Superfood Number Six

Today's superfood is tomatoes. As a child, actually even when I was 18, I hated tomatoes. I hated their texture; I hated their taste; I hated the slimly little seeds in them... but one summer's day at home in Cyprus, I finally tasted a roasted cherry tomato and it was love at first bite (maybe your tastebuds change when you turn 19)?! I'm still not so keen on the larger uncooked ones though.

Anyway! Enough about me! What makes tomatoes a superfood...

  • Tomatoes are the best source of a chemical called lycopene. This is a powerful antioxidant and can reduce your risk of atherosclerosis (remember learning about that in Biology at school?!), heart disease and stroke. It can also help to reduce the risk of cancer.
  • This Beta-Carotene substance is also great for helping your skin, especially against UV damage.
  • Tomatoes are full of Vitamin C, which we all know is great for boosting the immune system.
  • As well as Vitamin C, they are also high in Vitamins A (eye and hair health) and K, Potassium, Manganese and Chromium (great for regulating blood sugar levels).
  • This is rather obvious, but tomatoes contain no fat or cholesterol and are very low in calories and sugar (19 calories and 4g of sugar per 100g). Their high water content also means that they are a filling food.
  • It is believed by some that tomatoes are better for you, nutritionally, cooked than raw (great for me!) and can sometimes be more beneficial to buy (both nutritionally and price-wise) canned chopped and pureed tomatoes than fresh. This is because cooking them helps the body to access the beneficial compounds. As with carrots, adding a bit of oil/ fat makes the lycopene more absorbent to the body...
  • However, fresh tomatoes have been shown to reduce cholesterol so it's good to have a mixture of both raw, fresh tomatoes and readily prepared ones in your diet.
  • According to WHFoods, tomatoes have been shown to regulate fat levels in your blood system as well as improving bone health

Ontop of all of these benefits, tomatoes are so versatile; they can be eaten raw, chopped, pureed, roasted, grilled, stir-fried, stuffed and baked...

Below are some of my top recipes for tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes are nice enough to eat as a snack on their own though!

My 10 Minute Tomato Soup!

Everyone has a classic tomato soup recipe, right? Well here's mine. And it only takes 10 minutes to make!

You will need (for 1 person):

200g passata 
20g (a big squeeze) tomato puree
150ml water
160g frozen mixed veg (or there a bouts!) - peas, corn, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower etc.
Dash each tobasco, worcestershire sauce and sweet chilli sauce
Sprinkle each of oregano, basil, salt and pepper

Put all ingredients in a pan and stir together. Once boiling, simmer for 5 - 10 minutes.

It's as easy as that! Feel free to add other things in; why not add pasta or rice to make a minestrone style soup? I love mine with crushed ryvita and greek yogurt on top!


Healthy Spag Bol

Everyone also has a classic spaghetti bolognese recipe, passed down through generations; I won't bore you with mine but I'll give you my tips to making it a bit healthier! 

- I use quorn mince rather than beef/pork mince (less saturated fat). You could also use turkey mince as an alternative.
- I add A LOT of vegetables to both the bolognese and the spaghetti; as well as the typical onions and mushrooms, try adding carrots, peppers and peas to the mixture.
- As just mentioned, I have half the quantity of wholewheat spaghetti and mix in the same amount of julienned veg (courgette, cabbage and carrots all work well).



This French dish is perfect as a side or a main! 

You will need (for 2):

1 large aubergine 
1 large courgette
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
2 medium onions
2 crushed garlic cloves 
400g can chopped tomatoes 
200g passata
large handful of fresh basil 
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper

1. Prepare veg: chop peppers, aubergine and courgette into large chunks and slice onions. 
2. Sprinkle aubergine and courgette with salt and leave for 30 mins to get rid of excess moisture. Rinse.
3. Heat oil in a saucepan and add onions and garlic, sweating on a low heat for 5 mins.
4. Add the peppers, aubergine and courgette and cook on a medium heat for a further 5 minutes before adding the chopped tomatoes, passata, dried basil, sugar and seasoning.
5. Cover and cook on a peaking simmer for 15 minutes.

Serve topped with fresh basil and crusty bread.


Cypriot Aubergine Meze Dish

Fry very thin aubergine slices in a bit of olive oil before adding the tomato mixture (tomato puree, passata, worcestershire sauce, tobasco, oregano, basil, salt, pepper and a bit of sweet chilli sauce). Mix together and keep on heat for a further couple of minutes. Serve sprinkled with parmesan. 


Cypriot Bulgar Wheat Pilaf

Rinse bulgar wheat (or cous cous) in cold water and empty into a dish. Cover with boiling water (so it just covers it) and sprinkle with garlic powder, salt, pepper and mixed herbs. Cover with clingfilm and leave for 15 minutes until all of the water has soaked up and the bulgar wheat has the correct consistency. Meanwhile, cook a small handful of chopped spaghetti in boiling water for 8 minutes (you don't need to do this step but it is more traditional if you do)! When cooked, drain before mixing in with the bulgar wheat along with chopped tomatoes or passata, tomato puree, a bit of olive oil, basil and seasoning. I also added sweet chilli sauce, but then I add this to almost everything! Serve with greek yogurt. 


Seafood Spaghetti

As with the spaghetti bolognese mentioned above, I add in extra julienned veg (courgettes, carrots and cabbage again) to my spaghetti. Mix together some passata, tomato puree, worcestershire sauce, tabasco, oregano, basil, frozen mixed veg and seafood (prawns, salmon flakes, cod chunks etc). Cook on a medium heat for 10 minutes until all flavours have combined and a thick sauce has formed. Add in the cooked spaghetti and julienned veg and cook for a further few minutes. Simple!


Quick, Easy and Healthier Pizza

Toast some bread; cypriot bread and pitta bread both work great. You could also make your own flatbread, as I often do, by simply mixing together wholewheat flour with enough water to make it into a dough, roll it out on a floured surface then dry-fry it on a high heat until bubbles form on top. Turn it over and cook for a further 30 seconds on the other side.

Spread a tomato mixture (tomato purree, garlic powder and oregano) on top and top this with the toppings of your choice (cheese, ham, chicken, veg etc). Grill until the cheese has just melted and top with more oregano.


Salad, Of Course.

See my salad post here


Salmon in Homemade Tomato Sauce with Quinoa and Mixed Veg

See the recipe here.


Seafood Tomato Risotto

Follow my recipe for risotto here but replace the soy sauce and rice vinegar for passata, tomato puree, worcestershire sauce and tabasco. This dish also works better with salmon or prawns (or both!) rather than white fish.

For a thinner, more soupy consistency, add more passata.


Tomato and Roasted Veg Pasta

This one's pretty self-explanitory by the title; roast or stir-fry some veg (peppers, cherry tomatoes, onions and mushrooms); stir in to cooked pasta along with some passata and dried (or fresh if you have it) basil. My parents also add in chorizo to this dish sometimes; chicken or lountza would be great too though. 


Stuffed Chicken Wrapped In Filo

This is a healthier take on a chicken pie; simply spread a tomato mixture (I think I cheated here and just used salsa mix!) on to an uncooked, flattened out chicken breast. Top with basil before rolling up. Wrap in 3 layers of filo pastry, brushing a bit of oil on top, before cooking in a pre-heated GM6 oven for 35-40 minutes. Lovely served with roasted veg or salad. 


Cherry Tomato Finger Foods

See the post here.


Well, that's us at the halfway mark folks! Six down, six to go. You may have noticed I have not been doing 'one superfood a day' as I had originally planned but I've had other giveaways and reviews and such to do in between. It also takes an incredibly long amount of time to write up these posts with all of their facts and recipes!

Anyway, I'll do a little re-cap post once I'm finished all of the super foods in case you have missed any!

Are you a tomato lover? If so, have you always been?! What's your favourite type? And favourite recipe?

and have you followed me on facebook yet?! ;)

8 click here to leave your opinion :) :

  1. I love the aubergine dish. It's also tasty with added garlic!


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