Healthy Ingredient of the Week – Tomatoes

Tomatoes are technically a fruit, but we often think of them as a vegetable due to their savory taste.  Most vegetables lose some of their nutrient content when they’re cooked, but tomatoes are unique in that the process of cooking actually makes them more nutritious.  Cooking tomatoes increases the amount of lycopene (a powerful antioxidant) that can be absorbed by the body.  A Cornell University study showed that lycopene levels were highest after 15 minutes of cooking.  Both of these recipes involve cooking tomatoes, which means you’ll be getting a good dose of lycopene, as well as Vitamins A and C and fiber.

Rustic Tomato and Vegetable Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic
2 medium onions, sliced
2 medium carrots, grated
1 medium zucchini, grated
2 28-ounce cans low-sodium diced tomatoes in juice
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons sugar

1.  Put olive oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat.
2.  Add garlic and onions and sauté until translucent.
3.  Add grated carrots and zucchini and cook for 5 minutes.
4.  Add diced tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5.  Add salt and pepper, then sugar. Serve immediately. Serves four.

From the publication Vitality Magazine.  February 6, 2006.


1/4 cup olive oil, plus more as needed
1 1/2 cups small diced yellow onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cups medium diced eggplant, skin on
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 cup diced green bell peppers
1 cup diced red bell peppers
1 cup diced zucchini squash
1 cup diced yellow squash
1 1/2 cups peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1.  Set a large 12-inch saute pan over medium heat and add the olive oil.
2.  Once hot, add the onions and garlic to the pan.
3.  Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until they are wilted and lightly caramelized, about 5 to 7 minutes.
4.  Add the eggplant and thyme to the pan and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is partially cooked, about 5 minutes.
5.  Add the green and red peppers, zucchini, and squash and continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes.
6.  Add the tomatoes, basil, parsley, and salt and pepper, to taste, and cook for a final 5 minutes.
7.  Stir well to blend and serve either hot or at room temperature.

Recipe from Food Network

One response

  1. […] – like previous Healthy Ingredients zucchini and tomatoes, is actually a fruit.  However, eggplant is mainly known for its presence in savory recipes like […]

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