Sometimes I shop for pantry staples willy-nilly, thinking, “Yes, this is a shelf stable item that I will definitely use at some point,” tucking the item into the back of the cupboard where it waits ever so patiently. Then, months later, I open the cabinet to discover that somehow that initial item has multiplied. One can of tomatoes becomes six, with no plan for use in sight.

If canned tomatoes lurk in your cabinet, you’re in luck. We have plenty of recipes that call for them and that will allow you to get dinner on the table fast. Here are some options to try.

Tomato-Braised Cauliflower, above. A 20-minute simmer lets aromatic garlic, onion and bay leaf infuse serious flavor into cauliflower florets mixed in with canned whole tomatoes. Serve this as a side, a sauce or even on toast.


(Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Marie Ostrosky for The Washington Post)

Italian Sausage and Kalamata Olive Cast Iron Skillet Pizza. What better way to use up a can of tomatoes than pizza? You’ll want to drain excess liquid from a can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes to ensure your pie remains crisp.


(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Polenta and Shrimp With Creamy Tomato Sauce. Shrimp and grits gets an Italian twist with tomatoey shrimp over top of polenta. Reach for a can of no-salt-added diced tomatoes, which allow you to salt to your liking.


(Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

Penne With Tomato Cream Sauce. You already know pasta and tomatoes are a perfect pairing. Grab a can of crushed tomatoes and stir together this creamy sauce to take a standard tomato sauce to the next level in the simplest way.


(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Baked Eggs With Sausage, Tomatoes and Mint. There’s plenty of eggs-poached-in-sauce variations, but adding an orange — yes, an orange! — to this sauce adds a layer of sweetness that plays with mint and merguez beautifully.


(Laura Chase de Formigny for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

Wine-Braised Pot Roast. If you’re looking for melt-in-your-mouth centerpiece, look no further. The base for this braise is a can of whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by the back of a spoon, and just under a cup of red, red wine.


(Stacy Zarin Goldberg for The Washington Post; food styling by Amanda Soto/The Washington Post)

Simple Butter Chicken. Grab a can of tomato sauce and you’re that much closer to an easy butter chicken that will make your average weeknight dinner a smashing success.

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