Spotlight On: Canned Tomatoes

Spotlight On: Canned Tomatoes

This Spotlight On documentary for PBS explores the truth about canned and jarred tomatoes. Interviews include chefs, a registered dietitian, and a fourth-generation tomato grower. Often people think that fresh is always best, but the truth is that the increased health benefits of tomato products and the harvest/canning process that captures them within hours, in season at their flavor and nutrition peak all lead to them being the best choice for the majority of the year. That’s how we can enjoy the flavor of summer all year long  

Nona’s Beef Ragu

Nona’s Beef Ragu

If you’re craving pasta, then go ahead and whip up this delicious recipe for Nona’s Beef Ragu! This entire meal can be made in a slow cooker, which makes it perfect for any night of the week. Plus, it’s kid-friendly, which makes dinner time even easier.

While this entire recipe tastes delicious, the star ingredient is a jar of crushed tomatoes. Not only is this a quintessential ingredient for ragu, but it is also incredibly nutritious. Cooked tomato products (found in canned tomato products like pasta sauce) contain an ingredient called lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that has been proven to protect the body against many chronic diseases and even reduce the risk of stroke. Similar to most nutrients, it’s more natural to obtain lycopene from foods rather than supplements. In order to achieve maximum health benefits associated with lycopene, it is recommended to consume tomato products with a heart healthy fat, such as olive oil or avocado. That’s why we recommend enjoying lycopene and its health benefits through delicious foods such as this recipe for Nona’s Beef Ragu

You can feel good about serving this delectable meal to your family, and they will delight in the complex flavors. To make this meal extra special, serve with a simple side salad dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Whether you’re enjoying this beef ragu for a Sunday family dinner or a simple weeknight meal for one, you’ll be satisfied.

Check out this video to learn how this recipe is made. So, what are you waiting for? Enjoy some canned tomato products today!

Nona’s Beef Ragu

Nona’s Beef Ragu

If you’re craving pasta, then go ahead and whip up this delicious recipe for Nona's Beef Ragu! This entire meal can be made in a slow cooker, which makes it perfect for any night of the week. Plus, it’s kid-friendly, which makes dinner time even easier.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 lbs. beef brisket, cut into 4 evenly sized pieces
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 (14 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup red wine
  • ½ cup beef broth
  • 4 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 1 tap. oregano
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 ½ tsp. granulated sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  • Spaghetti, for serving
  • Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Season brisket with salt and pepper. Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the beef into the pan and sear it on both sides until brown and crispy. Remove the beef from the pan and transfer it into a crock pot. 
  2. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil into the pan along with the onion and garlic. Sauté until the onion turns translucent then add the mixture into the crock pot. Mix until combined.  Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours until the beef easily falls apart when pulled with two forks.
  3. Whisk the cornstarch and water together in a small bowl until well combined. Pour the mixture into the crock pot. Cover and cook on high for an additional 30 minutes until the sauce slightly thickens.
  4. Serve over spaghetti and garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
For other delicious pasta recipes, check out some of our favorites:

Puttanesca Pasta
Pasta with Marinara and Roasted Vegetables
Walnut and Mushroom Ragu
Instant Pot Pizza Pasta

Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup

Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup

Who said that soups can’t be filling and hearty? Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup is a warming and filling meal that can be eaten on its own as an entire meal or served alongside a fresh green salad.

There’s nothing quite like a comforting bowl of tomato soup to warm your soul, which is why this recipe for Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup is a fan-favorite–it’s a unique twist on a classic meal that will leave you feeling cozy. Additionally, these ingredients for this recipe are things you may already have in your kitchen (such as tomato sauce, chicken broth, kale, and heavy cream), making it an easy recipe to whip up on any weeknight. 

Thanks to the tomato sauce, this recipe is a heart healthy option that is also teeming with nutrients. And, since tomato sauce is rich in lycopene, it also contributes to a reduced risk of cardiovascular diease, as research shows that tomato products play an important role in preventing platelet aggregation (i.e. reducing the amount of blood clots that can lead to cardiovascular diseases). Additionally, tomato products can improve cholesterol by improving lipid profiles, as studies have found that consumption has lead to a significant decrease in cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well as body weight and fat percentage.

So, go ahead and enjoy this nutrient-dense Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup! Your heart, soul, and taste buds will thank you. And don’t forget to watch this video to see how it’s made.

Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup

Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup

Who said that soups can’t be filling and hearty? Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup is a warming and filling meal that can be eaten on its own as an entire meal or served alongside a fresh green salad!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb. Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. all purpose flour
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 9 oz. cheese tortellini
  • ½ bunch of kale, stems removed and leaves chopped
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped basil

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add in the sausage and cook and crumble it into small pieces. When the sausage has fully cooked, drain the excess fat from the pan.
  2. Mix in the garlic, onion, and italian seasoning. Cook until the onions turn translucent then season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  3. Whisk in the flour and cook until it turns a light golden brown. Slowly whisk in the chicken stock and tomato sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil then reduce the heat to low so that it is simmering. Simmer, while stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until it has thickened.
  4. Add in the tortellini and cook for about 5-7 minutes until tender. Then add in the kale and mix until it wilts. Mix in the heavy cream and chopped basil. Cook for about 1 minute. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Enjoy!
For other delicious soup recipes, check out some of our favorites:

Fideo Soup
Santa Fe Chicken Soup
Green Chile Posole Soup

20+ of the BEST canned tomato recipes

20+ of the BEST canned tomato recipes

Turn a can of tomatoes into a flavorful dish with these canned tomato recipes from registered dietitians.

Get ready to celebrate a world of flavors with canned tomatoes! We are celebrating National Nutrition Month all month long, and this year’s theme is all about how you can appreciate flavors from cultures around the world. This is a tasty way to nourish ourselves and appreciate our diversity, as we are all unique with different bodies, goals, backgrounds and tastes! That’s why we asked some of our registered dietitian friends to share their best canned tomato recipes, as these nutrition professionals are the top in their class for providing healthful and delicious food that also celebrates culture.

We love using canned (and jarred tomatoes) as they provide a plethora of antioxidants (such as lycopene) that play an integral role in the reduction of certain types of diseases and cancers. In fact, numerous studies have linked lycopene consumption with prostate cancer protection. While lycopene is present in other fruits such as watermelon and pink grapefruit, tomatoes (which are the second most consumed vegetable second to potatoes in the U.S.), account for more than 85% of the lycopene in the American diet. Interestingly, cooked tomato products may hold particular significance, as the lycopene from cooked and processed tomatoes is more bioavailable than that of fresh tomatoes. Heating or processing breaks down the tomato cell matrix and promotes isomerization of lycopene from all-trans isomers to the more bioavailable form of cis-isomers. Research shows that single daily servings of processed tomato products produce significant increases of lycopene concentrations in blood and buccal mucosal cells in healthy adults.

So, what are you waiting for? Get ready to see how canned tomatoes can help you uncover a world of flavor with these recipes inspired by global cuisine. 

20+ of the BEST canned tomato recipes for National Nutrition Month

For other delicious tomato-based recipes, check out some of our favorites:

Walnut and Mushroom Ragu
Sausage Tortellini Soup
Huevos Rancheros
Greek Style Braised Eggplant

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala

Get dinner on the table in no time at all with this delicious Indian-inspired recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala. #KitchenTravel

Have you have ever tried Indian Cuisine? It is some of the most flavorful and delicious food ever! Although the large number of spices used in Indian food can seem overwhelming, it’s easier than ever to create restaurant worthy food from the comfort of your own kitchen. This Chicken Tikka Masala is a great option for those who want an international-inspired meal that doesn’t take forever to get on the table. 

The spices that you will need include garam masala, turmeric, paprika, cumin and chili powder. It is important to use high quality spices to ensure that your dish is as flavorful as possible. These complement the chicken and take this dish to the next level! 

In addition to these Indian-inspired spices, using canned tomato paste in this masala recipe ensures two things: that the sauce is full of flavor and that it is nutrient dense! Aside from containing important nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and potassium, canned tomatoes are rich in lycopene. Canned tomatoes are rich in lycopene because the tomatoes are cooked prior to being canned, which makes it easier for our bodies to absorb it. Moreover, lycopene provides a hearty dose of antioxidants to help protect against heart disease and cancer.

So, what are you waiting for? Whip this up on a weeknight for a meal that’s sure to impress everyone at your table!

Yield: 6 servings

Chicken Tikka Masala

Get dinner on the table in no time at all with this delicious Indian-inspired recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala. #KitchenTravel

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Ingredients

For the Chicken:

  • ½ cup whole milk plain yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
  • ½ tsp. garam masala
  • ½ tsp. chili powder
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil

For the Sauce:

  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 ½ tsp. garam masala
  • 2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • ¼ cayenne pepper
  • 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Instructions

    1. Combine all of the ingredients for the chicken, except for the chicken and canola oil, in a large bowl. Add in the chicken and mix until it is well combined with the marinade. Refrigerate and allow it to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
    2. Heat the canola oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the chicken into the pan and cook until golden brown and fully cooked, about 4-5 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside.
    3. In the same pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add in the onion and saute until it turns translucent. Stir in the tomato paste, grated ginger, garlic, garam masala, turmeric, chili powder, paprika, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Cook the onions with the spices for 1-2 minutes.
    4. Then mix in the crushed tomatoes and chicken broth. Bring it to a boil then reduce the heat so that it is simmering. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Add in the heavy cream, lemon juice, and chicken. Mix to combine and cook for another 5 minutes until the chicken is heated through. Enjoy!

For other delicious recipes, check out some of our favorites:

Pan Seared Pork Chops with Bourbon Peach Compote
Easy Chicken Curry
Pizza Stuffed Chicken
Green Chile Posole Soup