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Tomato Paste

That deep red paste you see in the grocery aisle is actually way more complex than it looks. A creation from Sicily, Italy, tomato paste is made by cooking tomatoes for many hours to burn out its water content. It is then strained to remove the seeds and skins and cooked down a second time to create a paste-like consistency. Tomato paste is super rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that has been linked to cardiovascular health and cancer protection. Culinarily speaking, the concentrated product is an umami bomb with intense tomato flavor. Just a little bit can add that perfect burst of flavor and tang to any pasta, soup, or braised meat.


Cut and Paste

Lycopene Lotto

Gram for gram, there is a higher lycopene content in tomato paste than in fresh tomatoes.

Slim Pickings

Compared to other sauce additives on the shelves, tomato paste is super low in calories! Using it as a base for your sauces not only increases its nutritional value, it also keeps the calories in check.

La Tomatina

In Spain, there is an annual tomato festival where people throw 150,000 tomatoes at each other! Sounds like a waste of paste.

Need Ideas? We want to hear from you. What ingredient do you have in your fridge or pantry that you’re wondering what to do with and need an idea and/or recipe for? We’ve got you covered. Email us your choice ingredient at recipes@mishpacha.com and we’ll print three recipes for it!


1. Tomato-Roasted Potato Wedges

The tomato coating gives these potatoes a ton of flavor and a unique caramelization on the outside. As a bonus, they’re easy to make and kid friendly!


  • 1 6-oz (170-g) can tomato paste
  • 1½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced, or 2 cubes frozen garlic
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 5 Idaho potatoes, cut into wedges

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the tomato paste, salt, oregano, pepper, garlic, and olive oil until smooth. Add potato wedges and toss to coat in the tomato mixture. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 50 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the insides are soft and the outsides are crispy and caramelized.

Plan Ahead: These potatoes can be prepared up to two days ahead of time. Reheat, uncovered, in a single layer until warmed through.


2. Basic Tomato Meat Lasagna

I’m always looking for ‘set and forget’ recipes that I can make in the morning and serve for supper later that day in a clean kitchen! This is a great recipe that works in those instances.


  • 1 12-oz (340-g) box oven-ready lasagna noodles
  • oil, for sautéing
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1–1½ lb (450–680 g) ground meat
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped, or 2 cubes frozen garlic
  • 1 28-oz (790-g) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 6-oz (170-g) cans tomato paste
  • 1 15-oz (425-g) can tomato sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil, or 3 cubes frozen basil
  • ½ Tbsp dried parsley
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper

Heat oil in a very large skillet or a wide-bottomed pot. Add the chopped onion and sauté until golden, about 10 minutes. Add the chopped meat and garlic and sauté until browned, approximately 5 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and seasonings. Mix well and remove from heat.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). In a 9x13-inch (23x33-cm) baking pan, layer the lasagna starting with a ladleful of sauce and then a layer of noodles. Repeat layering until the noodles are used up, ending with the sauce. Cover the pan tightly and bake for 1 hour. Remove the cover and bake for another 20 minutes.

Tip: If you don’t have oven-ready lasagna noodles, use regular raw lasagna noodles and add ½ cup water to the meat mixture. For a super shortcut, use 1½ jars marinara sauce in place of the crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce.

Note: This freezes well. For best freezer results, use oven-ready lasagna noodles.


3. Basic Barbecue Sauce

This simple recipe is not only delicious, it’s an all-around crowd-pleaser. It works perfectly as a marinade or glaze as well.


  • 6 oz (170 g) tomato paste
  • ¼ cup white wine (not cooking wine)
  • ¼ cup vinegar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp kosher salt

Place all the ingredients in a small pot. Cook for 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until all the ingredients are combined.

Lower the heat and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.


(Originally featured in Family Table, Issue 867)

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