans, the only thing that kept them from the number one spot is the fact that you (most of the time) need to cook them. Keep canned tomatoes on hand for making quick sauces, adding to pasta dishes and for making easy soups. Lycopene, found in fresh tomatoes and even more in cooked tomatoes, helps protect your skin from damaging UV rays and may reduce your risk of some cancers.
Pictured Recipe: Chicken Pot Pies
Maybe the most surprising on this list were these sweet little carrot discs. We would use them straight out of the can on a salad in a pinch, but they're also good for bulking up soups (whole or pureed) and adding to casseroles like chicken potpie.
Pictured Recipe: Slow-Cooker Vegetable Soup
They're a good pantry staple to have on hand, even if canned green beans aren't your favorite of all canned veg. You can't go wrong adding them to a soup (especially when fresh green beans aren't so fresh) and they're a classic star in green bean casserole. Green beans are a good source of silicon, a mineral that's critical for strong bones.
Pictured Recipe: Pineapple Pork Fried Rice
Peas in a can aren't our first choice, but that doesn't mean they're off-limits. During the off season, canned peas are great to have on hand for packing veg into mac and cheese (or carbonara!) or throwing into a stir-fry when you can't get fresh. Peas are a key source of filling fiber and plant protein, with 4 grams of each per 1/2 cup.