Sun-dried tomato spread

This sun-dried tomato spread is perfect as spread on bread, with pasta, on pizza, well the list might go on and on.

Nothing like tomatoes makes you think of pasta, pizza, a fresh salad or in general to Italian and Mediterranean cooking. So would like to have a tomato recipe you can make in no time, keep in the fridge forever and use every time you want a treat? Well this sun-dried tomato spread recipe is exactly that! The full essence of tomatoes.

I love tomatoes, and this is a great sauce to keep in the fridge to whip up a meal in no time. Only few ingredients but a really amazing taste!

Sun-dried tomato paste

Sun-dried tomato spread: health benefits

As we already know tomatoes are very important for our health because of their lycopene content. Howefer not many people know that the skin of the tomato contains five times more lycopene than he pulp, and that when raw, the lycopene is not so bioavailable as it is after cooking.

There are three key aspects of tomatoes everyone should know:

  1. The lycopene is fat-soluble meaning its more easily absorbed by the body when dissolved in fat (such as extra virgin olive oil)
  2. The heat transform the structure of the lycopene and allows for a quick absorption by the body
  3. Eat the tomato with skin-on to get five times the quantity of lycopene.

Even though sun-dried tomatoes are not cooked, they are kept in the scorching sun for days until dried, the eat helps increase the lycopene, content and since they shrink a lot and are concentrated, the quantity of nutrients skyrockets. This is the perfect example of a little goes a long way.

Take a look at some numbers, below you can find the comparison between 1oz of cooked, sun-dried and raw tomatoes:

NutrientSun-dried (1oz)Cooked (1oz)Raw (1oz)
Lycopene (mcg)13013.2862.1729.4
Carotene (mcg)148.683.1127.4
Vitamin A (IU)247.8138.6236.2
Potassium, K (mg)971.661.867.2

There are only few of the many nutrients found in tomatoes and as you can see, many of those are really high in just 1 ounce of sun-dried tomatoes.

Sun-dried tomato spread: ingredients

To make this amazing sauce you can play with quantities depending on your taste. I’ll give a basic recipe but you can adjust it to your taste. The recipe below fills about a 350ml jar.

  • 100gr of sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 tbs of salted capers
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 60ml of extra virgin olive oil
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper

I usually use the salt of the capers to season the spread, however taste it and adjust saltiness to your taste. – I’m lucky I can buy capers that are grown at the base of the Etna and are seasoned with Sicilian salt.
However if you are using unsalted capers, or you are not sure about the quality of the salt, wash the capers, pat them dry and then add salt to taste when blending. Pickled capers are good as well.

How to make sun-dried tomato spread

Mix all the ingredients in the blender jar and whizz until you get a creamy consistency.
Transfer into a sterilized jar and keep in the fridge.

Sun-dired tomato spread: variations and suggestions

You can make a rich pesto or spread by adding nuts, almonds, pine nuts, cashews they all work very well.
Love oregano? add some to the mix to enhance the taste.
Want to make a smooth cream for your pasta? add some cream cheese or ricotta and blend.
Try my one pot tuna and olive pasta for a very flavorful and healthy pasta.
Try adding some radicchio.
For a very hot spread, add lots of chili peppers.

The list may go on and on… use your taste and fantasy to create your own recipe!

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