Canned tomatoes are a kitchen staple that can be used in all sorts of dishes, from soups and stews to sauces and casseroles. While fresh tomatoes are best for eating raw or quickly cooking, canned tomatoes are perfect for when you need that rich, tomato flavor in cooked dishes.
One thing many home cooks wonder is whether you can roast canned tomatoes in the oven. Roasting fresh tomatoes concentrates their flavor and brings out their natural sweetness. So could this technique work with canned tomatoes too?
Can Canned Tomatoes Be Roasted?
Yes, you can absolutely roast canned whole, diced, or crushed tomatoes in the oven! The process of canning tomatoes stops the ripening process, so the tomatoes have a consistent texture and flavor straight from the can. Roasting them further intensifies their taste and gives them a deeper, more caramelized flavor.
The reason roasting works so well is that the dry heat of the oven evaporates moisture from the tomatoes and concentrates their natural sugars and umami flavors. So while fresh tomatoes roast down into flavorful, jammy bites, canned tomatoes will become even richer-tasting after roasting.
You can roast canned tomatoes right from the can or strain them first. Roasting them unstrained means you get delicious browned bits of tomato along with the thickened juices. Straining first gives you drier, more concentrated roasted tomato pieces. Either way, roasted canned tomatoes make an easy shortcut ingredient to use in recipes.
Benefits of Roasting Canned Tomatoes
– Deepens flavor – Roasting concentrates the tomato taste and brings out savory umami notes.
– Improves texture – Water evaporates during roasting, leaving tomatoes thicker and richer.
– Boosts sweetness – Natural sugars caramelize, balancing acidity.
– Adds versatility – Roasted canned tomatoes can be used in many dishes.
– Saves time – No need to wait for fresh tomatoes to roast down.
– Intensifies color – The red pigments become darker with roasting.
How to Roast Canned Tomatoes in the Oven
Roasting canned tomatoes is a quick and easy kitchen project. Here is a simple step-by-step method:
– 1 (28 oz) can whole, diced, or crushed tomatoes
– 1 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil (optional)
– Salt and pepper to taste
– Spices or herbs like garlic, rosemary, oregano, etc. (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Drain canned tomatoes in a colander and shake off excess liquid if desired. Or for more flavor, use tomatoes un-drained.
3. Spread tomatoes on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Toss with oil if using.
4. Roast for 45-60 minutes, stirring once halfway, until tomatoes darken in color and thicken.
5. Season with salt, pepper, and any optional herbs or spices as desired.
6. Let cool before using in recipes or storing. Roasted canned tomatoes will keep refrigerated for 4-5 days.
– Add garlic, onion, or herbs to the tomatoes while roasting for extra flavor.
– Roast different types of canned tomatoes for versatility. Try fire-roasted, Italian-style, etc.
– Use a rimmed baking sheet to catch any juices that may spill out while roasting.
– Roast at higher heat like 425-450°F if you want the tomatoes to caramelize more.
– Roast tomatoes unstrained for extra richness and flavorful browned bits.
So simple yet so effective! Roasting transforms canned tomatoes into a Whole new ingredient perfect for pasta sauces, stews, shakshuka, chili, and more. Get creative with spices and seasonings to customize your roasted tomatoes each time.
Full Recipe with Roasted Canned Tomatoes
To highlight how delicious roasted canned tomatoes can be, here is an easy recipe to try:
One Pot Pasta with Roasted Tomato Sauce
– 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
– 3 cloves garlic, minced
– 1⁄4 cup olive oil, divided
– 1 tsp dried oregano
– 1 lb short pasta like penne or rigatoni
– 1⁄4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
– Salt and pepper to taste
– Grated parmesan cheese, for serving
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Drain canned tomatoes into a colander and let drain for 5 minutes. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil. Add garlic and oregano, toss to coat.
3. Roast for 45-60 minutes until darkened and thickened, stirring halfway through. Remove from oven and set aside.
4. In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta water before draining.
5. Return pasta to pot and add roasted tomatoes and remaining 2 tbsp olive oil. Toss, adding reserved pasta water as needed for a saucy consistency.
6. Remove from heat. Stir in torn basil leaves and season with salt and pepper.
7. Serve pasta warm, sprinkled with grated parmesan cheese.
Make It Your Own:
– Use different herbs like rosemary, thyme, or Italian seasoning in the roasted tomatoes.
– Add roasted vegetables like zucchini, eggplant, or bell peppers.
– Top with mozzarella cheese instead of parmesan.
– Stir in cooked chicken breast or Italian sausage.
– Garnish with fresh tomatoes, extra basil, or red pepper flakes.
Roasting canned tomatoes concentrates their flavor so they make an easy, tasty sauce for pasta. Adjust the seasonings to customize your own perfect one-pot pasta dinner.
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about roasting canned tomatoes:
Can you roast canned whole tomatoes?
Yes, whole canned tomatoes work beautifully when roasted in the oven. The dry heat will gradually break them down into soft, collapsed tomatoes packed with flavor.
Should you drain canned tomatoes before roasting?
You can roast canned tomatoes either drained or un-drained. Draining them first will result in drier, more concentrated roasted tomato pieces. Leaving them un-drained means the juices thicken into a flavorful sauce as they roast.
How long should you roast canned tomatoes?
Plan on roasting canned tomatoes for 45-60 minutes in a 400°F oven. Roasting time will vary slightly depending on whether they are drained or not. Stir the tomatoes halfway through for even roasting.
Can you freeze roasted canned tomatoes?
Absolutely! Roasted canned tomatoes freeze very well for future use. Let them cool completely before transferring to freezer bags or airtight containers. They’ll keep frozen for 4-6 months.
What dishes can you use roasted canned tomatoes for?
The possibilities are endless! Use roasted canned tomatoes in pastas, stews, soups, shakshuka, chili, braises, curries, pizza sauce, antipasto platters, roasted veggies, sandwiches, and more.
Roasting canned whole, crushed, or diced tomatoes is an easy kitchen hack that takes them to the next level of flavor. The dry heat of the oven evaporates moisture, concentrating the tomatoes’ sweetness and savoriness.
While fresh tomatoes are best eaten raw or quickly cooked, canned tomatoes are ideal for roasting. A quick roast transforms the canned tomatoes into a rich, thick, intensely flavored ingredient perfect for many dishes.
Roast up a batch on your next meal prep day to have on hand all week for pasta nights, soups, shakshuka, and more. Get creative with added herbs, spices, garlic, and oil to customize your roasted canned tomatoes. This simple oven technique unlocks a whole new level of flavor.