Tomatoes originated in South America. In 1518 a Spanish explorer named Cortez discovered a small, tart, red Mexican fruit. “Tomatl” as the native Aztecs called it was not popular initially when it came to Europe, as it wasn’t sweet enough as a fruit. Then an adventurous Spanish chef tried combining it with onion, oil and vinegar. Today the tomato is one of the world’s most popular fruits, though we eat it as a vegetable. The Irish tomato is popular with consumers because of its good quality and flavour. Tomatoes are a good source of Vitamins A and C.

Nutritional Value

Nutrient Raw Grilled Juice
Energy kJ 73 210 62
Kcal 17 49 14
Protein g 0.7 2.0 0.8
Carbohydrate g 3.1 8.9 3.0
Fat g 0.3 0.9 0.0

A good source of…

Nutrient Raw Grilled Juice
Fibre One Tick
Vitamin A One TickOne TickOne TickOne Tick One TickOne TickOne TickOne Tick One Tick
Vitamin E One TickOne Tick
Vitamin C One TickOne Tick One TickOne TickOne Tick One Tick
Thiamin One Tick
Niacin One Tick
Vitamin B6 One Tick
Folic Acid One Tick

For more information on nutrition and the details given above, check out our nutrition page.

Preparing and Using

Next to onions, tomatoes are one of the most important fresh ingredients in the kitchen. They can be fried, grilled, stuffed, baked, roasted, added to soups, sauces, stews, salads and served as a vegetable side dish. Blanched to remove their skins they can then be de-seeded and chopped to form a concassé. In Mediterranean cooking they are fundamental. Along with garlic and olive oil, they form the basis of so many Italian, Spanish and Provençal recipes that it is hard to find a dish in which they are not included.

Overripe tomatoes are excellent for soups. Use beefsteak or cherry tomatoes for salads, and plum tomatoes for sauces. Tomatoes are sliced across rather than downwards for salads and pizza toppings. For wedges they are cut downwards.

Among the many classic tomato dishes is tomato soup, cooked to a delicate orange colour with stock or milk, or simmered with vegetables, garlic and basil. In Provençal and Italian cooking, tomatoes are used with fish, meat and vegetables, in sauces and stuffing, with pasta and in salads.

Tomatoes can be used in a wide variety of dishes such as gazpacho, salsas, pickles, tabouleh, and chutney and can be served as a juice. Cherry tomatoes can be stuffed with a variety of fillings, for example, cream cheese or salmon mayonnaise, and used to garnish a dish or as a canapé.

Ingredients and flavours that go well with tomatoes include fish, mozzarella, olive oil, balsamic vinegar,mayonnaise, mint, chilli, coriander, and courgettes.


For some tomato recipes, visit the Bord Bia website here

Haddock with Warm Tomato Relish

This dish can be on the table in about 10 minutes, with very little work involved. It really is surprisingly simple!

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Penne with Spicy Tomato Sauce and Sizzling Bacon

This is the kind of pasta dish that is perfect for when there’s nothing much left in the fridge. It is very easy to prepare, and great served with a lightly dressed rocket salad. If you haven’t got passata, simply replace with a can of chopped tomatoes.
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