Whole, Diced & Puréed: Canned Tomatoes

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

When I get down to the last can of tomatoes in the cupboard, I start to feel a little panicky. So many of my standby weeknight meals start with popping open a can and pouring the contents into a warm saucepan. You, too? What’s your favorite brand?

As much as I would love a pantry filled with jars of home-canned summer tomatoes, the reality is that I depend on cans from the grocery store. I always have a few cans of diced tomatoes, which are the start of everything from my favorite weeknight pasta sauce to a big batch of chili. I also keep at least one can of fire-roasted tomatoes for when I want a smoky flavor in the dish and one can of puréed tomatoes for when I make thinner sauces for pizzas and lasagnas.

For my diced tomatoes, my preference is for Trader Joe’s organic brand. I find these tomatoes to be dependably flavorful and tender. The pieces hold their shape during cooking but also mash easily if I want a smoother consistency. Muir Glen makes an outstanding fire-roasted tomato, the only one I’ve tried that actually tastes roasted instead of strangely artificial. I’m not picky about puréed tomatoes and tend to pick up whatever is available when I happen to be shopping for it.

Here are some easy dinner recipes that start with a can of tomatoes:

What brand of canned tomatoes do you use?