Easy, healthy and tasty appetizers with canned vegetables: the secret is in the marinade


At Directo al Paladar we are passionate about preserves, or rather, good quality preserves. Not only do they allow us to have the pantry prepared for unforeseen events thanks to their long conservation, they can also solve more than one headache on special occasions. Why complicate our lives with Christmas snacks if we can show off with very little effort?

Today we are going to vindicate the presence of canned vegetables on festive tables with ideas to present them without giving the impression of being crappy or lazy in the kitchen. In addition to choosing quality raw materials, the only secret to success is the marinade that will completely transform the flavors of the product. And with the added advantage that they can be ready in advance.

Investing in good quality preserves: a fundamental first step

Although it is true that with the marinade or the presentation we can praise a poor product, at Christmas we want our table to shine with its own light, so it is worth investing in quality. We are lucky that, in general, canned vegetables do not skyrocket in price as much as seafood, so we have even fewer excuses.

And how do you know which ones are worth it? There is nothing written about tastes, but the most important thing is to read the labels well. The price can already guide us -when something is sold expensive, it will be for something-, but you also have to look at the manufacturer, the ingredients and the origin of them. Please avoid asparagus from Peru or peppers from China; we must defend the local product and the good craftsmanship of our country.

The producing regions with products recognized with Denomination of Origin, Protected Geographical Indication or Guaranteed Traditional Specialty, as well as the quality guarantee seals of each autonomous community.

What can we marinate?

In principle, any canned vegetables or vegetables suitable to be consumed as is, as long as we buy the natural varieties or simply in olive oil, to control the flavors at home. These are the most typical vegetable appetizers that can give us a lot of play at the snack table:

  • Olives of various varieties.
  • Roasted peppers.
  • Piquillo peppers.
  • Roasted eggplants and other vegetables.
  • Artichoke hearts.
  • Thistle.
  • White and green asparagus.
  • Baby beans.
  • Cooked or roasted beets.
  • Mushrooms and champignons.
  • Carrots
  • Roasted or dried tomatoes.
  • Mini ears of corn.
  • Pickled onion.
  • Pickled garlic cloves.
  • Hearts of palm (although its production is not very sustainable).

How to marinate canned vegetables

The first step is to remember to start the preparation in advance, preferably a couple of days before, although they will also serve us a few hours. Like any marinade, the longer we let the ingredients rest, the more flavor they will have, with more complex and deeper aromas.

The base of the marinade will be a good extra virgin olive oil, at our choice. Arbequina, picual or cornicabra, fresh and aromatic, are good options. The quality of the oil is also crucial for superior results. Unless we are in a great hurry, we are interested in infusing the oil first, gently heating it with some aromatics: fresh herbs, garlic cloves, peppercorns, lemon or orange peel, chilli, etc.

After cooking it for a few minutes, always at a low temperature, we let it cool a bit, strain to remove the aromatics and add some acidic ingredient, which will give us that much-needed contrast to awaken the taste buds. Vinegar always works, again, make it quality. There are many varieties to choose from, such as a good Sherry, and we can combine it with lemon juice. In addition, you can not miss salt, as in any salad dressing.

To this essential base we can add a sweeter component, such as honey, or sweeter fruit juices such as orange. Alcohols such as wine or certain liqueurs can also enrich the marinade, even providing a very interesting bitter point, for example with Cynar or a herbal liqueur, always in moderation.

Finally we can play with the added aromatics: fresh or dried herbs, spices, fruits, chopped onion or chives, chillies and chili peppers, dried fruits and fruits, cheeses, salted fish ... We can play and be creative, trying the combination whenever possible. of ingredients. We may be interested in a sweeter, spicier marinade, with an oriental or more Mediterranean touch, etc.

We will place the vegetables in a clean, wide container so as not to crowd them too much, with space to cover completely with the marinade. It is preferable to have a hermetic closure to be able to let it rest in the fridge, or at least we will have to cover it well with plastic film.

Tips for serving appetizers

It is never advisable to serve these appetizers directly from the refrigerator, and less in winter, or we will lose much of the flavor. You have to remember to let them temper and also to serve them properly, to show off a little more.

If they have spent many hours or several days resting, the marinade may have become a bit cloudy; We can carefully move the vegetables to where we are going to serve them and strain the oil. Another option is to cover them again with new oil, renewing the fresh herbs if they have become somewhat wilted.

Do not forget to add salt and pepper, always carefully and trying not to overdo it, and choose a variety of appropriate bowls, plates and small containers, making sure there is no risk of the liquid overflowing. The best thing is to offer a varied selection of ingredients and very different flavors, with other elements on the table that provide contrasting textures and flavor, such as toasted nuts, homemade crackers or artisan crispy breads.

These appetizers can easily be incorporated into the most typical selection of festive snacks, such as the traditional ham or sausages and other cold meats, without forgetting, of course, the cheeses. I also recommend getting off the beaten track a bit and trying to combine them with creams and dips hummus type, even topping them; the marinade will add delicious flavors to the vegetable patés.

Different marinade ideas and recipes for our canned vegetable appetizers

If you are lacking inspiration to experiment with your marinated vegetables, here are some original proposals to try at home and prepare for the holidays. In addition to the marinade itself, we can play with other ingredients creating harmonies or flavor contrasts with vegetables and pickles:

  • Persimmon persimmon, red chilli, rosemary and thyme.
  • Peeled almonds, mojama, cheese, chopped seedless grapes and chives.
  • Orange, grapefruit, lemon peel, fish roe and fresh coriander.
  • Mozzarella balls, fresh basil, tomato water and dried tomato.
  • Avocado, oregano, flaked parmesan cheese, anchovies.
  • Celery, cucumber, honey, lemon zest, and feta cheese.
  • Garlic, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, aged cheese.
  • Smoked salmon, soy sauce, fresh ginger, chives.
  • Pineapple, mango, lime zest, spearmint or mint.
  • Cecina, hazelnuts, rosemary, orange zest.
  • Chopped roasted corn, sweet smoked paprika, hot paprika, muscat wine.
  • Anchovies, fresh dill, lemon juice, fried almonds.
  • Juniper berries, chili flakes, red onion, quince paste.

For vegetables such as celery and cucumber, or fruits such as pineapple to fulfill their role in the marinade, the ideal is to chop them in brunoise, in small squares to combine them very well with the other ingredients; the idea is that they are part of the "sauce" without diverting the attention of the protagonist of the dish.

Photos | iStock - Pixabay

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