The first time I read about a research study on eating tomatoes, I went to the bandwagon extremes of eating a tablespoon of tomato paste a day—for 6 weeks!

Tomatoes contain lycopene, a potent antioxidant, and the study suggests how it can protect the skin against UV rays. (A weekend beach trip was in my future and the idea of prolonged, uncontrolled sun exposure was causing me way more anxiety than even bathing suit anxiety!)

Binging on tomato paste—or any superfood—is ridiculous, of course, but eating tomatoes for health benefits is not a crazy beauty hack. Antioxidants protect the skin from environmental exposures and lycopene has been linked to reducing the risk of cancer.

Your skin loves tomatoes and a homemade marinara sauce is a delicious, hearty and clean comfort food.

Make marinara
I’ve been making this simple homemade marinara sauce with canned San Marzano tomatoes ever since Frank Stitt’s Bottega cookbook entered my kitchen.

Chef Stitt’s recipe, although very basic, reminds me of the love that comes from cooking with fresh, whole food ingredients.

Scratch-made marinara makes any home-cooked pasta, cauliflower crust pizza or baked Parmesan dish that much better minus the added sugar found in most store-bought tomato sauces.

I literally crave this marinara; perhaps my body craves it. I can’t resist eating it right off the stove, ladling it into a mug to savor like a warm homemade tomato soup, ever sneaking back to the kitchen for just a spoonful more.

Marinara needs to simmer on the stove for hours, but the prep work is quick and easy. The vegetables are roughly chopped, not diced with precision, so there’s not too much time spent standing over a cutting board.

Ah, but don’t rush it.

Open a bottle of wine, pour yourself a glass and savor the ritual. After all, when you’re cooking with wine as the Italians do, you’re also drinking it.


Meal prep tip: Make a double batch and freeze for pulling out to top pizzas, pasta dishes and meatballs.

If you love this recipe and embrace the concept of “beauty from within,” see my 6 super skin glow foods.