During the winter, it can be hard to find fresh produce that's in season, of good quality and a decent price. Even though we're lucky to get asparagus, zucchini or broccoli year-round, many times you just get overpriced fruits and veggies, making your grocery bill more expensive.
In lieu of dropping extra dollars at the store, I tend to purchase more frozen or canned produce. The quality is usually just as good (many times the products are frozen or canned at the peak of freshness) and it's almost a guarantee to be cheaper.
The only thing you need to watch out for is the added sodium or sugar content of pre-processed canned produce. A lot of times companies add salt and sometimes sugar to help preserve the foods and keep them shelf-stable. So it's important to thoroughly rinse all canned goods before using them in your home recipes. Just a simple wash down and you're ready to go!
One of my favorite (and easy) recipes that features canned goods is my mom's homemade Balsamic Beet Salad. The stars of this salad are canned beets and chickpeas. It's brightened up with some fresh mint, red onion and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. It's the perfect side dish or even piled on top of lettuce. Plus it can be made any time of year, and it's very inexpensive to make!
Balsamic & Mint Beet Salad
Recipe developed by Maria Tadic, RD
2 15.5-oz. cans sliced beets, rinsed and drained, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 15.5-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup diced red onion
2 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
1/2 tsp each salt and ground pepper
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Toss all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir to coat with the olive oil and vinegar.
- Taste and adjust for seasonings as needed. This salad is best if allowed to marinate for at least one hour or overnight.