Cooking tomatoes significantly improves the absorption of lycopene, a member of the carotenoid family and a potential anti-cancer substance found in tomatoes. Lycopene is also fat soluble so cooking in a bit of high quality extra virgin olive oil is also helpful. This is why tomato sauce is a great addition to weekly meals.
The peel contains 5 times more lycopene than the flesh, so leaving the peel on improves the anti-cancer potential of tomatoes. I wanted to make my own super healthy, anti-cancer tomato sauce. I looked at the market for cans of crushed tomatoes and was excited to find some Italian San Marzano crushed tomatoes that would serve great as the base of my sauce. San Marzano tomatoes are among the few tomatoes (of 119 varieties) that have been shown to block the blood supply to cancer cells. However, I couldn’t find San Marzano crushed tomatoes that were not PEELED. So, I decided to add some cooked tomatoes with the peel on to make my sauce. I chose organic cherry tomatoes and black/red skinned tomatoes as these have also been shown to block the blood supply to cancer cells. Below is my recipe. I was very intentional about the ingredients, choosing foods that I felt would not only add to the flavor profile but also those shown in research to help in preventing cancer.
1 tablespoon high quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
10 oz organic cherry tomatoes
2 medium to large heirloom black red tomato (if you can’t find this just add more cherry tomatoes)
2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning (rosemary, thyme, oregano and basil are antioxidants and have been shown to promote cancer cell death and reduce the spread of cancer)
Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and core the black/red tomato and cut into pieces.
Put the EVOO, tomatoes, Italian seasoning and pinch of salt into a large sauté pan and heat over low stirring frequently. After a few minutes the tomatoes will start to soften. Remove to a bowl and place in the refrigerator to cool.
While the tomatoes are cooling, blend the following in a high-speed blender until ingredients are well blended:
- 28 oz. canned crushed San Marzano tomatoes
- 3 cloves of garlic , smashed, peeled and minced (garlic is one of the most anti-cancer veggies we can eat)
- 2 cups of organic raw spinach (contains quercetin a phytochemical shown to have anti-cancer potential)
- 2 tablespoons of Italian seasoning (these herbs high in anti-oxidants and have been shown to have anti-cancer potential)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional if you like a little more kick)
When well blended add in the cooled cooked tomatoes reserving approximately 1 cup of cooked tomatoes to add in after blending. Blend to the consistency you like. Taste for seasoning and add more as needed. Add in the reserved cup of cooked tomatoes and stir with a spoon. Transfer to a pot and heat on low on the stove if you plan to eat immediately or refrigerate/freeze. This makes 5-6 cups of sauce. I like to freeze in 1-2 cup glass containers.