OK, you’re fully stocked and ready to get cooking. You can’t throw your partner out the window while your whole family is home, nor can you give away the roommate’s yippy dog. But you can make something delicious with that can of tomatoes you salvaged from the store. Good on you for snagging one.
The road to good comfort food is paved with good-quality canned tomatoes, along with yummy, creamy staples like coconut milk, hearty starches like pasta and beans, and fridge stalwarts like eggs and tofu. Honestly, what can’t you make with a can of tomatoes? Here are a few of our favorite ways to employ these beauties. Get cracking (and enjoy how many fewer dishes they produce than their juicy, super-messy fresh counterparts!)
The North African dish of shakshuka has become more and more popular around the world in the last few years. It is perhaps the ultimate brunch dish, with a beautiful presentation and easy serving options. (Just provide a big spoon and crusty bread and let guests help themselves!) Key to this recipe’s success are unexpected elements like fennel and anchovies.
Ah, polenta and tomatoes. Since the former comprises coarsely ground corn, it’s of course an ideal foil for tomatoes. (Just think: Summer barbecues and fresh corn-tomato salads!) Polenta can be silky when you cook it right. Here it comes accented with briny black olives, fresh rosemary and parsley and fat pork sausages.
Though you’ll see variations on this simple recipe all over the internet, ours is an excellent starting point for anyone starting to suss out how much garlic or heat she can handle. Consider tweaking the amount of garlic cloves or hot pepper flakes after you’ve made it a few times. Be sure to use the best-quality canned tomatoes you can find (or, er, whatever you bought during your last dash to the supermarket!)
Roasted red peppers, tomato paste and a chili in adobo sauce add an umami boom to this soup. It’s ready in less than an hour, it’s vegetarian and vegan, and it takes well to any sort of bread you have kicking around. And look how beautiful it is.
Cooking chicken in its own stock, plus tomatoes, is the clutch move behind this dreamboat. A whole cut-up chicken takes kindly to a bath in white wine, broth and tomatoes. Flavor-packed heavy hitters like capers, onion and garlic make welcome cameos, too.
Some of us always have multiple packs of sausage in the freezer, and canned and dried cannellini beans ready to go. They play so nicely together. This recipe showcases why they’re such a tasty match. Add tomatoes and hot pepper flakes, and you’re in no-work, fuss-free supper heaven. (Extra-hungry? Break out hunks of bread to serve on the side!)
Some people turn up their noses at the idea of beans being the centerpiece of a meal. For those people, there is this double-protein double-whammy, which tastes as good as it looks. If you have fire-roasted tomatoes, smoky and sultry, now is the time to break them out. Pancetta and fresh rosemary will make you think you’re brunching in Italy. Of course, you can sub in regular bacon for the pancetta if that’s what you have on hand.
Happen to have tuna steaks? Good on you. The fish is delightful with garlic, basil and tomato in this recipe. Cured black olives and plenty of capers add a pleasantly piquant note. Fresh tomatoes, if you’ve got ’em, add brightness.
Don’t forget that tomatoes are an excellent way to sneak yourself even more vegetables, as in these Cuban-style eggs, which mask a whole bell pepper, pimientos and onion. As delicious as they are elegant in presentation, they’re brightened and made interesting thanks to a drizzle of Sherry.
What’s more comforting than pizza? (We’ll wait!) Classic for a reason, this margherita recipe is what you need. The sauce is blissfully simple; you just need a food processor. Make the dough in one of two easy ways. Break out the good mozzarella (or pre-shredded; whatever you’ve got). Pop in the oven. A salve for frazzled nerves is on its way.
Soup doesn’t require multiple hours to taste good. This smoky black bean soup is a testament to that fact. Most black bean soups worth their salt (get it?) will include tomatoes. They lend brightness and freshness to dense beans. This soup is plenty hearty thanks to the addition of smoked sausages, but you could leave them out, sub veggie broth for chicken, and have a vegetarian knockout on your hands.