Bring the quaint flavors or Europe to your kitchen with this recipe for ratatouille! This is a classic dish that is loaded with summer garden vegetables and lots of flavor. This stew originated in the Provence region of France near the Mediterranean Sea, and is a delicious entree enjoyed during any time of year.
While there are many variations, the main star is tomatoes. Traditionally, ratatouille is made by cooking the tomatoes all day on the stove, but this recipe turns to canned tomatoes to create a delicious meal in less time and with less fuss.
This dish is not only delicious, but it’s also teeming with nutrition, as it’s naturally low in fat and high in antioxidants. Eggplant and zucchini are high in vitamin A, and diced tomatoes contain lycopene. Lycopene is a carotenoid that gives tomatoes their red color, and has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. It also has the ability to neutralize free radicals within the body to prevent oxidative stress, which helps prevent damage to our cells and our DNA. 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.
Go ahead and make a pot of Ratatouille, get a fresh loaf of French bread, and enjoy an evening in France without leaving the comforts of your own home!
For other delicious tomato-based recipes, check out some of our favorites:
½ cup olive oil
1 large eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 zucchinis, cut into 1-inch cubes
salt and pepper, to taste
1 large yellow onion, ½-inch dice
3 bell peppers, any color cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
4 cups drained canned USA chopped tomatoes
4 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tsp. herbs de provence
½ cup drained non-pareil capers
- Heat a dutch oven over high heat then pour in the olive oil. Add in the eggplant and zucchini and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to brown, about 5 minutes.
- Mix in the onions, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes then add in the tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaf, thyme, herbs de provence, and capers. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring the sauce to a boil, then lower the heat so that it is simmering. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Remove the dutch oven from the heat and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Enjoy!
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Soup’s up! There’s nothing quite like a comforting bowl of tomato soup to warm your soul during the cooler months. That’s why this recipe for Creamy Tomato Soup with Popcorn 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 pantry (such as diced tomatoes, vegetable broth, honey, and EVOO), making it a healthful, easy recipe to whip up on any weeknight. Plus, tossing a handful of popcorn on top makes for a smile-inducing experience. Serve it with a simple sandwich or a hearty salad, or even enjoy on it’s own. The sky is the limit!
Thanks to the reduced sodium diced tomatoes, this recipe is lower in sodium than the typical canned kind, which makes it a heart healthy option. And, since canned tomato products are rich in lycopene, they also contribute 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 Soup! Your heart, soul, and taste buds will thank you.
Get the full recipe for Creamy Tomato Soup with Popcorn from Ellie Krieger, RDN.
Looking for an easy appetizer that’s bursting with flavor? Try these Baked Chicken Wings with Tomato, Ginger, and Sweet Onion Chutney for a unique take on the classic chicken wing. This recipe for baked chicken wings couldn’t be simpler and makes a perfect game day appetizer or party snack that’s sure to please everyone. Simple ingredients like garlic, sugar, vinegar, and tomatoes make it easy to prepare this Indian-inspired dish without breaking your budget or needing to buy any fancy products. Plus, this recipe makes some extra sauce that you can save for another meal. Try using it as a topping for grilled pork or baked fish for an easy protein-packed dinner.
The bright flavor of canned diced tomatoes forms the base for a tasty sweet and sour sauce, while providing plenty of nutrients. Canned tomatoes are especially high in lycopene, a compound that gives them their characteristic red color and has powerful antioxidant properties. Although further evidence-based studies need to be conducted to confirm the impact of lycopene and tomato intake, we know that tomato products can reduce the risk of certain diseases. Canned, cooked, and fresh tomatoes all contain lycopene, which has been shown to improve overall health. In addition to lycopene, tomatoes are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, potassium, iron, and other antioxidants. These nutrients are critical for both short and long term health, so it’s important to incorporate tomato products into your meals.
For the full recipe, visit our friends at Pacific Coast Producers.
If you’re looking for other delicious recipes, check out some of our favorites:
Easy Chicken Curry
Swiss Chard Pecan Lasagna
Pizza Stuffed Chicken