Guilty by association, tomato ketchup’s reputation has suffered due to its close relationship with fast food. Yet, ketchup retains the antioxidant benefits of tomatoes and there is no reason to consider it unhealthy – especially if you make this no added sugar recipe. A well made ketchup is thick, concentrated and packed full of tomato goodness. Tomatoes are exceedingly rich sources of carotenoids, naturally colourful compounds which you may recall were mentioned in last week’s recipe for pumpkin soup. The remarkable thing about carotenoids is that they have been proven to bring a visible glow to the complexion if consumed regularly. Studies at both the University of St Andrews and the University of Nottingham have confirmed that this carotenoid ‘glow’ is perceived as both more attractive and more healthy. The effect becomes visible after six weeks on a carotenoid rich diet.
Carotenoids are best absorbed with fat in a meal. Chopping, puréeing, and cooking carotenoid containing vegetables in oil generally increases the bioavailability of the carotenoids they contain – making ketchup the perfect vehicle for boosting dietary carotenoid. Unlike commercial ketchup this recipe contains no added sugar.
Makes about 500ml
10 medium tomatoes (about 1kg)
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
A pinch of chilli flakes
3 bay leaves
1 tsp ground coriander
30ml balsamic vinegar
Apple cider vinegar to taste
Salt and black pepper
1 Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/gas mark 5. Wash the tomatoes then cut them in half and place on a lined baking sheet. Lightly drizzle with coconut oil and a pinch of salt. Place in the oven and roast for 30 minutes or so, until the tomatoes are caramelised and fragrant.
2 While the tomatoes are cooking, heat some oil in a large pan and add the onions, a pinch of salt, black pepper, garlic, chilli flakes, bay leaves, and coriander. Cook until the onions soften slightly – about 5 minutes. When the bottom of the pan gets dry, pour in the balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan.
3 Once cool, remove the star anise and bay leaves and set aside for later. Place the tomatoes and cooked onions in a food processor and blend to form a puree. Using the back of a wooden spoon or spatula, press the puree through a mesh sieve back into the pan. (You can save the fibrous leftovers for a tomato-based soup or stew.)
4 Return the star anise and bay leaves to the pan, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until thickened (5-10 minutes). Season to taste. If it is not tangy enough, add 2-3 tsp of apple cider vinegar.
5 Once the ketchup has slightly cooled, pour into a clean glass container and store in the fridge for a week. It also freezes well.