The Benefits of Sun-dried Tomatoes

Contributing chef and marathoner Nate Appleman shares his favorite ways to use this solar powered fruit.


Nate Appleman, Yishane Lee;

Image by

Ben Alsop

Published in Runners World

September 25, 2014

Compared with fresh, sun-dried tomatoes contain 20 percent more lycopene per serving.

These intensely flavored, sun-kissed beauties are a concentrated source of nutrients. They provide vitamins C and K, iron, and lycopene, an antioxidant associated with lower risk of certain cancers. You'll find them available dry or packed in oil (the latter are softer and easier to blend into recipes). "I like the umami quality that sun-dried tomatoes give any dish," says Appleman, culinary manager of Chipotle Mexican Grill. "They add so much depth, and the taste reminds me of summer, no matter what time of year it is." He uses them in salads, sandwiches, sauces, and dressings, or eats them with just a sprinkle of herbs.

Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce with Pasta
"This is one of my favorite pastas to make. It's fast, easy, and tasty."

1 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup almonds, toasted
2 anchovies
1 clove garlic
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano
1 tsp. salt

Start cooking a pound of pasta. In a food processor, combine all ingredients listed. Process until just blended. Stir in 1/2 cup pasta cooking water. Toss sauce with hot pasta. Top with grated Parmesan.

Nutrition per Serving:
Makes 6 servings (nutrition data calculated for pasta tossed with sauce)

Calories: 566
Carbs: 62 g
Fiber: 4 g
Protein: 6 g 
Total fat: 29 g 
Saturated fat: 5 g
Sodium: 554 mg 

Veggie Dip
"The combo of sesame and concentrated tomato flavor is amazing. This can double as dressing."

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 cup tahini
1 clove garlic
2 Tbsp. lemon juice

In a food processor, combine all ingredients; process until blended. Season with salt. To use as dressing, add water, a little at a time, to thin to desired consistency.

Nutrition per Serving:
Makes 1 cup (8 two-tablespoon servings)

Calories: 139 
Carbs: 5 g
Fiber: 1 g
Protein: 3 g 
Total fat: 13 g 
Saturated fat: 2 g 
Sodium: 54 mg 

Flavored Butter
"Melt a pat or two of this butter on grilled steak, chicken, or salmon."

1/2 cup butter, softened
3 Tbsp. finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes Handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced Ground black pepper

In a mixer or by hand, stir together all ingredients. To meld flavors, refrigerate for an hour before using.

Nutrition per Serving:
Makes 1/2 cup (8 one-tablespoon servings)

Calories: 105 
Carbs: 0 g
Fiber: 0 g
Protein: 0 g 
Total fat: 12 g 
Saturated fat: 7 g 
Sodium: 105 mg