Three Ways for Tomatoes with Olive Oil

It’s official!  Tomatoes decrease plasma cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL and a range of inflammatory markers – and adding olive oil only makes things even better!!

Researchers at the University of Barcelona carried out a ‘randomized controlled trial’ (RCT – a gold standard in research design) which looked specifically at the cardiovascular benefits of eating raw tomatoes, cooked tomatoes and tomato sauce cooked with olive oil.  They found that while all forms of tomato consumption had beneficial effects on cardiovascular risk, adding olive oil was particularly beneficial.  Happy days!

Pairing tomatoes with olive oil is a delicious and classic combination in Mediterranean cuisine – and the science is telling us that those folks know a thing or two!

By the way – please don’t fear good quality sea salt.  Your body needs salt, especially in these warmer months and much of what we’ve been taught about salt is now under scientific scrutiny.

And remember, the quantities of salt you use in your own kitchen are nothing like the vast quantities hidden in all processed foods – I’ll leave that thought with you!

Himalayan pink salt.

Here are three easy ways to enjoy the benefits yourself:

Classic Tomato Sauce

We’re just coming into the local and home-grown tomato season and there’s nothing better than a home-made tomato sauce made from a glut of ripe juicy tomatoes.  If you see tomatoes on offer, grab them – freeze them whole and then use for sauces, soups or add to casseroles during the winter months.

Our home-grown tomatoes rarely have the benefit of the long spells of Mediterranean sunshine to ripen, sweeten and bring out the full flavour, so I always add a little molasses or muscovado sugar – the rich taste pairs beautifully with tomatoes –  but you can leave it out if you prefer!

This recipe uses fresh tomatoes, but you could substitute a couple of cans of good quality tinned chopped tomatoes.

This go-to sauce freezes well and is great served over pasta, spiralized courgettes/squash, as pizza topping, or as a sauce for white fish.

What you’ll need:

Fresh, ripe tomatoes:  1.5 kg (roughly chopped)

Olive oil:  2 -4 tablespoons (to preference)

White onion: 120g (peeled & finely chopped weight)

Garlic: 1 fat clove (peeled and crushed)

Molasses/muscovado sugar: 1 – 2 teaspoons (optional)

Sea salt & ground black pepper to taste

Fresh basil leaves: big handful

Parmesan: Finely grated, to serve

What to do:

In a heavy based pan, over a medium heat, add the oil, onion and garlic and sprinkle with a little salt.

Sauté gently, over a low heat for 5 – 10 mins, until the onion softens and becomes translucent, taking care not to burn the garlic.

Add the chopped tomatoes and half the basil leaves, season to taste, stir well and bring up to a simmer.  Cover and let simmer over very low heat for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is reduced to a thick consistency.

Let cool a little (be careful, hot tomatoes are… hot!) and use a stick blender, or transfer to a food processor to whizz up the mixture to your preferred texture.

Before serving, tear over the remaining basil leaves and sprinkle with grated parmesan!

 

Olive Oil, Marinated Tomato, Red Onion Salad

red onionsA Mediterranean classic to serve with grilled meat, fish, omelettes, or to top a dressed mixed leaf salad.

What you’ll need:

Ripe tomatoes: 1 per person (or more)

Red onion: peeled and very finely sliced

Sea salt: To taste

Ground black pepper: To taste

Olive oil: to drizzle

Optional: Herbs of choice (shredded basil, finely chopped parsley, coriander, oregano)

What to do:

Bring the tomatoes to room temperature and with a sharp knife, cut around the core of each tomato, in a cone shape, to remove it.

Cut each tomato horizontally into rounds, about the thickness of a pound coin.

Arrange the tomatoes and red onion slices on a flat, wide serving plate.

Sprinkle over the sea salt, ground black pepper and drizzle over generously with olive oil.

Cover and leave at room temperature for at least 30 mins, before sprinkling with your choice of herbs (if using).

Serve and enjoy – and make sure to mop up the delicious juices!

 

Grilled Tomatoes with Oregano & Olive Oil

A healthy herby helper to serve with your breakfast eggs or with grilled fish.

What you’ll need:

Ripe tomatoes: 1 per person (or more)

Oregano:  Fresh (finely chopped) or dried – to taste

Sea salt: To taste

Ground black pepper: To taste

Olive oil: to drizzle

What to do:

Preheat your grill to high.

With a sharp knife, cut around the core of each tomato, in a cone shape, to remove it.

Cut each tomato horizontally into thick rounds and place them in a single layer on a lightly oiled oven tray.

Sprinkle each round with a little oregano, sea salt, ground black pepper and drizzle over generously with olive oil.

Place under the grill for a few minutes, until the tomatoes sizzle.

Serve… and enjoy!

 

Izabella Natrins

I'm here to inspire and support women at midlife and beyond to re-ignite purpose and meaning to take back control of their health and create the radical, resilient heath they want and deserve. As a whole-health expert with over 30 years experience in the field, a qualified Health and Wellness Coach and Ballymaloe-trained nutritional chef, my real food nutrition and lifestyle medicine programmes support women fighting fatigue, struggling with overwhelm, weight gain, sleep, energy and niggling or multiple diagnosed health issues. As an advocate for real food nutrition, regenerative agriculture and whole-health, my book 'The Real Food Solution' is an evidence-based treasury wisdom for energy, vitality and better health for people and planet and a call to action to change the way we grown, source and cook our food. As the CEO at The UK Health Coaches Association, I'm proud to continue the task of leading the first professional association for Health and Wellness Coaches in the world and the gold standard for the UK and Ireland.

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