12 Best Canned Veggies To Add To Your Next Salad

various vegetables in jars
various vegetables in jars - Static Media / Shutterstock / Getty

Vegetables are a key source of vitamins and nutrients, but consuming them doesn't have to be limited to sides and weight-loss diets. They're an essential part of both traditional and creative salads, adding color, crunch, and freshness to any meal. Unfortunately, your favorite veggies may not always be in season, and they sometimes come at a hefty price. It stands to reason, then, that the occasional unavailability of fresh produce will require the use of the canned variety.

It shouldn't matter all that much, though: just because your veggies aren't freshly bought, it doesn't mean that they won't elevate your salad or provide you with health benefits. Not to mention that they're available throughout the year, which can be quite practical for last-minute gatherings or when you're short on time. Even celebrity chefs regularly use canned ingredients in their most famous and tantalizing recipes, including Giada De Laurentiis, Bobby Flay, and Ina Garten. So, make sure to stock your pantry with the following long-lasting canned veggies. They will definitely come in handy when you feel like whipping up your next delicious and nourishing salad.

Read more: 20 Popular Canned Soups, Ranked Worst To Best

Diced Tomatoes

Canned and diced tomatoes
Canned and diced tomatoes - irem01/Shutterstock

Tomatoes are an essential component of many traditional cuisines, especially Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Mexican. Whether you consider them fruits or vegetables doesn't matter much, as they're quite versatile and available in several colors and shapes, spanning a whopping 10,000 varieties. Since juicy red tomatoes aren't always in season — or free of blemishes and dark spots — fortunately, there is a wide array of popular canned tomato brands to choose from, including Hunt's, Del Monte, and Ro-Tel, for your convenience. And yes, even in cans, tomatoes boast essential nutrients and minerals. Not to mention that they don't need to be washed, drained, or cut.

So, while preparing a homemade spinach and toasted pecan salad or a classic, tangy Lebanese tabbouleh, canned diced tomatoes can, indeed, be a quick fix. You might also consider using them in a delicious chopped caprese recipe, served with grilled meat or a bowl of pasta and drizzled with balsamic vinegar. Or in a protein-packed chickpea salad, alongside cucumbers and red onions: another great side at your barbecue party.


canned beets in salad
canned beets in salad - Nataliia Zhekova/Shutterstock

Beetroots aren't all that popular due to the colorful mess their preparation entails in the kitchen. Fortunately, canned beets are here to save the day. They're already washed, peeled, sliced, and cooked, which frees you from the hassle of cleaning those stubborn stains off of your hands, clothes, chopping board, and even countertop. While vibrant red or purple beets pack a strong, earthy flavor, the yellow or golden variety taste milder and slightly sweeter, adding a more subtle flavor to any dish. You might even prefer the pickled version for a punchy vinegar flavor, keeping in mind its higher concentration in salt and sugar.

There are a myriad of ways in which you can use canned beats, be they Kroger, Great Value, or Libby's, such as in a comforting borscht in cold weather or as a daring alternative to cherry tomatoes in a bruschetta. You'd also want to add that vibrant color to any plain mix of greens, drizzled with a spiced vinaigrette, or to a hearty potato and egg salad. Another great option is to roast those beets and toss them with fresh arugula, goat cheese, and balsamic vinegar. Either way, even if you use the canned variety, you'd still be increasing your vitamin, potassium, and fiber intake, plus you get to use that beet brine in other recipes later on. Per AskUSDA, you can store canned beet liquid for five to seven days in the refrigerator and even freeze it for several months.

Artichoke Hearts

caned artichoke hearts in salad
caned artichoke hearts in salad - Jacek Chabraszewski/Shutterstock

There is a reason why some people are compared to an artichoke. Like the vegetable, they may be hiding their tender heart under many intimidating and spiky layers. The truth is, whether their color is green or purple, finding, carefully selecting, and preparing fresh artichokes can be a hassle. The work that goes into fresh artichokes shouldn't deter you from incorporating that deceivingly aloof vegetable into your dishes, though. Take an example from "Top Chef" winner and host Kristen Kish about this canned vegetable.

If you couldn't be bothered to wash, steam, peel, and remove all those fuzzy parts, canned artichokes are the best option. Popular brands include Del Monte, Cento, Trader Joe, and Reese, be they whole or quartered. Some are stored in water, while others are marinated in oil, spices, and vinegar, which means they can work as a salad dressing as well.p Thankfully, canned artichoke is available all year long and ready to be poured directly into a bowl of a Tuscan salad, for instance, along with chickpeas, red onion, ripe tomatoes, and even some quinoa for extra fiber. And here is a tip you'd want to try for your next potluck: Drain, wash, quarter, and roast your canned artichoke hearts with olive oil before mixing them into a white beans and diced shallot salad recipe, sprinkling them with your seasonings of choice.

Corn Kernels

warm quinoa, tomato, and corn salad
warm quinoa, tomato, and corn salad - Elena Veselova/Shutterstock

Technically, corn can be considered either a grain or a vegetable. Regardless of its designation, this versatile ingredient is an undisputable favorite at gatherings, adding crunch and a vibrant yellow color to any salsa, soup, or salad, or as a side to your favorite meat platter. Generally, the canned variety is sweet corn. Generally, the canned variety is sweet corn. It's so much more practical and easier to stock up on cans rather than peel, boil, and shred fresh cobs, especially with so many different brands at hand. Just don't forget to drain well and rinse off the excess sodium before use.

There is a wide array of hearty and sophisticated salad recipes that utilize canned corn, whether directly from the strainer or sautéed with butter, as per your preference. For instance, you can try a traditional Mexican street corn salad, also called esquites. Along with sweet corn, it includes thinly diced red pepper, red onion, jalapeño, and cilantro drizzled with a dressing of sour cream, Tajín seasoning, and lime juice. For a salad loaded with fiber and antioxidants, combine the canned corn with quinoa, cherry or grape tomatoes, cucumbers, avocadoes, and red onions, toss gently with a vinaigrette, and garnish with fresh mint leaves.

Diced Carrots

Russian or Olivier salad
Russian or Olivier salad - Nitr/Shutterstock

Be they orange, yellow, purple, red, or white, carrots are low in calories and high in fiber. They're a delicious staple in classic appetizers and side dishes, whether steamed, sautéed in butter or coconut oil, or stir-fried. Thankfully, instead of washing, peeling, cutting, and cooking fresh carrots, the canned diced or chopped variety is available to save precious time in the kitchen, as it's already pre-cooked. Le Sueur is a high-quality canned carrot brand to consider, as it sells whole baby carrots for you to chop as you wish.

For those who might complain about the relatively bland taste of canned carrots, there are plenty of ways to improve the flavor of canned carrots. You could roast them in the air fryer, then sprinkle them with herbs or spices, such as dill, thyme, or paprika, or sauté them in olive oil with minced garlic. Likewise, brands such as Embasa sell carrots already in marinated brine.

If you want to keep it simple, canned carrots can become a rich, creamy dish in a classic Russian Olivier salad. Just toss them with diced potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, pickles, ham, and peas, and use a copious amount of mayo, pickle brine, and ketchup dressing. It's pure creamy delight with an acidic kick, and the perfect accompaniment for pork roasts or grilled chicken breasts. For a lighter salad option, combine the carrots with finely chopped green bell peppers, celery, and sweet onions, and drizzle with a simple lemon vinaigrette.

Sliced Or Diced Potatoes

potato salad
potato salad - Picleidenschaft/Getty Images

Potatoes are filling and quite versatile as either an accompaniment or a star ingredient. Preparing them takes time, though, and this is where the canned variety comes along, be it whole, diced, or sliced. Great brands of canned potatoes, like Del Monte, Kroger, and Essential Everyday taste almost as good as the fresh ones, except that they're already washed, peeled, and para-boiled. That's pretty handy for when you are lacking time or energy to prepare a comforting potato and leek soup from scratch, for example. Or when you need to bring in a hearty side to a barbecue.

There is a plethora of uses for canned potatoes, but since they're only partially cooked, it's better to sauté or boil them a little more to prevent digestive discomfort. For their high concentration in starch, Yukon Gold and Russet are especially recommended for salads, such as the easy, classic, and family-favorite creamy potato salad. Just strain the potatoes, pat them dry, and toss them with salt, white pepper, finely chopped spring onions, and mayonnaise. Another option is to mix the potatoes with chopped celery, minced sweet onions, and bacon bits. Note that these salads are best consumed chilled, either on their own or to accompany your protein of choice. And here is another practical use of canned potatoes in a crunchy salad: air-fry them with your seasonings of choice and toss them with fresh arugula and lettuce and a lemon vinaigrette.


canned asparagus
canned asparagus - Manuel Trinidad Mesa/Shutterstock

Asparagus is yet another essential vegetable brimming with health benefits. Just half a cup of canned asparagus provides half of your daily recommended intake of vitamin K. This means that you don't have to scour the market for an expensive fresh bunch of white or green asparagus that would accompany your fried eggs or grilled salmon. Truth be told, though, canned asparagus does have a less vibrant color, a softer texture, and less flavor than the fresh or frozen variety. Thankfully, there is a quick fix for that: after draining, rinsing thoroughly. Chop the asparagus, sauté with lemon juice, butter, and garlic, and you'll enhance both texture and taste. Prepared that way, canned asparagus presents itself as a noticeable addition to casseroles, soups, and, of course, salads.

Here are three easy salad ideas that will enhance your barbecue gathering. The first is to gently mix the asparagus with some cherry tomatoes, cubed feta cheese, and a balsamic dressing. The second is to combine it with arugula and shaved nuts and parmesan cheese and drizzle with some lemon and oil. And the third option is to mix the asparagus with artichoke hearts, mushrooms, and hearts of palm with a lemon mustard dressing.


Green spin in tin can
Green spin in tin can - Alesia.Bierliezova/Shutterstock

Spinach may not be as popular as other canned veggies — except in animated series like "Popeye" — but its health benefits are widely recognized. Albeit not particularly mouthwatering, canned spinach is not only cost-effective, but also very practical for preparing risotto, a casserole, or a delectably cheesy artichoke dip served alongside tortilla chips, baguette slices, and crackers. Better to keep a few cans of Best Choice, Great Value, Hy-Vee, or Glory Foods leaf spinach in your pantry, then, as fresh spinach is usually in season in late winter or early spring.

While draining, rinsing, and gently patting the spinach will definitely remove the excess sodium and improve its somewhat soggy texture. You might also want to elevate its taste before incorporating into a wet salad of choice.  You could add it to a spicy tuna salad with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and olive oil, giving a lift of vegetable flavor with some added nutrious. Likewise, adding canned spinach to your pesto pasta salad adds a twist of earthy, pleasantly leafy flavor while deepening the shade of green even further.

Water Chestnuts

water chestnuts
water chestnuts - jreika/Shutterstock

Some people may not be familiar with water chestnuts, but these crunchy white or pale-yellow veggies can be widely found in Asian markets, especially in salad-friendly brands like Geisha. Contrary to popular belief, they're not actual nuts, but rather aquatic tuber vegetables. They are low in calories, high in nutrients, and taste both nutty and a little sweet. It's no wonder they're so extensively used in stuffings, dumplings, stir-fries, and salads, particularly in Chinese cuisine.

The canned variety is a little less flavorful, though, and should be prepped properly. You'll need to rinse the chestnuts thoroughly and soak them for a few minutes in cool water, preferably with a teaspoon of baking soda in order to maintain their crunch and remove the metallic taste. Good thing they're already peeled, as that's quite the hassle! Best of all, they can be consumed raw, grilled, boiled, fried, candied, or sautéed. Since they're such versatile veggies, be sure to stock up. When you're ready to add crunch and texture to your tender or crispy greens, make sure to chop your canned water chestnuts very thinly. Sprinkle them on a spicy cucumber salad; on broccoli and dried cranberries; or on peas, shredded carrots, and chopped green onions. As for dressings that pair well with water chestnut salads, they include soy sauce, sesame oil, and red wine vinegar. 

Hearts Of Palm

Glazed prawn salad with tomatoes
Glazed prawn salad with tomatoes - Ruizluquepaz/Getty Images

Also called palm cabbage, chonta, or palmito, heart of palm is a controversial vegetable because harvesting it is harmful to the environment. Ecological concerns in mind, it is a tender and juicy ingredient that is high in fiber, low in calories and fat, and mostly used as a meat substitute and in salads, soups, and stews. Since fresh heart of palm isn't easy to come by as it is quickly perishable, you can find it in the canned and jarred section, usually stacked next to the artichoke and asparagus. When shopping, keep an eye out for brands like Native Organics, which sells products that prioritize harvesting from more sustainable varieties of palm, like the peach and acai palm plants.

Make sure to drain and rinse well the hearts of palm before choosing to either shred them or chop them into round slices for your next recipe. A veggie antipasti Italian pasta salad, for instance, is a filling meal in and of itself, as it combines hearts of palm and artichoke, rotini, grape tomatoes, olives, fresh mozzarella balls, and fresh basil. Or you can mix the hearts of palm with prawns, cilantro, avocadoes, tomatoes, lime juice, and oil for a light and fresh summer Argentinian ensalada de palmitos. And another great option is to toss those tender white veggies with arugula and chopped celery and parsley, drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice.

Mung Bean Sprouts

spicy bean sprout salad
spicy bean sprout salad - Ingrid Balabanova/Shutterstock

Here is another low-calorie, nutrient-rich superfood that is a staple in Asian cuisines: mung bean sprouts. You'll recognize them by their thin white stalks as you're enjoying a pad Thai, pho, ramen, or bibimbap. Unless you sprout them yourself, consuming raw mung bean sprouts isn't always an option; they're a seasonal vegetable that might not be sold year round in Western grocery stores. This is where the canned version comes along, as they're already blanched or steamed and ready to pop their tiny little yellowish, beige, or greenish heads in your next flavorful meal.

Korean cuisine has a popular salad where mung bean sprouts are centerstage: sookju namul. After draining and gently squeezing the canned sprouts to remove excess water, combine them with some finely chopped scallions, toasted sesame seeds, minced garlic, sesame oil, and soy sauce. Another salad idea for a pan-Asian meal: mix canned mung bean sprouts, Nappa cabbage, crushed peanuts, and shredded carrots, and drizzle with sesame oil, honey, and soy sauce. A third option for those sprouts is to toss them with corn and finely diced carrots, tomatoes, red onions, and cucumbers and add a splash of lime juice for a fresh and light salad.

Sliced Okra

roasted okra with tomatoes and onions
roasted okra with tomatoes and onions - Alleko/Getty Images

Okra, sometimes called lady's finger, is a fuzzy and slimy green vegetable with plenty of seeds — but also numerous health benefits and a decidedly impactful presence. It can be consumed raw with a mustard dip or some cottage cheese, boiled, fried, grilled, or baked. Since fresh okra needs to be washed thoroughly and boiled for several minutes before it becomes tender enough to eat in a stew or a salad, using the pre-cooked, canned variety will save you the effort. Margaret Holmes, is one of the most famous brands of canned, cut okra, containing just a touch of salt to get you started on seasonings.

You'll need to drain and pat try your canned okra in order to improve its texture and remove all that extra moisture. From then on, you can either add this delicious vegetable directly to your salad or choose to boost its flavor with a splash of lemon juice or by pan-frying or grilling it with your preferred seasonings. Fried okra will make an earthy addition to a pasta salad, with bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, red onions, and olive oil. Or you can choose to toss it with cherry tomatoes and onions and drizzle balsamic vinegar and hot sauce for a bolder finish. As for grilled canned okra, it will certainly make an impression in a pasta salad with mozzarella cheese balls and fresh basil, dressed with garlic olive oil and lemon juice.

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