Stay Connected

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Using canned tomatoes for a side dish in winter

More winter vegetable dishes, using what I have on hand.

I don't buy a lot of canned vegetables, mostly because we don't have the amazing deals on canned veggies, such as in other areas of the country. But I do buy canned tomatoes and canned corn. The canned tomatoes, I buy in #10 cans, by the case (6 large cans), as tomato paste, diced tomatoes and whole, stewed tomatoes.

Once a large can is open, I freeze whatever I don't use, in portions large enough for family meals.

This is one side dish that we really enjoy. It goes well with many of our entrees, from rice and beans, to veggie burgers, or, ham or turkey meals.

Just before adding the topping. I used Swiss chard in this batch.

Tomato-Vegetable Medley

1/2 large onion, sliced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 cups of diced, canned tomatoes, in their juice (equivalent to a 14.5 oz can)
1 cup of any frozen, leafy green, such as Swiss chard, spinach or kale
1 cup frozen, shredded zucchini (totally optional, but when I want to up the vegetable content of dinner, I add this)
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon minced fresh or frozen basil, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
pinch salt
pinch red pepper flakes, if desired

optional topping:
1 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian herbs (whatever I happen to have -- oregano, basil, rosemary, savory, marjoram)

In a large skillet, heat oil. Saute onions until translucent.

Add garlic and tomatoes. Simmer for 5 minutes, to reduce the liquids. Add frozen greens, and frozen shredded zucchini (optional). Bring back to a gentle boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 6-7 minutes. (The cooking times all depend on how liquidy you like your vegetables. Reduce the time for simmering if you prefer a saucier dish, cook for the stated time for a drier dish.)

Stir in herbs and seasonings. Cook for 2 minutes. Depending on which vegetables I use, it can be a bit soupy at this point. I sometimes serve this in small ramekins, just as is, along with the entree. Or, I toss it with cooked pasta or rice, for a grain and vegetable side dish.

But for a more finished side dish, I use the topping. Transfer the vegetables to an oven-proof casserole dish, at this point.

In a small bowl, combine the topping ingredients. Sprinkle over the vegetables. Place in a preheated 400 degree F oven. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until topping is browned and crisp.


  1. Sounds good. Unfortunately, I have to limit my tomato intake these days, which is proving to be hard for me.

    1. Hi Kris,
      Oh no! Can you have pizza? I suppose an Alfredo sauce on pizza would be delicious, and not have any tomatoes.

  2. My grandmother used to make something similar with canned tomatoes, green beans and stale biscuits. It sounds very odd, but it was comfort food for my siblings and me.

    1. Hi Kath,
      That sounds interesting. I suppose the biscuits would absorb some of the juices from the canned tomatoes, and become soft and almost doughy.

  3. I can my own tomatoes and we eat them all winter long, sometimes just as whole stewed tomatoes in a dish. It's a good way to get the nutrition of tomatoes without the high price of market tomatoes in winter.

    1. Hi small town girl,
      Good for you! I only canned our garden tomatoes one year. It was a lot of work and left my hands raw from the acidic juices.

      I've read that with canned tomato products (or anytime that you cook tomatoes), the lycopene is more available to the human body. We're accustomed to the idea that raw means healthier, but with some fruits and vegetables, the nutrients are better absorbed after the produce is cooked. Cooked carrots are another example.

      And you're right about the high prices on fresh tomatoes in winter, at least here. I saw fresh tomatoes for $2 a pound the other day. Yikes!

  4. hi lily
    i can my own tomatoes but sometimes when i have not enough, i buy canned tomatoes. they are better as fresh tomatoes in winter.
    wish you a nice week,
    love and hugs regina

    1. Hi Regina,
      I'm glad to see that you're back. I'll check your blog in just a bit!
      Good for you, canning your own tomatoes! I'm hoping for a good garden this coming summer!

  5. I guess I never thought of using canned tomatoes for a vegetable side dish. I add them to chili con carne and soup, but not just as a vegetable. Thanks, I'll try this!

    1. Hi Sunny (love your name!),
      I hope you enjoy this as much as we do!

  6. I love tomatoes, fresh or canned, and use them a lot of different ways. However, I usually don't bake them as a side dish. Gonna have to try that soon.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      Tomatoes are really very versatile, aren't they?! There are so many yummy ways to prepare them. I'm making a small batch of pizza sauce this afternoon from canned tomato paste, for, you guessed it -- pizza night, tonight.

  7. In the south we like to add sliced okra (frozen or fresh), corn, green pepper, and onion to canned tomatoes.

    1. That sounds delicious!
      Thanks for commenting!

  8. The local diner makes a green beans in stewed tomatoes side dish that I absolutely love! Last night, I served stewed tomatoes over steamed, shredded cabbage-delicious and so healthy! Agree, I've gotta get creative once the gardens and farms stop producing come late October. Just found out that my original organic CSA (tried a new one this past year-a disappointment) will again be on hiatus, so we've decided to take our "csa" dollars to the farmer's market instead.

    1. Hi Carol,
      Both of those dishes (the one with the greens beans, and the one you served over cabbage), sound so yummy!
      Rats on the CSA not working out. But maybe going to the farmer's market can be a frugal and fun activity for you, over summer.

  9. This reminds me of a pasta sauce I used to make a lot when I was vegetarian - simple and full of veggies :)

    For some reason fresh tomatoes are very expensive here at the moment ($8-9 a kg, or around $4 a pound), even though they should be in season. It's very annoying and I may have to resort to tinned ones.

    1. Hi Liz,
      Oh goodness, I couldn't imagine ever paying $4 a pound for fresh tomatoes. I hope the prices come down in your area, soon!


Thank you for joining the discussion today. Here at creative savv, we strive to maintain a respectful community centered around frugal living. Creative savv would like to continue to be a welcoming and safe place for discussion, and as such reserves the right to remove comments that are inappropriate for the conversation.


Be a voice that helps someone else on their frugal living journey

Are you interested in writing for creative savv?
What's your frugal story?

Do you have a favorite frugal recipe, special insight, DIY project, or tips that could make frugal living more do-able for someone else?

Creative savv is seeking new voices.


share this post