She’s travelled the globe, been enjoyed by some of the most influential cultures in history and, today, is a favorite part of many dishes and cuisines, from farmhouse tables to fine dining restaurants.
Also known as: Pomme d’amour
Likes: Sun, plenty of warm sun
Hobbies: Keeping people guessing – is she a fruit or a vegetable?
Find her: Brightening up a salad, stacked up with Onion and Pickle on a sandwich, topping pastas galore
She’s travelled the globe, been enjoyed by some of the most influential cultures in history and, today, is a favorite part of many dishes and cuisines, from farmhouse tables to fine dining restaurants. She comes in many different varieties, each with a distinct look and subtly different flavor, such as Roma, grape, cherry, beefsteak and heirloom. Tomato may not be loved by absolutely everyone, but she’s pretty darn popular and happy to be a bright and nutritious addition to any dish.
Her preferably regularly watered roots are in South America as a native plant of the Andes Mountains. From there she made her way to Central America, then Europe with the Conquistadors. To this day, she is a staple of Italian and Mediterranean food in both her fresh, sun-ripened form and her herb-seasoned, cooked-down-to-a-sauce form (can you say marinara?). While there was a brief chapter in history when she was considered not only unfit to eat but downright toxic by those in North America, she’s won us over in the last hundred years or so with her nutritious and flavorful goodness.
While Tomato prefers to focus on the flavor she brings to our healthy diet, she’s also happy to talk health benefits, including her various vitamins like vitamin C for strong immunity, vitamin A for healthy skin and eyes, and vitamin B6 for metabolism. Studies also show that the antioxidant that gives Tomato her brilliant red color, lycopene, may help prevent certain types of cancer, as well as ward off heart disease.
If you’re looking to add more flavor and nutrition to your diet, here are just a few ways to bring Tomato to the table today:
- Fresh – Sliced over salads, sandwiches, burgers or even the star of her own dish mixed with garden-fresh herbs, Tomato can bring color flavor, nutrition and a fiber-rich serving of fruit to any meal. Try:
- Grilled Chicken Caprese Lunch at Olive Garden (560 calories, 23 g fat). Located nationwide
- Chicken Salad Espana at Papouli’s Greek Grill (410 calories, 17 g fat). Located in Selma and San Antonio, TX
- Cooked – With studies showing that her lycopene is more easily absorbed when she’s cooked, Tomato is also hoping you’ll include her on the BBQ grill veggie skewers, roast her with a little garlic or balsamic vinegar or wherever your culinary creativity may take you.
- Egg White Scramble at 3 Squares Restaurant (330 calories, 13 g fat). Located in Maple Grove, MN
- Charred Tomato Pasta at bd’s Mongolian Grill (370 calories, 7 g fat). Located in CO, KS, MO, MN, WS, IL, MI, IN, KY, OH, PA, MD, FL
- Saucy – True, she and Pasta are old friends, and Tomato and Pizza go way back, but she likes to spice things up over enchiladas, add flare to a simple weeknight chicken and comfort you with a simple soup.
- 1/2 Plank Pizza: Margherita Pizza (Serves 2) at Go Roma (360 calories, 15 g fat). Located in IL
- à LA CARTE: Enchilada – Chicken Ranchera at El Torito (230 calories, 11 g fat). Located in CA and OR
How do you serve up tomato during her peak summer months and throughout the year?