Friday Food Finds: Boost Umami with No-Waste Tomato Paste

What’s so special about tomato paste? Umami, of course! And what makes tomato paste in a tube so cool? There’s no waste! Gone are the days of opening a can of tomato paste to use only a tablespoon or two. Even with good intentions – and I always had them – that leftover tomato paste would spoil in my refrigerator. Squeezable tomato paste is brilliant.

tomato paste gives umami

Umami is considered to be the fifth basic taste

This stuff stays fresh in the refrigerator until I need a squeeze next time.

With my family’s plant-slant diet, I love a little umami boost from foods and ingredients like tomato products, soy sauce, mushrooms, onions and that amazing freshly grated Parmesan cheese! By the way, MSG also provides umami and can actually reduce sodium intake.

Umami is that fifth taste, different from each sweet, salty, bitter and sour. It’s meaty or savory. It’s hard to describe, but it sure adds an element of yum. And I’m especially looking for it when my recipe doesn’t contain meat.

Smokey Red Bean Chili with tomato paste

This smokey red been chili is delicious with the addition of tomato paste and some chipotle chili powder, of course.

I add a tablespoon or two of tomato paste to plenty of dishes, including chilis, soups and stews. Typically, I mix it in to sautéed vegetables when I add garlic and dry spices.

There are several brands of tomato paste in a tube. I’ve tried at least three, and I like them all. They taste good, and they stay fresh in the fridge after opening. You’ll find them in most large grocery stores where you find other canned and bottled tomato products.

Healthy lentil sloppy joes

Lentil Sloppy Joes get a taste lift from tomato paste too.

If you want to learn more about umami, head on over to Umami Information Center or check out an earlier healthy eating tip by my friend and colleague Christine Rosenbloom.

Cheers to delicious, meaty, and savory plant-slant eating! Umami rocks!

Jill Weisenberger

Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE, CHWC, FAND, is a Nutrition, Culinary & Diabetes Expert, Wellcoach®-certified health and wellness coach, Freelance Writer, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Educator. She's also the author of four books, including a best-seller. She's a nationally-recognized media expert in high demand for print and online interviews, as well as corporate and one-on-one nutritional counseling. Jill's philosophy is that nutrition science should be understandable, realistic and oh so delicious.

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Like most of my patients and clients, I lead a busy life. You probably do too. Fortunately, you don’t need weeks, days or even hours to start living better and healthier. This blog offers timesaving strategies and bite-sized nutrition and health information. Come by often for tips and inspiration to healthy living – no matter how busy you are. I am a registered dietitian nutritionist offering credible, practical nutrition advice to keep busy people healthy. Yes indeed, we can be both busy and healthy.

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