Tomato sauce, a common staple found in most pantries, has powerful health benefits thanks to an ingredient called lycopene. Lycopene is a phytochemical that acts as a powerful antioxidant, potentially helping to reduce the risk of prostate, esophageal and breast cancers. Lycopene is also a pigment. This pigment is what makes watermelon vivid pink and tomatoes bright red. You can also find lycopene in fresh papaya, guava, pink grapefruit and all other tomato products.
You will receive the best absorption of lycopene from cooked or processed products such as tomato-based pasta sauce, tomato paste, sauce, soup, juice, bottled salsa, chili sauce and ketchup. A bonus: When these foods are eaten with a little fat the lycopene is even better absorbed.
There are many ways you can incorporate tomato sauce into your diet beyond pasta sauces. Following are some delicious, easy and quick suggestions.
Lightly brush the tops of toast with extra virgin olive oil. Spread 1-tablespoon pasta sauce onto each slice. Top with shredded fresh basil or a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and enjoy.
Spoon 1/2-cup warm pasta sauce on an empty plate. Then add your hot entree and side dishes on top of the sauce. It adds meal appeal in less than a minute and kicks up the cancer-fighting power of your food.
When a box of couscous calls for 2-cups water or broth, use 1-1/4 cup water or broth and 1-cup pasta sauce instead. Serve the pasta as a side dish, or serve pork loin, fish steak or other entree on a bed of it.
Stew this vegetable in pasta sauce to boost flavor and nutrients. Try this: Slice one large zucchini into 1/4-inch thick slices. In a covered saucepan over medium heat, simmer the slices in 1/2-cup of your favorite pasta sauce for five minutes or until the zucchini is cooked through.
In a large saucepan, add One can of (15 to 16-ounce) low-sodium chicken broth, one can of (15 ounce) drained white beans, 1-cup pasta sauce (with garlic) and 1-cup chopped leftover cooked chicken or turkey breast. For a taste variation, add a few pinches of dried, crushed rosemary. Bring the soup to a boil over medium-high heat. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
A favorite fact: Pizza is loaded with lycopene!
Prepare sauce or use sauce from a can or jar if pressed for time.
Here is a recipe for a delicious Italian Dip using tomato-based pasta sauce as an essential ingredient!
Savor your dip with a large, leafy green salad topped with white beans, cherry tomato halves and a splash of balsamic or red wine vinegar. Go for a sweet ending with watermelon, if desired.
- 1 pound extra lean ground round
- 1-1/4 cup jarred tomato-based pasta sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/2 pound loaf fresh Italian bread, cut into eight 1-ounce slices
- 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves (12 to 16 large leaves)
- Combine the beef, 1/2-cup sauce, pepper and garlic salt in a mixing bowl. Divide and shape the mixture into four patties.
- Place a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, cook the burgers for four to five minutes per side for medium, six minutes per side for well done.
- While the burgers are cooking, heat the remaining 3/4-cup sauce in a saucepan over medium heat.
- When the burgers are cooked to the desired doneness, place each onto a bread slice. Immediately top with the cheese and basil, then cover with the remaining bread slices. Serve each burger with the warm sauce as a dipping sauce.
Recipe makes four sandwiches.
- Nutrition Information per serving:
- Calories: 436
- Protein: 36g
- Carbohydrate: 36g
- Fat: 14g
- Cholesterol: 84mg
- Fiber: 3g
- Sodium: 830mg