What We’re Thankful For, Now More Than Ever

What We’re Thankful For, Now More Than Ever

 

Pausing to Give Thanks
 
As we approach a Thanksgiving that may look very different, in a year that has been unprecedented, to say the least, we wanted to just take one moment to give thanks for a few of the things that make us who we are and that never get enough credit. Here is what we’re thankful for!
 

What We’re Thankful For, Now More Than Ever

 
Tomatoes: AKA “Love Apples”
 
Tomatoes are the magical and unique fruit *(vegetable?) that combine POWERHOUSE nutrition, with eloquent and unique umami flavors. Nothing else packs as big of a nutrition punch, while also being so wildly beloved and delicious. We are so thankful that these red beauties are such an easy way for families to feed their kids healthy, affordable and delicious dishes.
 
We take a lot of pride in working with the best-registered dietitians in the world, and nothing is as cool as bringing them out to the tomato fields and watching them experience the harvest for themselves in person. We couldn’t do that this year, but here’s a sweet summary from the great Leslie Schilling RD. We really count on these nutrition experts to help spread the message about not only the simple process from field to sealed, but also the truth about canned tomatoes. (This story from our buddy Toby Amidor, RD) 
 
Dietitians 
 
Here’s a fun virtual tour video that’s hosted by another of our favorite dietitians, Manuel Villacorta. He came along on a harvest tour, and also breaks down the major nutritional benefits to canned and jarred tomato products.
 
Cans and Jars: Seasonal Time Capsules
 
We hope you already know this, but just a reminder: tomatoes are actually grown in the summertime. That’s when they’re at their best. To capture those summer flavors you have to wait until they’re at their red ripe peak! Often people are surprised to learn that the freshest, ripest and most flavorful tomatoes you’re going to get all year long come from cans and jars. That’s because they’re picked at that peak and sealed within hours, locking in all that flavor and nutrition.
 
This pandemic has brought about a bit of a renaissance for canned foods, as people quickly realized that if the supply chain was in doubt, or if we’re trying not to go to the store as often, these shelf stable and affordable cans and jars are a life saver to keep our families healthy and happy. While it’s a nice reminder, we like to clarify, this wasn’t a comeback. Cans and jars have been there for you for hundreds of years.
 

Fun Fact: You can actually thank Napoleon for the invention of canned foods:
 
Napoleon offered 12,000 francs to improve upon the prevailing food preservation methods of the time. Not surprisingly, the purpose was to better feed his army “when an invaded country was not able or inclined to sell or provide food”. Fifteen years later, confectioner Nicolas François Appert claimed the prize. He devised a method involving heating, boiling and sealing food in airtight glass jars — the same basic technology still used to can foods.
 
Restaurants 
 
Every industry has been hit by 2020’s wild ride, but few as harshly as the hospitality industry. We all love restaurants because they feed us, and are where we celebrate so many of life’s milestones. Another thing we all learned very quickly through this pandemic is how much they really are an economic driver in our communities. Not only do they support so many jobs, but they are the end of the supply chain from the many food companies, canneries and plants, all the way back to the farmers. If there are no restaurants, everything gets backed up and we saw many farmers losing their crops. For all these reasons and more, we encourage everyone, safely, however they’re able, to remember to support restaurants. Everywhere is different right now, but if you can safely enjoy, or carry out, delivery or even buying gift certificates to save for the future, every bit helps. #SaveRestaurants
 
Even though people often think about Thanksgiving being a home-cooked feast, this year might look a lot different. Many restaurants are offering premade Thanksgiving feasts to go. Or if you are going the traditional route of cooking up a huge feast, maybe take a few days before and after to get carry out and take a break from the kitchen. 
 
Final Inspiration 

If you’re still figuring out some Thanksgiving sides, or just want to try some new healthy variations on classics, check out a few of our favorites from our buddy, and registered dietitian Sharon Palmer. 

 
 
 
 

Stay healthy. Stay safe.

We are thankful for you.

How Tomatoes Help Fight Prostate Cancer

How Tomatoes Help Fight Prostate Cancer

It’s Movember, which means it’s time to get serious about men’s health. One of the most pressing health issues for men is prostate cancer, with more than 1.3 million men diagnosed each year. Use this month as motivation to take preventative steps to reduce your risk of getting prostate cancer, including getting screened at age 50, and following a healthy and balanced lifestyle that includes regular exercise and a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

Fruits and veggies contain fiber and antioxidants that have been shown to help fight cancer and keep you healthy. One of the most potent antioxidants out there is called lycopene, which is the powerful pigment responsible for giving tomatoes their bright red color. According to several scientific studies, people who consume more tomato products have a reduced risk of developing prostate cancer, likely due to the powerful combination of lycopene, vitamin A, and vitamin C that occurs naturally in tomatoes.

While fresh tomatoes are relatively high in lycopene, the compound becomes more bioavailable as tomatoes are cooked, meaning your body can absorb more and take advantage of its anti-cancer properties. Why is this? Heat changes the structure of the lycopene molecule, making it easier for the body to take in, and helps break down cell walls, which frees lycopene and allows it to be absorbed.  A recent study found that men who ate cooked tomatoes five to six times per week had a 28% decreased risk of developing prostate cancer versus those who didn’t. Eating tomato products such as tomato sauce, tomato juice, tomato soup, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and salsa is a great way to ensure you are getting in plenty of cancer-fighting lycopene.

How exactly does lycopene exert its cancer-fighting powers? Scientists have proposed several possible methods, including stopping the growth of cancerous cells in the prostate, controlling proteins that suppress tumors, and preventing damage to DNA that can have lasting impacts on the body. While lycopene is powerful on its own, tomatoes contain other anti-carcinogenic compounds, like vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber. That’s why you’re better off getting lycopene from dietary sources like tomatoes, rather than from a supplement.  

In addition to cooking, adding a little bit of oil to your tomatoes can boost your ability to absorb lycopene even more. This is because lycopene is a fat-soluble compound, and the fat in oil helps lycopene get broken down to a form usable by the body. A serving of whole wheat pasta with tomato sauce and a side salad with olive oil and vinegar is the perfect prostate-cancer-preventing meal!

It’s so important for men to be aware of the most common conditions that can threaten health, both in Movember and beyond. Prostate cancer is a frightening possibility, but early detection and prevention is key in reducing your risk. Along with screenings and a healthy diet and exercise plan, incorporating cooked tomato products into your meals several times a week is an excellent way to make sure you are maximizing your dose of cancer-fighting lycopene.

To help raise awareness for Movember, we have partnered up with award-winning dietitian Sharon Palmer to host a giveaway to aid you on a plant-based diet journey. This giveaway features Sharon’s book, Plant-Powered for Life, which has 52 weeks’ worth of plant-based (vegan) recipes, as well as a cast iron skillet to cook all of your tomato-centric meals. The giveaway runs from November 9-23, so you can enter on our Instagram here.

 

 

In addition to the giveaway, we are also doing specialized merchandise this month to raise awareness. From shirts to tote bags, you’re sure to love our new Legalize Marinara merch. Get your SWAG today and help us rep Movember!

 

 

Don’t Call it a Come Back 😎

Don’t Call it a Come Back 😎

 

In the early days of the pandemic, it threw a shock to the food supply system.

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.

Black Eyed Pea Sweet Potato Chili

Black-Eyed Pea Sweet Potato Chili

A Nod to History

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.

Roasted Rosemary Potatoes and Tomatoes

Eat More Veggies!

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!

Classic Tomato Soup

 

Tune into Comfort Foods

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.

Best Chana Masala with Brown Rice

 

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:

  • Latin—Pico de Gallo—colorful blend of onion, peppers, and cilantro or

Tacos—Easy Tacos with Refried Beans and Corn Salsa

  • 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

Tomato Pesto Hummus

  • 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.

 

 

Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN, The Plant-Powered Dietitian

Photos by Sharon Palmer

 

 

 

Chipotle Tomato Rice POWER Bowl

Chipotle Tomato Rice POWER Bowl

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.

Yield: 4

Chipotle Tomato Rice POWER Bowl

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.

Ingredients

  • 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)
  • Toppings:
  • 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)*

Instructions

To make Chipotle Tomato Rice:

  1. Place olive oil in a medium pot and heat.
  2. Sauté onion and garlic in oil for 9 minutes.
  3. Add brown rice and toast it for 2 minutes, stirring.
  4. Add crushed tomatoes, water, bullion cube, chipotle seasoning, and salt (optional).
  5. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Serve immediately.
 
 
 
Tried and True Pantry Staples

Tried and True Pantry Staples

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.

A Nod to History

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.

 

Eat More Veggies!

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!

Tune into Comfort Foods

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:

  • Latin—Pico de Gallo—colorful blend of onion, peppers, and cilantro or Tacos—Easy Tacos with Refried Beans and Corn Salsa
  • 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.

Photos by Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN, The Plant-Powered Dietitian