The first day of September is here and it seems that all of a sudden everything turned into autumn. The sky was hazy in the morning, the light is dimmer, and a warm wind plays with the first fallen leaves. When everybody starts making cans for winter, and kitchens smell like nothing but spices, herbs and roasted tomatoes, you know for sure that summer is gone for good.
Most of the time, tomatoes are associated with lycopene, a powerful antioxidant with positive effects towards treating different types of cancer, especially in the prostate and breast, human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, atherosclerosis, and heart disease. But there are more interesting facts about tomatoes, making them a real superstar food (at least in my kitchen) – the high concentration of vitamin C and vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), both very powerful antioxidants, vitamin K (responsible for blood clotting and bone health), manganese (necessary for bone production and skin integrity), and vitamin B7 (biotin, with implications in balancing the sugar levels in blood).
When it comes to preparing tomatoes, try to include their seeds and skins in the cooking process for a significantly higher intake of lycopene and beta-carotene. Another healthy trick is to combine tomatoes with healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, or nuts of all kinds to increase the absorption of these nutrients (this is the secret of healthy Mediterranean dishes like Greek salad, veggie stew with tomato juice and olive oil, or the Mexican guacamole). We’ve got two in the tomato soup recipes!
- 4 lbs&1/2 (2 kilos) ripe and juicy heirloom tomatoes, quartered
- 3 bell peppers
- 2 medium onions, finely diced
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic bulb, cut in half horizontally
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp dark muscovado sugar (or any oher unrefined sugar)
- 1 tsp pink Himalayan salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- Mixed seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, flax) and 4 tsp basil pesto, to serve
- Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F
- Slice the peppers in half lengthwise, remove the seeds and stem, and place under the broiler skin side up.
- Roast until the skin turns black , then transfer into an airtight container and place in the refrigerator for five minutes to loosen the roasted skin.
- Use your fingers to rub off the black skin and set aside.
- Place the tomato quarters and diced onion in a large roasting tin, season with salt and pepper, add olive oil, cider vinegar and muscovado sugar, and toss to combine. Put the garlic bulb halves in the roasting tin as well.
- Roast in the oven for 40 mins.
- Put the tomatoes with their juices in the blender, squeeze over the roasted garlic, add the roasted bell peppers and fresh basil, and process to obtain a creamy texture.
- Distribute evenly into the serving plates, top with toasted seeds and basil pesto, add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and serve warm, right away.