top 15 fastest dishes for busy days

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Chopped tomatoes

This irresistible butter chicken uses a can of chopped tomatoes which combines with spices like cumin, cardamom, turmeric and ground fenugreek to create a tangy sauce. It's one of those great dishes which takes little prep

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ratatouille

Ratatouille is a dish that shows off vegetables, and chucking a couple of tins of chopped tomatoes in brings the dish together, making it rich and delicious in barely any time. Adding canned lentils can also save time

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Black beans: smoky black bean side

Black beans are a staple in Mexican cooking, and we know they're a great addition to burritos and quesadillas. High in protein and fibre, they are a great addition to many dishes.

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Black beans: black bean soup

This is a thick, warming soup and using canned black beans means you can make it super quick. The key to the dish is getting some deep heat into the flavours. The recipe suggests chipotle paste

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Black beans: huevos rancheros

This is a classic Mexican-style breakfast and translates as ‘ranch-style eggs’. The heart of this recipe are the black beans which are fried with cumin and smoked paprika to give depth of flavour.

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Kidney beans: aubergine chilli traybake

Chilli con carne is the obvious choice when it comes to kidney beans but here's how to up your game when you want something a little bit different.

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Cannellini beans: kale and cannellini soup

Cannellini beans are incredibly versatile. Use them as a filler in a casserole, add to a tomato-based stew with peppers or make a healthy mash which is high in protein and counts towards your five a day

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Butter beans: smoked beans and mushroom quesadillas

Canned butter beans have a wonderful creaminess to them, here they are roughly mashed with smoked paprika so they take on a smoky flavour.

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Butter beans: smoky bean stew

While dried beans are widely available, they take a long time to soak and cook so canned beans are a lifesaver. Meatier than cannellini, butter beans are really great in vegetarian dishes as well as a variety of stews and casseroles

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Anchovies: salade Niçoise

It's rare to find fresh anchovies as they deteriorate so quickly due to their high natural oil content. When buying canned, try to find them packed in olive oil rather than sunflower and generally, the more you pay

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Anchovies: creamy roasted broccoli

The salty, savoury taste that anchovies bring works excellently with cream, providing balance and a savoury tang to the dish. In this roasted broccoli recipe, the cream is flavoured with anchovies, chilli and Parmesan

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Crab: crab cakes

Let's face it – crab from a can can't replace the fresh version. But in some recipes, such as these quick crab cakes, you can get away with it. The addition of lemongrass, chillies and mango really helps to bring out the sweet flavour of crab.

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Tuna: fritters with tzatziki

Where would we be without canned tuna? The flavour is quite different from fresh so think of them almost as two different ingredients. The tinned stuff is great for sandwiches, salads and the good old tuna pasta bake

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Olives: fougasse with olives

Olives picked fresh from the tree are soaked then brined for several weeks to make them soft enough to eat. Some canned olives can be quite salty, so do buy a few and find the ones you prefer.

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Olives: tapenade

Tapenade is a chunky olive paste, great eaten as a snack on toasted bread or served on the side with fish cakes or grilled salmon. It's pretty good with a barbecued steak too. Serve with pan-fried lamb for a tangy contrast to the rich meat.

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