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11 Ways to Use Canned Tomatoes That Don’t Include Spaghetti Sauce

Canned tomatoes are one of those ingredients I can never figure out how to use. Because they’re affordable and nutritionally equivalent to fresh-off-the-vine tomatoes, I always have at least one can in my pantry. But when it comes time to cook with them, pasta sauce is the only recipe that springs to mind. I like pasta sauce as much as the next girl, but it’s going to get boring if it’s the only thing I’m making with my canned tomatoes.

There are different kinds of canned tomatoes: canned tomato sauce is a smooth puree, diced tomatoes are chopped up and swimming in thin tomato juice, crushed tomatoes are like a super chunky sauce, and whole tomatoes are peeled tomatoes in juice. While you can sort of substitute some types for others in a pinch—chop up whole tomatoes to use as diced tomatoes, or used crushed tomatoes instead of tomato sauce for a chunkier consistency—it’s much easier to just use exactly what the recipe calls for. No matter what type of canned tomato you’re buying, opt for cans with little to no salt added, so that you can season to taste.

Not sure where to start? These 11 recipes are here to help. While you can’t use canned tomatoes in all the ways you might use a fresh tomato, you’ll be surprised at how versatile they can be. From sandwiches to chili to salsa, there’s bound to be an idea here that you love.

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