When fresh tomatoes aren’t in season, turn to canned as a healthy alternative. Check out these 12 ways to incorporate canned tomatoes into recipes.
Canned tomatoes are low in calories and brimming with fiber, iron, and vitamins B6 and C. They’re also an excellent source of lycopene, an antioxidant that can help lower the risk of heart disease, cancer and macular degeneration (an eye disease that occurs in older folks).
When purchasing canned tomatoes, look for “no added salt” versions—you can always add salt at the end if the dish needs it. For those worried about BPA, companies like Eden Foods sell BPA-free canned tomatoes.
Using no-salt added crushed tomatoes keeps sodium at bay in this lightened version of an Italian classic.
Recipe: Lightened Chicken and Eggplant Parmesan (above)
Tyler uses canned stewed tomatoes to make the delicious filling in his chicken enchiladas.
Recipe: Chicken Enchiladas
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The steamy days of August make for outrageously sweet and juicy tomatoes. We’ve got an idea for every day this month, but whatever you do, don’t refrigerate them!
1. Start by getting all the fun facts. Read In Season: Tomatoes.
2. Hit your local farmers’ market for lesser-known varieties like Black Krim, White Cherry and Sweet Tangerine.
3. The season can start early if tomatoes are grown in a green house.
4. Roast tomatoes with potatoes.
5. Make sweet, sour and spicy jam.
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There’s the bottle of ketchup in the fridge. A weightlifter’s load of canned tomatoes in the pantry—crushed and whole, of course. You’ve got your tomato paste, your bag of sun-dried, your jar of marinara, your jarred salsas and your canned tomato soups. You could survive a natural disaster with the amount of tomatoes in your house. In its preserved form, the tomato is your lifeblood, your fallback. A sauce injects limp pasta with life and tomato soup reinvigorates grilled cheese with just a dip. It graces the tops of our favorite pizzas and finds its way on top of our hotdogs. Tomato products—keyword: products—build the foundation of our kitchens and is one of the only products that we do not insist on freshness. And that’s fine, up until a certain point.
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February is the month to think red — and not just because of Valentine’s Day. The shortest month of the year is also American Heart Month and National Cherry Month. Celebrate by adding more red foods like tart cherries, tomatoes and red cabbage to your diet. We spoke with Dr. Wendy Bazilian, MPH, RD to find out why these red foods are so important.
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- #7: Tomato Salad
Tomatoes find their way on to salads and sandwiches without much consideration, but they deserve more attention for tomato week. Here are 10 fabulous nibbles where tomatoes are the star.
1.) Serve sweet and spicy tomato jam with whole grain crackers (or slices of toasted whole grain baguette) along with shards of sharp cheddar cheese.
Recipe: Tomato Jam
2.) Look for locally produced dried tomatoes at your local farmers market – it’s a great way to hold on to that tomato goodness for months.
Recipe: Sun-Dried Tomato and Goat Cheese Skewers
3.) Cherry tomatoes are the perfect size for skewers. Watermelon (also in season now) may seem like an unlikely match up, but the combo of flavors scream summer.
Recipe: Tomato, Watermelon, and Basil Skewers
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- Don't you wish these guys grew all year long?
To refrigerate or not to refrigerate? When to peel and seed? Proper handling of fresh tomatoes is trickier than it might seem. Our readers asked tomato questions on Facebook and Twitter , here are our recommendations.
This is prime time for local produce so get out to your local farmers’ market or farm stand where colorful and plump tomatoes are abundant. Choose large tomatoes that are free of bruises and heavy for their size (heavy equals juicy). For smaller cherry tomatoes, look for ones that are brightly colored with tight skins.
Don’t look only for perfectly round or red tomatoes. Oddly shaped, bizarre-colored heirloom and other unique varieties are some of the tastiest kinds! Learn more about the various heirloom varieties.
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- You say tomato, we say gazpacho.
Between the backyard garden, CSA deliveries, and compulsive trips to the farmers’ market – my kitchen is bursting with tomatoes and other goodies like cucumbers, onion and herbs. What’s one of the most tasty and healthy ways to use up lots of veggies? When life hands you tomatoes . . . make gazpacho!
Step 1: Choose your ingredients
Take your pick of favorite fresh seasonal vegetables and herbs. The only other ingredients needed are olive oil, a source of acid, tomato juice, salt and pepper. If you’ve got some day old bread lying around, use it to thicken the soup (see recipe below).
Classic veggie options include tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet peppers, onion and celery. Then add a flavor punch with fresh garlic and herbs like parsley, basil, chives or cilantro. Use a good quality extra-virgin olive oil and some acidity from fresh lemon or lime juice or vinegar like red wine, balsamic or sherry.
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- Red peppers are one of 9 red fruits and veggies to eat now -- find out the other 8.
Each color contains different nutrients, so a rainbow-colored plate of fruits and veggies is likely a well-rounded, healthy one! In this occasional series, we explain what each color has to offer. We told you all about orange foods, and this month, in honor of Valentine’s Day and Heart Health month, we’ve got the scoop on red-hued eats.
Learn why you should eat more red foods »
- Heirloom Tomatoes At The Farmers' Market
Juicy tomatoes are at their peak, and that means farmers’ markets are exploding with heirloom varieties. Heirloom tomatoes are special, because cultivators have saved the seeds and passed them down through the generations. They come in a range of sizes, colors and of course, flavors. We tested several varieties for taste and texture. Plus, a quick recipe for heirloom tomato sauce.
Photo gallery: Heirloom tomato taste test »
Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »
More Tomato Coverage:
- Oven-Dried Tomatoes - Photo by Con Poulos/Food Network Magazine
This week on Healthy Eats, we’re celebrating the superstar of summer: the nutrient-packed tomato! These juicy, delicious beauties are at their peak, and we can’t stop eating them.
If you like store-bought sun-dried tomatoes, you’ll love them dried from the oven. Although they take some time to cook or bake, it’s pretty straightforward — cook those babies low and slow.
Get the easy recipe »