A can of diced tomatoes is a busy cook’s best friend. That’s because it can help turn just a handful of ingredients into a tasty home-cooked meal—fast. Canned diced tomatoes are convenient (no chopping!) and budget-friendly, so they’re perfect for stocking your pantry. Here are 10 easy dinner ideas these gems can star in.
Tip: You can easily use canned diced tomatoes in place of fresh in cooked recipes. One 28-oz (796 mL) can contains about 3 1/3 cups (825 mL) diced tomatoes with juice, which is equal to about 3 1/2 cups (875 mL) diced fresh tomatoes.
1. Homemade soup
With a can of diced tomatoes in the pantry, you’re only half an hour away from putting together a steaming bowl of our Tomato-Cheddar Soup. If you don’t have homemade stock handy, a 1 L carton of chicken broth is an economical choice for this recipe. Use half now and freeze the remainder for whipping up a second batch of tomato soup later on.
2. Simple salsa
Stir up an easy salsa on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Drain a can of diced tomatoes and mix with fresh lime juice, salt and pepper. Have a handful of leftover herbs, some vegetables or half an onion sitting in the fridge? Chop them up and add to the salsa. Serve with tortilla chips for dipping or over homemade nachos.
3. Flavourful tofu
Tofu is an inexpensive protein source that absorbs tomato flavour beautifully. Pour a can of diced tomatoes (with the juice) into a shallow dish, and stir in minced garlic. Add sliced firm or extra-firm tofu, turning to coat, and marinate in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. Discard marinade, sprinkle tofu slices with dried oregano, salt and pepper, and then coat in a little cornstarch. Bake on a baking sheet in a 350°F (180°C) oven for about 30 minutes or until crisp. Use for topping pasta or salad.
4. Tomato sauce
A can of diced tomatoes is a simple shortcut to a rich tomato sauce. Lightly spicy Turkey Meatballs Arrabbiata is easy and just as tasty on a Tuesday as it is on a Friday night with friends. Don’t throw out any leftover tomato paste—it freezes beautifully. Spoon it into an ice-cube tray to make recipe-ready tomato portions.
5. Easy chili
Chili is a terrific budget saver. It’s packed with pantry items—like canned beans and tomatoes, and dried herbs—which can offer great value for just a little money. Plus, pre-diced tomatoes, and let you skip all that chopping and get dinner on the table quickly. Turkey & Kale Chili has a hint of smokey barbecue sauce, and leftovers make a tasty lunch.
6. Savoury quiche
Quiche sounds fussy to make at home, but that’s not the case. In fact, it’s an affordable and easy choice for brunch, lunch or dinner, thanks to canned diced tomatoes. Our Tomato Quiche with Bacon & Goat Cheese, made with ready-to-bake pie shells, is a cinch—just pour in the ingredients and bake.
Tip: Stock up on extra eggs and hard-boil them with help from our handy how-to video. Pop one in your lunch bag for a cheap high-protein snack.
7. Baked pasta
Diced tomatoes create a simple, luscious base for a bubbly, cheesy baked pasta. Dive into Cheese-Stuffed Shells with Chicken Bolognese, which feature a satisfying four-cheese mixture tucked into jumbo pasta shells. If chives are not available, substitute the minced green parts of green onions in the filling. They offer a little more onion flavour and are less pricey.
8. Breakfast for guests
Canned diced tomatoes are also great for breakfast! These impressive Baked Eggs with Potato, Bacon & Tomato take only 10 minutes to assemble and feed a crowd of eight. Just a few slices of bacon lend maximum flavour to this satisfying breakfast filled with potatoes, onion and tomatoes.
9. Delicious mussels
Mussels are one of the most reasonably priced types of seafood you can enjoy. When cooked with canned diced tomatoes, onions, garlic and white wine, they’re an impressive dish that is deceptively easy to prepare. Even if you’ve never cleaned fresh mussels, it’s simple—and our video shows you how.
10. Simple curry
Whip up a cheap and cheerful weeknight curry with a can each of diced tomatoes and chickpeas. Simmer them with onions, garlic, fresh ginger and your favourite curry powder or paste. Stir in a can of coconut milk for a creamy touch, and serve the curry mixture over rice. If you want sweet heat with a little extra protein, try our Cran-Apple Chicken Curry.
Always ensure cooked foods reach safe internal temperatures, according to this guide from the Government of Canada.