How to make sun dried tomatoes

How to make sun dried tomatoes

Pomodori secchi sott’olio, the Italian phrase for “sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil,” is an easy and classic recipe for reconstituting sun-dried tomatoes for easy use. In the southern Italian regions of Puglia and Calabria, these tomatoes hydrated in oil are usually used in antipasti, or as a snack on crusty bread. Added to panini, salads, bruschetta, pasta dishes, pizza, crostini, or the tasty friselle—a hard bread that resembles a bagel half—these versatile tomatoes are great to have at hand and can brighten many dishes in your weekly menu.

Use these tomatoes to substitute for fresh tomatoes in sandwiches to avoid your bread becoming soggy; mix them with cream cheese for a quick and tasty dip; or make a pesto sauce to have ready in your fridge for those busy nights when you’re short on time to make dinner. Top grilled chicken with tomatoes, or make a sun-dried tomato sauce to cover white fish fillets.

Because the recipe has very few ingredients, be sure you have good quality sun-dried tomatoes—organic is preferable—and a good quality extra virgin olive oil as the oil infuses the tomatoes with flavor, so the better the quality the better taste they’ll have. Although the classic recipe doesn’t use anything but tomatoes and olive oil, some modern takes add herbs, garlic, capers, or olives. You can use your favorite optional ingredients or skip them altogether, the result will be fantastic regardless. This isn’t a canning recipe, but you’ll need a big glass jar with a tightly sealing lid of about 20 ounces in capacity.

Sun dried tomatoes have most of their moisture removed through a days-long drying process. This makes their skin thicker, which helps to stop bacteria and microorganisms from spoiling the fruit. The drying also slows down the natural enzymes that make fruit turn mushy.

Besides extending their shelf-life, sun-drying tomatoes also concentrates their flavor, making them even more delicious.

Health Benefits

Sun dried tomatoes are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They have a particularly high concentration of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant.

There has been a lot of interest in lycopene’s potential benefits as an antioxidant. Some early research shows it may help protect your skin from the sun. Other studies show that lycopene may lower the risk of certain cancers, including esophageal and pancreatic cancer. More research is needed to better understand these potential benefits.

When it comes to getting the biggest lycopene bang for your buck, the best option is sun dried tomatoes. This is due to bioavailability. Bioavailability is the amount of a substance that can enter your circulation and have an active effect. Sun dried tomatoes have a higher bioavailability of lycopene than fresh or canned tomatoes.

Some other health benefits of sun dried tomatoes include:

Immune System Support

Sun dried tomatoes are packed with Vitamin C. While Vitamin C isn’t a cure for the common cold, there is good evidence that it may help prevent serious complications caused by colds. This includes complications caused by pneumonia and lung infections.

Vitamin C has also been shown to be good for people whose immune systems have been weakened due to stress. Your vitamin C levels can drop quickly in times of stress, especially for individuals who smoke, drink heavily, or are obese. Taking in enough to replace what’s been lost is important for staying healthy.

Digestive Health

Just 100 grams of sun dried tomatoes has more than 40% of your daily recommended intake of dietary fiber. While both soluble (dissolves in water) and insoluble (does not dissolve in water) fiber is present in sun dried tomatoes, the majority is insoluble. This makes sun dried tomatoes a good choice for helping with constipation.

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Nutrition

Sun dried tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene, which may help reduce the risk of some health conditions like certain cancers and age-related macular degeneration.

Sun dried tomatoes are also a good source of:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Niacin
  • Manganese
  • Potassium
  • Copper

Nutrients per serving

Every 100 grams of sun dried tomatoes contains approximately:

  • Calories: 258
  • Protein: 14 grams
  • Fat: 3 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 56 grams
  • Fiber: 12 grams
  • Sugar: 38 grams

Portion Sizes

It’s important to remember that the nutrients in sun dried tomatoes are concentrated by the drying process. This means there are more calories and more sugar per gram in sun dried tomatoes than there are in fresh tomatoes. Many store-bought sun dried tomatoes are also treated with salt prior to drying, giving them a higher sodium content.

Keeping your intake to 100 grams or less per day will prevent you from taking in too much sugar and salt, while keeping your calorie intake low as well.

How to Use Sun Dried Tomatoes

One of the best things about sun dried tomatoes is how many foods they pair well with. Pasta, sandwiches, dips/spreads, and pizza all benefit immensely from their chewy, slightly sweet, and tangy qualities.

Many recipes recommend rehydrating sun dried tomatoes prior to cooking. Sun dried tomatoes can be rehydrated by simply letting them sit in warm water for roughly two hours in a covered dish. If you’re in a time crunch, you can instead douse them in boiling water, then let them sit in that water for about 5 minutes.

Here are a few easy ideas for cooking with sun dried tomatoes:

  • On a pizza, paired with basil and thyme
  • Blended with cheese, garlic, and pumpkin seeds to create a vegetable dip
  • Simmered in vegetable broth with olives to make a delicious pasta sauce

Sources

Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies: Nutritional Characterization of Tomato Fiber as a Useful Ingredient for Food Industry

Journal of Science of Food and Agriculture: Lycopene Content and Antioxidant Activity of Fresh and Processed Tomatoes and in Vitro Bioavailability of Lycopene

Mediterranean Chicken with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Artichokes, and Capers – a one skillet recipe. Easy to make, 30 minutes from start to finish! You’ll love the play of flavors in this dish.

How to make sun dried tomatoes

One of the main reasons I love Mediterranean cuisine is, of course, my passion for pasta, but in this case it’s not about pasta. It’s all about the chicken. With lots of vegetables and olive oil.

How to make sun dried tomatoes

Cooking Tips:

  • In this recipe, I use thinly sliced boneless and skinless chicken breasts. If you have large chicken breasts, you can slice each one of them lengthwise in half to make them thinner.
  • I used roasted artichoke hearts in olive oil. I also used sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, too. In this case, I didn’t even drain them to get rid of excess oil, because the more olive oil in this recipe, the better. If you use artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes that are not in a jar with olive oil, definitely add extra olive oil, if you wish.

It’s always a challenge not to overcook chicken breasts, and in this Mediterranean-style recipe your chicken will be moist, tender, and very flavorful!

How to make sun dried tomatoes

Other Mediterranean recipes:

  • Italian Ravioli with Spinach, Artichokes, Capers, Sun-Dried Tomatoes
  • Basil Pesto Chicken, Tortellini, and Veggies

How to make sun dried tomatoes

How to make Mediterranean chicken:

1) First, season the chicken with salt and pepper and coat with flour.

2) Next, sear the chicken in olive oil for about 4 minutes on each side.

How to make sun dried tomatoes

3) Then, remove the chicken from the skillet. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, and capers with lemon juice and extra olive oil to the skillet and stir together.

4) Add the chicken back and cook for about 5-10 more minutes until the chicken is completely cooked through and no longer pink in the center.

Your Mediterranean chicken is ready! Yes, in 30 minutes! Easy, no fuss dinner that tastes good and looks good. I used gluten free flour for coating the chicken which makes this recipe gluten free!

How to make sun dried tomatoes

Other Mediterranean-style chicken recipes:

If you enjoyed this Mediterranean chicken, check out some of my other recipes similar to this one:

The star of this big, juicy Pasta Salad is the dressing – it’s made using the flavour infused oil from the Sun Dried Tomatoes. Never throw away free flavour – especially when it’s this good! Quick to make and a big crowd pleaser, this can be as diverse as you want it to be!

How to make sun dried tomatoes

According to Google, there are 433 million results when you’re searching for a Pasta Salad.

So what makes this one different?

A MUST-TRY PASTA SALAD DRESSING

It’s the Dressing. 🙂 It’s a vinaigrette, and it’s made using the oil from the jar of sun dried tomatoes. And it’s not only infused with sun dried tomato flavour, it’s got a bunch of other flavourings as well, all things we love – garlic, herbs, sugar, salad and pepper.

So I use the flavour infused oil from the jar as the base for the Pasta Salad Dressing, then add other usual suspects – vinegar, garlic, mustard – plus a healthy dose of dried herbs.

There will always be a place in my heart for creamy dressings like this Chicken Pasta Salad, but there’s no denying that I find pasta salads tossed with vinaigrettes more appealing. They’re just fresher and lighter, and it means I can enjoy them day after day and not feel weighed down / guilty about excess mayo consumption.

How to make sun dried tomatoes

WHAT INGREDIENTS GO IN A PASTA SALAD??

In this pasta salad, we’ve got cooked pasta, chicken, sun dried tomato, baby spinach, tomatoes and onion with a pasta salad dressing. But as with most pasta salad recipes, this is adaptable to what you’ve got on hand or whatever you want to put in it!

This is a particularly great pasta salad for taking somewhere or making ahead because it keeps exceptionally well.

I know you hear that often – that pasta salads keep well. But in this case, it really does – because it’s light on fresh veggies. Just tomatoes and baby spinach which does wilt once dressed but then seemingly becomes more integrated into the pasta salad, rather than being off-puttingly limp like when it’s in a normal salad.

I’m probably doing myself a major disservice here by saying that it’s light on fresh veggies, it doesn’t make it sound very summery, does it? 🙂

But actually, this is a terrific year round pasta salad because it’s lovely served warm too. Try it! – Nagi x

How to make sun dried tomatoes

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A 12 minute, no cook, giant Couscous Salad with sun dried tomato, feta, rocket (arugula), herbs and the nutty tastiness of chickpeas. My shortcut-flavour tip is to use the oil from the sun dried tomato jar as the dressing – free flavour!

How to make sun dried tomatoes

A really quick Couscous Salad

This is a 12 minute meal. It’s also a no cook meal. Which means no matter how hot, how tired and how hangry you are (no typo there), or even if you’ve been cooking non stop all day since 7 am, up to your elbows in batter and pasta sauces (🙋🏻‍♀️), you can still muster up the energy for a seriously tasty bowl of deliciousness that requires minimal effort.

Of course, this is perfect to serve as a side as well. This would be ideal served with Western meals but especially Middle Eastern dishes such as:

But because it’s got pops of quite intense flavour thanks to the sun dried tomato and feta, it’s certainly worthy of being a meal.

How to make sun dried tomatoes

Sun Dried Tomato Dressing

Speaking of sun dried tomato – this is your secret weapon for this Couscous Salad. Be sure to get the strips (to save yourself slippery oily chopping, yep, been there, done that) and be absolutely sure to get sun dried tomato in oil, not the dry vac packed version, because all that oil is infused with tasty sun dried tomato flavour and that’s what I use to dress the salad.

There is something very satisfying about tipping the entire jar of sun dried tomatoes, oil and all, over the salad. Draining oil is messy business!

How to make sun dried tomatoes

I add chickpeas for texture and also nuttiness which means I don’t feel the need to throw in a handful of nuts, though that certainly wouldn’t hurt.

You’ll also be surprised how much rocket (arugula) is in this. It looks like a vast volume until you hack away at it – I like to chop it very roughly so it tosses through better.

It also means you can eat this with a spoon. In a bowl. On the couch. Never having to take your eyes off the TV as you scoop up mouthful after mouthful, binge watching Real Housewives, The Kardashians, Project Runway or other such highly intellectual show.

Every time they happen to be on when I turn the TV on, it’s like a train wreck and I can’t look away. And I can feel my brain cells popping with every passing minute… 🤣 – Nagi x

MORE SUMMER SALADS to take to gatherings

How to make sun dried tomatoes

How to make sun dried tomatoes

Couscous Salad
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT

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This creamy garlic Tuscan shrimp recipe with sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, and basil is rich, decadent, and ready in about 15 minutes! Great served over pasta or mashed potatoes.

How to make sun dried tomatoes

This creamy Tuscan shrimp recipe is one of those dinners that make it seem like you tried really hard, but the time involved makes it perfect for weeknights. 😉

This Shrimp Florentine recipe is super easy, quick, and really tasty. The classic flavors of sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, and basil are the perfect bright contrast to the cream, and it all just goes well together. And there’s plenty of garlic.

How to make sun dried tomatoes

Recipe notes & tips:

  • I used 31-40 count size shrimp in this Tuscan garlic butter shrimp recipe. Technically these are considered large shrimp, but to me they’re more of a medium size really, when compared to some of the REALLY large shrimp out there. Anyway, any medium-to-large shrimp would work.
  • I prefer using raw shrimp in 99% of recipes (including this one) because they cook very fast and double cooking them can lead to rubbery overcooked shrimp.
  • I don’t take the tails off the shrimp (mostly for the photos to add some contrast), but feel free to take them off if you prefer.
  • I don’t recommend subbing the cream for something like half-and-half of milk since the sauce may curdle and it’ll end up thinner (you’d have to add more flour for the sauce to thicken properly).

If you love this Tuscan flavor combo, you’re in luck because I have more similar recipes on the blog: try my Creamy Tuscan Salmon Recipe, this Creamy Tuscan Chicken, or my Creamy Tuscan Sausage Gnocchi.

How to make sun dried tomatoes

Tomato season is what we train for. We dream about it all year. Ok, we’re obsessed. Nothing compares to the sweet and tart juiciness of fresh, seasonal tomatoes. Here are totally amazing ways to use up all those summer tomatoes before the season ends. Get on it.

Still daydreaming? We don’t blame you. Check out our tomato salads and recipes for zucchini and sweet corn.

How to make sun dried tomatoes

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