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17 January, 2018

The Cheap Ingredient Pro Chefs “Rely On” for Healthy Weeknight Meals

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Tomatoes are the backbone of countless dishes; they can be layered with mozzarella cheese and fresh basil atop slices of Italian bread, stirred into a hearty winter stew, or cooked down into a rich pasta sauce. Because of the versatility of this pantry staple, chefs like to have plenty on hand no matter the season, reports MindBodyGreen.

“In the winter, supermarket tomatoes are a pale imitation of the real thing, so when the days are short and the weather is cold, chefs and culinary experts turn to canned tomatoes,” writes the health publication. “They’re great for making comforting, hearty winter dishes like stews and braises and can also be used in recipes calling for fresh tomatoes to bring that summer flavor to your table year-round.”

As far as favorite tomato-based weeknight recipes go, the publication recommends whipping up a shakshuka, bruschetta, pasta, soup, scrambled eggs, or a homemade pizza. Canned tomatoes can also be used to make marinara sauces or salsas, in addition to rich meat or pasta sauces.

Versatility aside, tomatoes could be considered a superfood in their own right, packing a host of vitamins and minerals including vitamin C; potassium; vitamin K1; folate; and antioxidants beta-carotene, naringenin, chlorogenic acid, and most importantly, lycopene. This powerful carotenoid is what gives ripened tomatoes their red color and has been said to aid in cancer prevention and heart and skin health.