As the weather turns cooler and we spend more time cozied up indoors, we often turn to our pantry to see what simple recipe we can whip up for a weeknight dinner. From pureed to chopped to strained, tomatoes are something I always have on hand as they can be used in endless ways. Here are six recipes you can make with a humble can of tomatoes.
Shakshuka is a tomato-based dish that consists of poaching eggs in a spicy sauce. You can make it in 30 minutes with just a few simple ingredients. Start by sautéing garlic, diced onion and sliced red bell pepper in olive oil. Add your chopped tomatoes, paprika, cumin and chili powder. Let simmer for 10 minutes before cracking in the eggs. Cover with lid and poach the eggs until the whites are cooked, but yolk is soft. Garnish with crumbled feta cheese and fresh parsley.
Have a can of tomatoes and ground meat in the freezer? Grab yourself some fresh buns and make sloppy Joes! A childhood favourite of mine, sloppy Joes consist of simmering together ground meat — beef, pork, chicken or turkey — as well as tomato sauce, onion, garlic, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce. You can sneak in a few extra veggies if you’d like too. Serve the mixture on a bun.
White Bean and Tomato Stew
This stew consists of simmering white beans in tomato sauce, along with chicken stock, garlic, onion, celery, thyme and red pepper flakes. It is loaded with flavour and can be served a number of ways: over steamed rice, on sourdough toast or with pasta simmered right into the stew. Serve with lots of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
One of the most popular uses for canned tomatoes is homemade pizza sauce. We make a lot of pizza at home — and I prefer homemade sauce to the store-bought option, as you can control the flavours. It is so easy to make and requires no heating. Just stir together the tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. You’ll be wondering why you didn’t always make your own sauce.
Almost as easy as pizza sauce, you can turn a can of tomatoes into fresh restaurant style salsa. To a food processor: add tomatoes, green pepper (optional), fresh cilantro, onion, jalapeno, lime juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Pulse until the salsa is as smooth or chunky as you prefer. Open a bag of tortilla chips and dip, dip, dip away!
The perfect hearty meal on a brisk fall or snowy winter day is — hands down — chili! You can add pretty much anything you like, be it lots of vegetables or just beans, ground meat, tomatoes and spices (chili powder, paprika, cumin and coriander). I like to include onions, celery, carrots and red and green peppers in my classic chili recipe.
Want to cook with more pantry staples? Here is one humble can of chickpeas, six different ways and one can of black beans, six ways.