Put the power of a zesty tomato rice to work in this delicious, fiesta Chipotle Tomato Rice Power Bowl, filled with piquant flavors, such as chipotle, kale, black beans, avocados, sweet corn, cilantro, and an herbal dressing. This meal-in-a-bowl is great for meal prepping for the week, packing away in lunchboxes, or creating build-your-own dinners for the whole family.
Chipotle Tomato Rice POWER Bowl
This Chipotle Tomato Rice Power Bowl calls upon a great foundation of zesty tomato rice, then builds upon it with Latin-inspired toppings, such as greens, black beans, corn, avocados, pumpkin seeds, and tomatoes.
Chipotle Tomato Rice:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ cups medium grain brown rice, uncooked
1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
3 cups water
1 vegetable broth bullion cube
½ teaspoon chipotle powder or seasoning
½ teaspoon salt (optional)
2 cups kale, chopped
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed, drained
1 cup frozen sweet corn, thawed
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small avocado, sliced into 8 slices
1 bell pepper (orange, yellow, red, or green), thinly sliced
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
½ cup vegan ranch dressing (may choose Southwest or Chipotle flavor)*
Add brown rice and toast it for 2 minutes, stirring.
Add crushed tomatoes, water, bullion cube, chipotle seasoning, and salt (optional).
Stir well, cover with a lid, and bring to a simmer. Cook over medium heat about 1 hour, until liquid is absorbed and grains are tender. May add additional water to replace water lost to evaporation as needed.
To make Chipotle Tomato Rice Power Bowls:
Place one-fourth of the rice (a scant 1 cup each) into 4 individual serving bowls (or meal prep containers). Note: May serve rice hot, warm, or chilled in this recipe, as desired.
Top each bowl of rice with: ½ cup chopped kale; 1/3 cup black beans; ¼ cup corn; ¼ cup cherry tomatoes; 2 slices avocado; ¼ bell pepper; 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds; 2 tablespoons vegan ranch dressing.
Canned tomato products have gained pandemic popularity for good reason. Give these tried and true pantry staples a fresh look.
Canned tomato products are more popular than ever! All it took was a pandemic to clear every last can—diced tomatoes, tomato puree, sauce, salsa, marinara sauce—from supermarket shelves across the country. It’s no surprise really. Our reality has been shaken—especially the way we eat. Our new normal is cooking in and shopping less frequently, which means we rely on longer-lasting, shelf-stable foods—like canned tomato products—more than we ever have. So just like that, the wallflower of supermarket shelves is now the darling, helping us dish up delicious and nutritious meals that are not only convenient but economical. Of course, this has been true for generations of families who have relied on them, just like an old friend. Now is the perfect time to take a fresh look at what canned tomato products have to offer and enjoy what’s new again.
In the early days of the pandemic, it threw a shock to the food supply system.
Preserving tomatoes and other produce is a part of our history. For generations we’ve preserved tomatoes and other produce, capturing the season’s harvest to enjoy all year! It’s no surprise that the largest surges in U.S. canning history came in times of crisis—the two world wars. This history and tradition of canned tomatoes continues today as we rely upon and enjoy their long shelf life, convenience, and versatility.
Not only is it much easier to purchase canned tomatoes straight off supermarket shelves, it’s the best way—shy of picking them fresh from the summer garden—to enjoy them in terms of flavor and nutrition all year long. Farmers harvest them at peak ripeness in the field, then whisk them to a nearby processing plant where they are canned within four hours’ time, preserving and intensifying sun-ripened flavor and all those healthy nutrients.
We’re eating at home more, which means we have complete control when it comes to eating healthier. One of the places Americans fall short in terms of nutrition is the amount of fruits and vegetables we eat. A healthy eating pattern, according to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, includes a variety of vegetables from all of the subgroups—dark green, red and orange, legumes, starchy, and other—and recommends tomato products as a source of intake for red and orange vegetables. Tomato products are the easy vegetable; it’s so easy to pack in a serving of veggies with tomato sauce, tomato paste, and canned tomatoes.
Tomato products play a key role in a Mediterranean-style diet—a way of eating that’s been linked with lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, certain types of cancer, obesity, and more. Med up your diet with tomato products—canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and tomato sauce are a part of so many Mediterranean dishes from pasta and pizza to ratatouille, beans, soup, and fish.
Get Back to Basics
A surplus of time has stirred a curiosity in the kitchen that’s taken many of us back to the basics. Cooking from scratch, like baking, churning butter, and making pasta, has not only rescued many of us from boredom, it’s taught us how simple and superior these foods can be. When it comes to canned tomatoes, they have saved many a meal during this pandemic. Canned tomato products open the door to homemade without the hassle. No fresh tomatoes? Open up a can of whole, diced, or crushed tomatoes to use instead. Many recipes are even better when made with canned tomatoes. No jarred salsa? No problem. Give Mango Salsa a try. Out of ketchup? A snap with canned tomato products, like this easy recipe for Spicy Sweet Tomato Jam. Make these homemade pantry regulars once and you may never go back to premade. Search for recipes at Tomato Wellness, line up your canned tomatoes, and be amazed. Quick, convenient, delicious, so much cheaper, plus the satisfaction of doing this yourself!
Turn down the news and turn to comfort foods. If there’s ever been a time to give ourselves a little extra love, it’s now. Canned tomatoes are comfort in a can. Their umami-rich flavor brings the soothing feel-good effect we all need. Velvety smooth tomato soup with a slice of warm, crusty bread, sloppy joes sandwiched in a soft bun, or a plate of vegetable lasagna—meals that warm heart and soul as they take us back to cherished memories and create new ones as well. Make a big batch—go ahead and double the recipes—and enjoy leftovers for more quick and easy meals during the week or freeze for later. Definitely consider using a slow-cooker or instant pot when you want a no-hassle meal—just add the ingredients to the pot and let it do all the work. Bonus: with canned tomatoes, there’s no washing, peeling, chopping, or fuss. Now that’s comfort—canned tomato style.
Cue into Cultural Cuisine
Travel plans are on hold for a while, but why not tap into those dream destinations with food? We can’t visit Paris right now, but you can bring it a little bit closer by whipping up a veggie quiche with tomatoes, mushrooms, and peppers. You’ll quickly discover the top tier role tomatoes play in traditional diets around the globe. They’ve been brightening our favorite meals with a splash of robust red and packing health promoting nutrients that help boost nutrition and reduce risk of chronic disease. From American Southwest to Latin America to Mediterranean, bring these international culinary gems into your kitchen. A few ways you can eat the globe and experience the world of food culture:
Italian—Classic Tomato Sauce—served with pasta, on Arugula Salad Pizza, or over veggie patties, or
Bruschetta—tomato on crunchy bread with garlic, olive oil, and fresh basil
Mediterranean—Greek Salad—tomatoes, greens, Kalamata olives, and capers, or Tomato Hummus—tomatoes, chickpeas, tahini, extra virgin olive oil, pine nuts, and spices
It’s so nice to welcome canned tomato products back home—into our pantries and our home cooking. They are the silver (okay, metal!) tried and true lining in our current pandemic, helping us through our current challenge, but also reminding us of what truly matters.
I’m a huge fan of “cooking out of your pantry”—the concept of making simple, rustic meals out of seasonal, local foods and shelf-stable ingredients that you keep on hand. This is the way people have been cooking for centuries, before the advent of supermarkets and cookbooks. It’s the concept of “making something out of nothing”, yet these are some of the best dishes on the planet. A great way to employ this strategy is with veggie lasagna, like this Swiss Chard Pecan Lasagna. You can take any seasonal vegetable and layer it with noodles, a fragrant tomato herb sauce, nuts, and cheese (plant-based for vegans). So, why don’t you try cooking out of your pantry today? I show-cased a bunch of swiss chard from my garden in this recipe. Swiss chard is one of the easiest things to grow in your garden, and it survives in cooler as well as warmer weather. Use this simple Swiss Chard Pecan Lasagna recipe for inspiration to cook out of your pantry. Based on primarily pantry ingredients, you can enjoy this delicious meal any night of the week. If you don’t have swiss chard, simply swap it out for other leafy greens you have on hand, too—such as spinach, kale, or collards.
Watch this video below on Sharon Palmer’s favorite ways to use this nutrient-rich vegetable in your diet.
Yield: 6 servings
Swiss Chard Pecan Lasagna
Based on pantry staples and fresh chard, this easy, hearty recipe for Swiss Chard Pecan Lasagna is a nutritious recipe that your whole family will love. Plus it’s 100% plant-based (vegan).
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning blend
Pinch black pepper
Pinch sea salt (optional)
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
½ cup water
1 ¼ cups finely chopped pecans, divided
8 sheets lasagna noodles (look for whole grain), dry
1 bunch Swiss chard, sliced
1 cup plant-based cheese, shredded
Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan.
Sauté onion, bell pepper, and garlic for 8 minutes.
Add Italian seasoning, black pepper, and sea salt (if desired), stirring well.
Add diced tomatoes with liquid, tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, and 1 cup of the pecans. Stir sauce well and heat for 3 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Layer the following ingredients in a 13 X 9-inch baking dish, sprayed with non-stick cooking spray: 4 sheets of dry lasagna noodles; Half of the chard; Half of the tomato vegetable mixture; Half of the cheese. Repeat the layers so that there are two layers.
Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
Remove foil, sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup pecans, and bake uncovered for an additional 15 minutes.
Here’s a simple, flavorful soup recipe that you can throw together in minutes! The anti-inflammatory spices and antioxidant-rich veggies can help boost your health—and spirits—on the gloomiest day. Plus this Curried Leek Vegetable Soup is light enough to be a great accompaniment for a meal year round. I love to pair this plant-based (vegan), gluten-free soup with a sandwich, such as my BLTA sandwich, veggie-burger such as this Chipotle Black Bean Quinoa Veggie Burger, or hearty salad, like my Green Goddess Buddha Bowl.
Filled with vegetables, including leeks, carrots, celery, and zucchini, with a flavorful tomato-curry vegetable broth, this 10-ingredient soup is based on refrigerator and pantry staples, so it’s easy to make up on a busy night. You can swap out leeks for white, yellow, or red onions, and substitute a different vegetable for zucchini, such as peas, spinach, or broccoli. You can also use frozen vegetables to save time and money when produce is less available.
While the soup is simmering, you can get the rest of your meal ready, and have dinner on the table in about 40 minutes. The leftovers are equally good. Just pack up the soup for lunch the next day, or enjoy it the second day with a different entrée. Soups are a great way to fit more veggies into your day, so I’m a big fan of including these delicious recipes in your diet each week. Studies even show that eating soup before your meals can fill you up and reduce your calorie intake for the meal. So, make sure “soups on” in your house today!
Curried Leek Vegetable Soup
Here’s a simple, flavorful soup recipe that you can throw together in minutes! This Curried Leek Vegetable Soup has anti-inflammatory spices and antioxidant-rich veggies can help boost your health—and spirits—on the gloomiest day.