Canned Tomato Recipes That Go Far Beyond Sauce
Grab a can! This pantry staple stars in everything from tikka masala to tomato soup and baked eggs. These inspired recipes will have you rethinking how you use canned tomatoes from here on out.
While we would never say no to a perfect summer tomato, canned tomatoes can't be beat when it comes to some recipes. Packed at their peak freshness, canned tomatoes lock in flavor right off the vine. Whether it's tomato season or the dead of winter, opening up a can of tomatoes means you're going to enjoy the quintessential sunny brightness, tang of acidity, and slightly fruity sweetness that's the hallmark of this beloved fruit. That's just one of the many reasons why canned tomatoes are one of our favorite pantry staples.
There isn't just one variety of canned tomatoes. You might notice that the test kitchen's favorite cans to keep stocked in the kitchen are whole peeled tomatoes, which have the freshest flavor, and rich, full flavored tomato paste, which has a hint of natural MSG. We prefer to buy tomato paste in a tube, and that's because it lasts longer in a tube than it does in cans. Are cans all you have at home? Stretch the life of yours by trying this tomato paste saver technique. Other types of canned tomatoes—including crushed, purée, and tomato sauce—all have their place in certain dishes. Diced tomatoes do, too—they're perfect for chunky soups and stews since they retain their texture.
As the backbone of many meals, canned tomatoes can be used in so much more than just pasta sauce and Italian food. Although we have included recipes for some of these classics with exciting twists, like spaghetti with eggplant meatballs, unexpected dishes like Indian tikka masala, Hungarian chicken paprikash, and Greek-inspired shrimp with tomatoes, spinach, and rice are just three examples of how canned tomatoes span different cuisines. Soup, stew (like the Smoky Salmon-and-Potato Stew shown here), and baked egg recipes are other great recipes that will help you transform your diced tomatoes into hearty meals.
Sound good to you? Then get out the can opener and get these recipes on your table.
Homemade Tomato Soup
Watch Sarah Carey, our editorial director of food, make a simple and delicious tomato soup that's based on a can of tomatoes.
Spaghetti and Eggplant Meatballs
Cornbread and Chili Pie
For a quick chili that tastes like it's been cooked for hours, the rich, concentrated flavor of tomato paste combined with the fresh notes of canned whole peeled tomatoes just can't be beat. Add the cornbread topping and it's a complete meal in one skillet.
Chilaquiles Egg Bake
Add a little heat to this Mexican-inspired egg bake by starting with canned diced tomatoes with chiles. Our favorite brand, Rotel, comes in varying heat levels, but we suggest sticking with mild unless your seasoned with spice.
Healthy Chicken Tikka Masala
A favorite order at Indian restaurants across America, tikka masala can be made at home. Yogurt and tomatoes create an irresistible tangy and slight sweet sauce that is signature for this dish.
Classic Margherita Pizza
A can of whole peeled tomatoes in the pantry means no-cook pizza sauce in just three ingredients and five minutes. This leaves plenty of time to focus on making the perfect dough. Make it a pizza party! This Pizza Diavolo recipe uses the same sauce and dough, so all you have to do is add the topping ingredients to your shopping list.
Classic Beef Stew
A can of fire roasted tomatoes contribute smoky, caramelized flavors to this hearty, deeply warming comfort food. Some dishes, like this beef stew, are worth taking the time for. The slow cooking allows rich flavors to develop and makes for tender meat.
Test Kitchen's Favorite Tomato Soup
Comforting and made mostly from pantry ingredients, this tomato soup is the perfect recipe for a quick and easy meal. Butter and flour rather than dairy lend a rich, creamy texture to the soup while basil adds a pop of freshness. The only thing that could make this better is a grilled cheese on the side.
Gingery Tomato Basil Sauce
This no-cook condiment perks up canned whole peeled tomatoes with white balsamic vinegar, ginger, and fresh basil, resulting in the freshest tomato flavor you can get from a can. The sauce has endless possibilities—start by spooning it over baked salmon, pan-seared shrimp, or roasted vegetables. You can also try it on any of your favorite dishes.
Chili Stuffed Peppers
Combine canned tomatoes with another pantry staple, harissa paste, to add a Moroccan flair to stuffed peppers. The silky smooth tomato sauce perfectly coats the chili stuffed peppers for this dish.
Vegan Lentil Soup
A tasty soup is all about layering flavors. In this recipe, aromatics, spices, lentils, and crushed tomatoes develop a rich broth that starts with just water. Fresh broccoli rabe and vinegar enlivens the flavors before serving.
Canned diced tomatoes and paprika lend a bright red color and balance the creamy richness in this take on the classic Hungarian paprikash sauce. Try hot paprika rather than sweet for a touch of heat.
Lamb and Rice Stuffed Cabbage
Combine tomato sauce with a touch of lemon and sugar for the perfect sauce for stuffed cabbage. This recipe uses ground lamb, but it is equally delicious with ground beef or turkey.
Shrimp with Tomatoes, Spinach, and Rice
Between the freezer and pantry, it's possible to cook this dish on a whim without a trip to the store. And here's a pro tip: Cutting whole peeled tomatoes in the can with scissors is a great way to coarsely chop them without making a mess. Use it in this recipe and others!
Kale White Bean and Farro Soup
Here is a dish that uses a few pantry staples, including canned beans and canned tomatoes, farro, and some basic vegetables that you probably have in the refrigerator. The canned diced tomatoes contribute to the chunky texture and add bright acidity to each spoonful.