These Semi-Dried Tomatoes are amazing little flavour bombs. Oven dried tomatoes are easy to make at home, and are perfect to add to salads, sandwiches, pizza, or meal bowls. Make the most out of tomato season by freezing a big batch of semi-dried tomatoes to use down the road.
Remember in the 90's and early aughts when sun dried tomatoes were all the rage?
Is that still a thing or have people mostly calmed down about those intensely umami shrivelled little suckers? I mean, don't get me wrong, I don't mind the flavour of a sun dried tomato, but the texture is all wrong for me.
So chewy! So leathery! And the flavour is SO intense that it takes over your mouth in an aggressive way like one of those pacifier-sucking 90's raver kids who is tweaked out on ecstasy (I think they call it Molly these days?) and getting all up in your business on the packed dance floor of the dank, sweaty warehouse you paid $20 to take a bus to.
Maybe you weren't there?
Anyways, guys, the 90's are behind us and I'd like to bring you up to date on the dried tomato situation. Semi-Dried Tomatoes are where it's at!
What's the difference between sun dried tomatoes and semi-dried tomatoes?
Excellent question; let's get at it.
Sun-dried tomatoes are tomatoes that have been sliced and left out in the sun to dry, just like the name implies. Sun-dried tomatoes are completely dry, and so can be stored at room temperature pretty much infinitely. They may be found dried, or packed in oil.
Semi-dried tomatoes are tomatoes that have been dried about half way, so they do still retain some moisture. This means they've got a much shorter shelf life than their fully dried counterparts, but I think you'll find that they make up for it in texture.
What are some ways to use semi-dried tomatoes?
Hands down, my favourite way to use semi-dried tomatoes is as a pizza topping. These beauties are sooooooo much better than fresh tomatoes on top of a pizza because they're not wet so they don't weep out a pool of liquid when they hit the oven.
I pretty much make a batch of these every time we have a pizza night, and I highly recommend you try them on this simple Naan Pizza.
You pretty much can't beat a thick slice of crusty sourdough slathered with ricotta and topped with semi-dried tomatoes as a simple lunch, so make that a top priority.
They would be a great accompaniment to this Spinach and Ricotta Egg Bake, and would be mighty fine wrapped up in these Spicy Vegan Wraps. Perhaps, instead of topping these Hummus Bowls with roasted cauliflower you should try topping them with semi-dried tomatoes instead? I bet that'd be killer!
What do you need to make Semi-Dried Tomatoes?
You need just a handful of ingredients, and strictly speaking only two of them are absolutely essential. Please go grab some:
- Tomatoes --> I prefer using cherry, grape, or baby plum tomatoes because they're small and cute and dry fastest.
- Olive oil --> A few glugs of EVOO going down here.
- Herbs --> This is optional. I seasoned mine with a bit of dried oregano and basil.
- Salt --> Also optional, but a few sprinkles of flaky sea salt will do ya right.
How do you make oven-dried tomatoes?
We're going to get these semi-dried tomatoes from dream to reality in just a few simple steps.
Step 1: First up, wash and slice your tomatoes. If you are using a longer tomato like a grape or baby plumb, slice them lengthwise. Slice cherry tomatoes in half whichever way floats your boat.
Step 2: Place the sliced tomatoes into a bowl and toss with olive oil, herbs, and salt.
Step 3: Arrange the tomatoes onto a parchment-lined baking sheet cut side up.
Step 4: Toss your sheet pans into the oven and let it cook low and slow. Depending on how big your tomatoes are, this should take about an hour.
That's it! You're done!
What are the best tomatoes for oven-dried tomatoes?
Really, friends, any tomatoes will work for this recipe. I prefer to use the smaller varietals because a) they get to that semi-dried state faster, and b) I think the flavour is better.
Even in the dead of winter when you're buying pints of hothouse tomatoes from the grocery store, cherry tomatoes will come out amazing if you oven dry them.
I'd avoid using tomatoes that are really big, like beefsteak tomatoes, as they'd just take too long to try and they live their best lives as Caprese salads and everyone knows that. Roma or plum tomatoes work well for oven drying, you'd just need to adjust your expectations time-wise for drying.
How to store semi-dried tomatoes?
Because, unlike fully-dried tomatoes, these beauties do retain quite a bit of moisture, their shelf-life is quite short.
If stored in the fridge in an airtight container, your semi-dried tomatoes will last for just a few days. If you cover them with oil, you'll be good to go for up to two weeks.
However, if you know you're not going to use them that quickly or you want to make a big batch, I recommend you freeze them.
To freeze your oven-dried tomatoes, place sheet of parchment on a cookie sheet (or a square cake pan if you, like me, have a small freezer) and arrange the tomatoes in a single layer. If you need to do another layer, just put another sheet of parchment paper right on top.
Freeze the tomatoes overnight, and then pop them into a freezer bag for long-term storage. I love these reusable silicon freezer bags.
Once frozen, you can just grab a handful when needed to add to a frittata or salad or sandwich or whatever!
Hey Nutrition Lady, are tomatoes healthy?
Tomato toe-mah-toe. However you like to say it, there’s no doubt that the sweet summer fruits are juicy little bombs of nutrition. Tomatoes are known for their antioxidant content, notably lycopene – good for your prostates, fellas!
Other antioxidants include vitamin C, and beta carotene. As far as phytonutrients go, tomatoes are top of the charts. They contain flavonoids, carotenoids, and glycosides to name just a few.
Eating tomatoes has been shown to be beneficial for the profile of fats in our bloodstream. Specifically, tomato intake has been linked to reduced total cholesterol, reduced LDL cholesterol, and reduced triglyceride levels. This makes our hearts happy!
Tomatoes are also an excellent source of vitamin K, copper, potassium, manganese, dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin B6, folate, niacin, vitamin E, and phosphorus.
More recipes like this:
- 1 lb cherry tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried herbs I used basil and oregano
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat your oven to 300°F / 150°C. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Slice the tomatoes in half.
- Place the tomatoes in a bowl with the olive oil, herbs, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine well.
- Arrange the tomatoes cut-side up on the prepared baking sheets.
- Bake for one hour, or until tomatoes have shrivelled and are just the tiniest bit brown around the edges.
- Allow the semi-dried tomatoes to cool completely.
- Nutrition values are an estimate only and are based on 10 servings.
- Semi-dried tomatoes can be stored in the fridge for 3 days in an airtight container, or covered with oil for up to two weeks.
- Alternately, you can freeze the tomatoes in a single layer, and then transfer to freezer bags for longer storage.
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