Sun Dried Tomatoes: Best Brand Reviews & Recipes

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Many people wonder, why buy sun-dried tomatoes when ripe, red, fresh, juicy, inviting tomatoes, wait on the supermarket shelves. There are plenty of good reasons! It’s nutritious, easy to store, and flavorful!

What is sun-dried Tomato?

As the name suggests, sun-dried tomatoes have been dehydrated by exposing them to the sun or other dehydrating mechanisms. Doing so, they lose their water content and the heat increases their antioxidant (lycopene) level by almost twelve percent. These shriveled, chewy, tomatoes become flavor bombs with increased sweetness, a hint of saltiness, and are tangier.

When you use them in salads, pasta, bread, meat, garnishing, they give a burst of intense flavor. Not only that, sun-dried tomatoes are a wonderful source of vitamin C and vitamin K, fiber, and niacin. You have a choice between sun dried tomatoes that need to be reconstructed and the ones that are dipped in oil.

To help you choose the best sun dried tomatoes we will take you through some of the most popular sun dried tomato brands.

Top Rated Best Sun Dried Tomatoes in 2021

Jansal Valley Red Sundried Tomatoes, 1 Pound

The Jansal Valley Red Sundried Tomatoes occupy one of the top spots among the best sun dried tomatoes that need to be reconstructed.

These halved dehydrated tomatoes can be reconstructed easily in water, wine, or broth as your recipe demands. The process is simple. Before using, take out the number of tomatoes you want and let them sit in a bowl of warm liquid of your choice. Cover the bowl and soak the tomatoes for about thirty minutes to get plump, juicy tomatoes.

The package is well sealed to retain the freshness of the tomatoes. Once the pack is opened, it can be kept in the refrigerator.

These sun dried tomatoes go well with seafood, vegetables, meat, pasta, and pizza topping. The taste and texture are wonderful with a burst of flavor.

The ingredients are tomatoes, salt, glucose syrup, citric acid, preservatives. As they already contain a certain amount of salt, we recommend you keep that in mind when you add salt to your recipe.

The halved tomatoes can be conveniently cut into strips or diced as required. The vine-ripened, sun-dried tomatoes have a fresh, well-balanced tangy-sweet flavor. We rate this product 4 ½ out of 5 for its flavor and quality.

Sunbest Natural Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Halves, Resealable Bag, 2lb

A product of Turkey; the Sunbest natural sun dried tomatoes are dark red and need reconstruction before cooking. They are low on sodium and high on dietary fiber.

These halved tomatoes offer intense flavor with a sweet taste and an enjoyable chewy texture unlike, some sun-dried tomatoes that are leathery and difficult to chew up. They are easy to chop into desired sizes. When soaking in water or olive oil for reconstruction and while cooking, the sun-dried tomatoes do not melt away but firmly hold up their shape and texture.

These Kosher-certified tomatoes taste great in pizzas, stews, vegetables, sauces, stews, salad toppings, and various other recipes. You can also serve them as appetizers with dips and cheese.

When stored in airtight bags or containers in the refrigerator, these dehydrated tomatoes last as long as sixteen months. The airtight container helps them to retain their freshness, original flavor, and avoid absorbing humidity and odor from other food.

Nutrient-rich sun-dried tomatoes are a good source of vitamin C, K, and iron.

We give this brand of sundried tomatoes 4 out of 5 as it contains some preservatives and lacks consistency in quality.

California Sun, Dry Sun dried Julienne Cut Tomatoes with Herbs – 8.5 Oz , (Pack of 2)

If you are looking for the most convenient and the best sun dried tomatoes soaked in blended oil the California Sun Dry sun-dried julienne cut tomatoes with herbs is a good choice.

The sliced sun-dried tomatoes are soaked in a blend of canola and extra virgin oil along with flavorful spices, onion, garlic, salt, and preservative to help retain the color of the tomatoes.

For superior texture and flavor, the pre-cut tomatoes are dried slowly over seven to ten days before they are processed. No chopping, no mess, save time and add these sun-dried tomatoes to your food straight from the glass jar. Add mouth-watering, delectable, flavor to pasta, pizza, spaghetti, lasagna, salads, soups, appetizers, sautéed chicken, or any savory dish.

Once opened, the jar of sun-dried tomatoes requires refrigeration to stay fresh. Bring on the creativity and try using these flavorful tomatoes with oil and herbs to give your recipes a unique, appetizing twist!

It easily gets 4 ½ out of 5 due to its potent flavor and superior texture.

35 oz Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes Julienne Cut in Olive Oil (Original Version)

Packed with flavors, the Bella Sun Luci sun-dried julienne cut tomatoes are available in different sizes.

Rich in nutrients and antioxidants, these gluten-free, Kosher, sliced sun-dried tomatoes are soaked in extra virgin olive oil seasoned with Italian herbs.

Once you use it you will know why this brand is one of the best sun dried tomatoes. It’s flavor-rich, delicious, with vibrant red color. You can add some to your vegetable sautés, toasted bread, sandwich, spaghetti, pasta, soups, to add an intense flavor.

The tomatoes are slightly salty, with a dense flavor concentration. You won’t need too much to turn around a bland dish into a delicious savory surprise!

This is a healthy ingredient to have in your kitchen to add fiber to your diet and to and cut down on cholesterol and carbohydrate without depriving your food of deliciousness.

This popular brand scores a 4½ on a scale of 5 due to its ability to retain its freshness and color even when stored for months in the refrigerator. On the flip side, opening the jar can be tricky and it may spill or leak oil.  

Naturevibe Botanicals Dehydrated Tomato Flakes, 8 ounces | Ready to cook | Adds Flavor and Taste

Adding dried tomato flakes can be one of the best ways to infuse, texture, and flavor into your food. The ready-to-cook, Naturevibe Botanicals dehydrated tomato flakes taste wonderful in bread, pasta, crockpot chili, vinaigrettes, hummus, soups, stew, salads, pizza, and meat and vegetable stuffing. This is also a wonderful ingredient to add into homemade sauces as a sweet, tangy, and zesty seasoning.

If you don’t plan to sprinkle dry, rushes tomato as a topping, the easiest way to rehydrate the tomato flakes is by adding how water and covering them for an hour or two.

The intense dried tomato smell can be overwhelming and the look maybe a little disappointing, but once rehydrated and added to food these tomatoes are flavorful with a good texture.

The best part is these dehydrated tomato flakes have a two-year shelf life when stored in an air-tight container, away from light and humidity.

We recommend you to use these chemical-free, preservative-free, healthy tomato flakes with recipes that include some liquid. That will help the tomatoes to absorb the juice while cooking and turn into pulpy, soft, flavorful, tomatoes.

Yupik Organic Julienned Sun-Dried Tomatoes, 2.2 lb

Sliced and diced, just right for sandwiches, salads, quiche, soups, stews, and savory recipes, the Yupik organic julienned sun-dried tomatoes are a cheaper choice compared to the ones soaked in oil. This product is Kosher certified.

The all-natural, non-GMO, dehydrated tomatoes are flavorful and perfect for adding texture and a tangy flavor to any dish. You can grind them and add to meat, sauces, and poultry or soak them in olive oil if you like.

These tomatoes are a little salty so soak them in water to drain out some of the salt if you plan to have them as a snack.

Store them in air-tight containers, in a cool dry place, or refrigerate after opening to retain the flavor.

On a scale of 5, we would give this a 4 for its quality, one of the best organic options, and depth of flavor. These sun-dried tomatoes have a peculiar smell that everyone may not appreciate and are visually not very appealing due to the lack of preservatives.

Sun-dried tomatoes are reconstructed before use
Reconstructed sun-dried tomatoes with herbs by Pixabay/ Brett_Hondow

How to choose the best sun dried tomatoes?

You may think how difficult can it be to pick a pack of sun-dried tomatoes? Once you start looking for the best sun dried tomatoes you may be baffled by the wide range of choices available. Keeping a few things in mind will help you choose what’s best for your kitchen.

Ingredients

Ingredients are the first things to look at when buying any food product. The same rule applies to sun dried tomatoes too. The best sun-dried tomatoes are those that are organic and packed without preservatives. Most sun-dried tomatoes contain salt and some are too salty to eat out of hand as snacks. Check the sodium content before adding them to your shopping cart.

Package Size

Sun-dried tomatoes are packed to cater to different quantity requirements. What’s best for you will depend on your family size, how often you use the ingredient, how long can you preserve it. Before buying sun-dried tomatoes, read the label to choose the ideal package size for your kitchen.

Dry or Soaked in Oil

Sun-dried tomatoes are available in two versions, dry and soaked in oil.

The dry version looks similar to dried fruit. They are hard, dehydrated, chewy, and need reconstruction. The best way to make them juicy is to soak them in hot water or broth for a couple of hours. Or, you can add them to stews, soups, or any kind of food that has liquid at an early stage of cooking.

The sun-dried tomatoes that are soaked in oil are also dried in the same way as the dry-packed version. The oil-pickled tomatoes are softer and ready to use, with a pleasant punch of flavor. They are often added to oil seasoned with garlic and herbs when packed. Read the label on the jar to see what kind of oil, spices, and herbs have been used, to choose the one you like best.

Form of Tomato

Halved, julienned, or thin strips, flakes, sun-dried tomatoes come in packs of different shapes and sizes. If you want to stuff your tomatoes, halves are better. For adding to sauces or blending, flakes could be the best choice. Juliennes go well as a pizza topping, with vegetables, and meat. You can always cut bigger sun-dried tomatoes into smaller pieces.

Everyone has their personal preferences, choose according to yours.

Shelf life

Most sun-dried has a long shelf life as they are already dehydrated. They last for one to two years when stored properly. These dry dehydrated or oil-pickled tomatoes can be stored safely in a dry area, at room temperature. However, refrigeration after opening the pack delays rancidity.

All the best sun-dried tomato brands come with storage instructions. Read carefully and follow to preserve the flavor, color, and texture of the sun-dried tomatoes.

Preservatives

The most common preservative found in sun-dried tomatoes is sulfur dioxide. Pre-treating the tomatoes with the chemical before exposing them to the sun helps them to preserve quality, appearance, and the dark red color.

Many brands that claim their product to be completely organic often treat the tomatoes with salt.

Some Recipes You Can Try with Sun-dried Tomatoes

Sun-dried tomatoes add a sweet-tangy taste to pasta
A plate of cooked spinach, tomato, pasta by Pixabay/ dbreen

Sun-dried Tomato, Tuna, & Spinach Pasta

If you enjoyMediterranean flavors and greens in your pasta, you will not be able to resist this recipe. The combination of sun dried tomatoes, tuna, and healthy spinach not only adds vibrancy to the pasta but also packs it with nutrition and the goodness of lovely flavors.

It’s easy to make in a skillet and is ready within 15-20 minutes.

Prep time: 10 min

Cook: 10 min

Level: Easy

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • Whole wheat pasta – 2 cups 
  • Olive oil – 1 tablespoon 
  • Minced garlic – 1 tablespoon 
  • Sun-dried tomatoes – ½ cup 
  • Fresh lemon juice – ½ lemon
  • Canned Tuna (drained) 10 oz 
  •  Chopped fresh spinach – 2 cups
  • Pepper powder – To taste
  • Salt – For boiling pasta and taste

Steps:

  • Cook the pasta according as instructed by the brand. It takes approximately eight to ten minutes. Set aside.
  • Heat (medium-high flame) olive oil in a large skillet. Add minced garlic and cook for 20-30 seconds till the garlic gives a nice aroma.
  • Add sun-dried tomatoes and lemon juice. Stir and cook for about a couple of minutes until fragrant.
  • Add tuna, salt, pepper, and mix well so that the flavor is combined uniformly.
  • Add pasta and chopped spinach. Mix well and cook a minute until the spinach changes its color.
  • Remove from heat and serve.

Tip: Add Cheddar or Parmesancheese while tossing the pasta to make it yummier!

Roasted Eggplant with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

How would you like some smoky roasted eggplants pureed with sun-dried tomatoes, spices, and fresh herbs? Sounds delicious? Here’s your recipe to try for a delish delight. It goes as a dip, spread, or side.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 5

Level: Medium

Ingredients:

  • Eggplants – 2 large
  • Sun-dried tomatoes (dry or in oil) – 1/4 cup
  • Olive oil – 1/6 cup
  • Salt to taste
  • Garlic – 1 clove
  • Fresh herbs – 1/2 cup (chopped leaf only – parsley or cilantro)
  • Green chili peppers – 2 (de-seeded, chopped finely)
  • Finely chopped red onions – 2 tablespoons

Steps:

  • Reconstruct, if you are using dry sun-dried tomatoes.
  • In a boil setting, preheat the oven to 500 °F.
  • Poke the skin of the eggplants with a fork in several places and slice the eggplants into half (vertically).
  • Brush the eggplants lightly with some olive oil.
  • Use a foil to line a baking tray and place the eggplants with the skin-side up and cook for 30 minutes till the flesh softens and the skin looks black. You can char them on the flame too for a stronger smoky flavor.
  • Remove/peel-off the charred eggplant skin.
  • Place the flesh in a food processor. Add soft sun-dried tomatoes, salt, garlic, and process with a continuous stream of olive oil (till it turns into a creamy mash.
  • Remove the puree and add chopped onions, chilies, and herbs. Mix well to give it an even flavor.
  • Spread over bread, enjoy as a dip, or a side dish.

Tip: You can garnish it with roasted almonds, cashews, pine nuts, or smoky paprika to add a special touch.

Sun-dried tomatoes make delicious filling
Chicken breast cutlet stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes by Pixabay/ DagnyWalter

Chicken Cutlets with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

If you are fond of juicy chicken breast with a Mediterranean flavor, this easy- to-make chicken cutlet recipe is worth a try!

Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 5min

Level: Easy

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • Skinless chicken breasts – 2 boneless (butterfly – cut it horizontally to open like a book)
  • Salt –To taste
  • Pepper – To taste
  • Dried parsley – To taste
  • Sun-dried tomatoes – ½ cup
  • Garlic – 1 clove (crushed)
  • Paprika – To taste
  • Cheese of your choice (preferably grated parmesan cheese and Gruyere cheese)

Steps:

  • Season the chicken breasts with salt, garlic, pepper, paprika, dried parsley and set aside for 15 minutes.
  • Fill the half of the butterfly with cheese and reconstructed sun-dried tomatoes.
  • Close the butterfly by folding it in half and secure it with a toothpick.
  • Heat olive oil in a frying pan. Place the chicken and fry both sides until browned.

FAQs

What are the different dishes in which I can use sun-dried tomatoes?

Sun-dried tomatoes were originally used in Italian cuisine. Over time, it has become a popular ingredient in other European countries and America. Sun-dried tomatoes can be used in salads, pasta recipes, soups, vegetables, sautés, dips, sandwiches, poultry, meat, and innumerable other recipes. They can be a flavor-booster in sandwiches, stews, stuffed vegetables due to their intense tomato flavor.

How do best sun dried tomatoes look and taste?

The sun-dried tomatoes (dry packed) are chewy and bone-dry. They look dark, brownish, and red depending on the variety of the tomato. They need reconstruction to become soft and juicy. As these are dehydrated tomatoes, they have quite an intense and concentrated flavor that can be described as a delicious mix of sweet-tart and savory.

Do the best sun dried tomatoes retain their nutrients?

When sun-dried, the water-soluble vitamins B and C are mostly lost from the tomatoes. However, vitamin A and K, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, that are not soluble in water become more concentrated as the water from the tomatoes evaporates.

Which is the most suitable variety for making the best sun dried tomatoes?

Red plum tomatoes or Roma tomatoes were the preferred variety for traditional sun-dried tomatoes. However, sun-dried sweet cherry tomatoes are considered to retain the best flavor.

How can use the leftover sun dried tomato oil?

Not only are the oil-pickled sun-dried tomatoes flavorful but the oil in which they are preserved also absorbs the tomato and spice flavor. Once you have used up the tomatoes from the jar, do not discard the oil. Use it to sauté, drizzle on salads, add to marinades, add a few drops to purees or dips to get gift aromatic addition to your food.

Why choose sun dried tomatoes over fresh tomatoes?

Sun-dried tomatoes not only make a convenient replacement for fresh tomatoes in the kitchen but are packed with health benefits. There are several reasons why people prefer sun dried tomatoes over fresh tomatoes.

It is thought that including sun-dried tomatoes in the diet could reduce the risk of several age-related medical conditions like an eye disease called macular degeneration and some kinds of cancers. The enhanced antioxidant properties protect the skin and help it to stay younger. Additionally, sun-dried tomatoes are a good source of dietary fiber, aid the digestive system, and boost immunity.

Sun-dried tomatoes have a concentrated flavor and are tastier than fresh tomatoes.

These tomatoes have a longer shelf life as most of the moisture has been removed during the drying process. That makes the skin thicker, which in turn prevents the decay of the fruit by bacteria and microorganisms. The process of drying reduces the natural enzymes due to which fruits quickly turn mushy. 

Sources:

https://www.italianfoodforever.com/2013/04/product-review-bella-sun-luci-sun-dried-tomatoes/

https://gistgear.com/home/food/sundried-tomatoes

https://www.thespruceeats.com/sun-dried-tomatoes-cooking-tips-1808066

Image Source:

Featured image: https://pixabay.com/photos/tomatoes-sun-dried-tomatoes-oil-2500856/

Buying guide section: https://pixabay.com/photos/sun-dried-tomatoes-tomatoes-tomato-1334369/

Recipes:

https://pixabay.com/photos/pasta-sausage-cheese-fork-bowl-1081128/

https://pixabay.com/photos/fillet-poultry-cutlet-meal-food-2334514/

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