Thursday, November 4, 2010

Don't Throw Out Those Wrinkled Tomatoes!

The old dregs of a once bountiful bowl!

Here they are again! Do you recognize them? Yes, these are the very tomatoes that appeared last month in my post about Alicia Silverstone featuring my health story on "The Kind Life". Granted, the pile is smaller since I have been eating them as they've ripened, but they are the very same ones. I actually took the original photo a few weeks prior to writing the post, so these tomatoes are very old indeed! Looking closely, you will notice the web of little wrinkles, dried-up stems and general lack of "oomph" of these nightshades who have seen better days.

What would you do with this bowlful? Well, I'll tell you what I did with them -- I made Tomato Compote! I grew up in the era of "waste not, want not" and that's who most of us are as vegans anyway,  so, knowing garlic and olive oil will heal most problems, I created this amazing flavorful topping for potatoes, pasta, bruschetta, a piece of Gardein . . . you get the idea.

See? They're looking better already!

Here's the recipe:

Tomato Compote
tomatoes, old or new, green, red or both --about 1 cupful diced
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
italian parsley, about a Tbsp. chopped roughly

Over medium-high heat, saute the tomatoes and garlic in the oil for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Cover and lower heat to low. Cook an additional 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste, remove from heat and add parsley. This compote can sit covered, off the heat until you are ready for it. The parsley will wilt slightly, but won't lose it's pretty color and flavor. This is also great the next day cold as a sandwich spread. It will firm up a bit in the fridge.

Now aren't you glad you didn't waste them?
My mother's era makes ours look incredibly wasteful despite my best efforts. She would reinvent and reinvent the same meal for days on end, ad nauseum, literally (a la food poisoning). To be fair, at the end of the reinvention, she would be the only one eating it, and she only food-poisoned herself once that I can remember! I digresse, but my point is that most foods that many folks consider inedible are in fact fine. We vegans don't deal with spoiled meats or dairy, but sometimes we have questions about the edibility of some of our veggies. Unless it is slimy or has an "off" color or odor, it is probably good. Of course the vitamins and minerals are best when the food is fresh, but those old wrinkled homegrown tomatoes had a headstart in vitamins, and in flavor too!  This compote is not to be missed -- seriously delish!

Food for thought . . .


  1. I get wrinkled tomatoes all the time so now I know! :)

  2. Hey Morgan! Thanks for reading. You can put this on anything! Your pumpkin butter squares are lookin' pretty amazing!

  3. Yay! I'm so glad to know I'm not the only one who eats toamtoes for weeks and weeks on end...going to use my wrinkled ones now

  4. Hey Sophia -- Yeah -- waste not, want not, also they still taste so good!

  5. Found this post via google search. I had a pint of wrinkling grape tomatoes. Wow this recipe turned out great!

  6. Hi Stephen! I'm so glad you liked the compote! Recently I've had it on pasta with a diced avocado added at the end (don't cook it!). Great on rice pasta.

  7. Can I freeze this after making it?...

    1. Yes! This would be wonderful to freeze! I'd try to get most of the air out, in a ziplock bag (make sure it's not warm when you put it in the bag) Then, to thaw, place closed bag into a bowl of cold water until it softens enough to transfer to a saucepan for re-heating on low-medium.

  8. Oooh, a better alternative to throw in my mac n' cheese than canned diced tomatoes, thank you ;)

    1. Absolutely -- this would be great with mac-n-cheese! (I don't eat cheese, but I can imagine!) The garlic and olive oil do the trick. Another thing -- sautéing tomatoes in olive oil has been shown to increase their health benefits -- apparently the lycopene is more bioavailable this way. Thanks for reading!