Did you just cut the leaves off your tomatoes? Have you been told that they are toxic and dangerous and you can’t wait to throw them in the trash? Think carefully before you do it! First, the effect of tomato leaves on the garden is incredible, but their nutritional and taste qualities are also magnificent! Contrary to popular opinion, tomato leaves are tasty, fragrant and 100% edible. You can cook fresh young leaves like most other hardy garden greens, such as kale. Just be careful not to eat an excessive amount of tomato leaves, which can also be said for every food item. In this article, you will therefore discover the benefits of tomato leaves and how to prepare delicious dishes!
Do you know the benefits of tomato leaves?
Not only that tomato leaves are edible, but they also have several health benefits. Tomato leaves are rich in fiber first. Fiber is good for our digestive system as it relieves the symptoms of constipation and facilitates bowel movement. Tomato leaves also contain micronutrients of vegetable origin, rich in antioxidants, vitamin C and polyphenols, which help fight diseases and infections and improve the general condition of the body. In addition, tomato leaves can help reduce cholesterol levels thanks to the tomatine present in the leaves. Finally, they are rich in potassium, which is good for the heart.
Tomato leaves have several benefits for the body
What to do with tomato leaves in the kitchen?
After learning about the benefits of tomato leaves, you’re probably eager to try some recipes! Follow the following lines, which represent a truly healthy culinary guide!
Salad garnished with tomato leaves
Tomato leaf pesto
When it comes to tomato leaf recipes, we start with the most popular use: pesto.
Tomato leaves have an earthy, slightly bitter and spicy taste. They can therefore not be eaten as they are, but their taste is perfect for pesto. It also allows you to use a large portion of your harvest in one go, making a delicious spread that will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge.
- 1 handful of chopped tomato leaves
- 15 g fresh oregano or basil
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 40 ml olive oil
- ½ lemon
- sea salt
- black pepper
- First grind the tomato leaves, oregano and garlic into a paste.
- Add olive oil and mix.
- Then add the lemon juice and taste. You can also put all the ingredients in a small food processor and blend them.
- Store the pesto in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Fresh and tasty pesto with tomato leaves
Tomato leaves with olive oil
Fortunately for gardeners, making infused olive oil is incredibly easy and doesn’t have the high price you’ll find in grocery stores. Tomato leaves are one of the many things you can add to olive oil, giving the oil an earthy, light tomato flavor.
To do this, just put a few leaves in a bottle of olive oil and leave for a few weeks. If you want a more intense flavor, blend the tomato leaves and add them to the olive oil over low heat. When the oil starts to bubble, remove it from the heat and let it cool. Finally, filter through a cloth into a bottle and close it for later use.
This infused olive oil is ideal for freshly baked bread or for adding an extra touch of tomato to fresh pizzas.
A delicious infusion
Fresh pasta with tomato leaves
Nothing beats a bowl of fresh, homemade, hand-rolled pasta. The taste and texture are simply incomparable to the purchased pasta. Do you want to try?
- 180 g tomato leaves, stems removed
- 2 – 3 large eggs at room temperature
- 300 g flour
- semolina for sprinkling
For the slow-roasted tomato sauce
- 700 – 800 g cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, halved
- 2 – 3 cloves of garlic, flattened with the back of a knife but left whole
- 5 – 6 anchovies of the best quality
- 80 ml extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and dried chili flakes
- 20-30 g unsalted butter
- Pecorino Romano, ricotta salata or fresh goat cheese for serving
- basil or parsley (optional)
- thyme, oregano or marjoram (optional)
Prepare the pasta
- First blanch the tomato leaves in lightly salted boiling water for about two minutes.
- Then drain the leaves and put them in a bowl of ice to chill them immediately.
- Then put the leaves with two of the eggs in a food processor or blender. Pulse until the leaves are very finely chopped and the mixture is smooth.
- Make a well in the flour to incorporate the egg mixture.
- Then mix it all together with a fork. If the mixture seems dry, beat the remaining egg in a small bowl and add a tablespoon at a time until the mixture is smooth. On the other hand, if it seems too wet, add some flour.
- Knead for about 8-10 minutes until you have a smooth, elastic piece of dough that springs back when pressed down with a finger.
- Wrap the dough in plastic and let it rest for at least 30 minutes and up to two hours at room temperature.
- Then roll out the pasta and cut it.
- Sprinkle with semolina to prevent them from sticking.
- Finally, let the pasta dry and prepare the sauce during this time.
Prepare the sauce
- First preheat the oven to 180 C with hot air.
- Place the tomatoes, garlic and anchovies in a heavy-bottomed, ovenproof pan and drizzle with oil.
- Season with sea salt (taking into account the saltiness of the anchovies), dry chilli and add a few sprigs of thyme or oregano if you have it.
- Roast for about an hour, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are very tender and beginning to brown in spots.
- Finally, take the pan out of the oven and add the butter.
Tomato sauce perfect for pasta
Cook the pasta
- Cook the pasta in plenty of salted water.
- Check for doneness after about two minutes.
- When almost cooked, remove the pasta with tongs directly into the pan with the waiting sauce, reserving some of the cooking water.
- Finish cooking the pasta in the sauce.
- Serve immediately on warm plates with fresh basil or chopped parsley and cheese.
Don’t you want to taste?
Tomato leaf tea
Good news for all fans of homemade tea! Do you like to dry your own leaves and make interesting and unique combinations? So consider adding sun-dried tomato leaves to your repertoire. Although not in common use, it is possible to make tea from the leaves of a tomato plant, used fresh or dried. It’s true that tomato-flavored tea isn’t for everyone, but why not give it a try?
The hungry bitch