Nourishing Literacy | Talking About Tomatoes!

By Shayna M. RSS Fri, July 30, 2021

Tomatoes are available in different sizes and colors—canned, dried, powdered, juiced, sauced, or fresh—and can be found in many different recipes and preparations.

The tomatoes in the following dish are smashed with hands, without the use of any sharp tools. If preferred, a knife could be used to chop the tomatoes into small pieces. This recipe calls for raw tomatoes, but roasted or sautéed tomatoes could be used instead. Are there any spices that you would use instead of or in addition to the fresh herbs? Is there a protein food such as chicken, tuna, or toasted nuts that you would like to add to this recipe?

Tomatoes with Pasta

No Sharp Tools Needed
15 minutes
4 to 6 Servings


  • ½ cup fresh ​herbs ​or 1 teaspoon dried herbs, such as basil, oregano, or parsley (optional)
  • 4 cups ​cooked pasta
  • 2 tablespoons​ oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped ​garlic ​or ¼ teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon ​salt
  • ½ teaspoon ​black pepper ​(optional)
  • 2 cups ​tomatoes

Kitchen Utensils and Tools

  • Large bowl
  • Large spoon
  • Set of measuring cups
  • Set of measuring spoons
  • Towel (for hands


  1. If using fresh herbs,​ tear​ them into pieces with clean hands (optional step).
  2. Add​ everything to a large bowl except for the tomatoes.
  3. With clean hands ​squeeze, smash, and rip​ the tomatoes into small pieces.
  4. Stir​ everything together.

Garden to Table: A Kid’s Guide to Planting, Growing, and Preparing Food​ by Katherine Hengel, includes ideas and recipes for food grown from scratch—including tomatoes! This book has helpful information for all ages and interest levels. You can place a hold on this book in our catalog and check it out in person, with the use of your library card.


Storytelling and Folklore

The library is an incredible resource for folklore, stories, and storytelling! Here is a fun, creative, and educational activity that incorporates... tomatoes!


  • Paper and writing supply (optional)
  • Phone (optional)


  1. Think of, write down, or draw some images, words, and/or ideas that come to mind around tomatoes.
  2. Using your imagination, create a story that includes tomatoes, while also being personal to you, your interests, and/or your culture.
  3. Try to incorporate these elements into your story:
    • Beginning and end
    • Memorable characters
    • Conflict and resolution
  4. You can write your story down, draw a picture of it, or express it verbally.
  5. If possible and of interest, try creating an audio recording of your story. As you listen back, is there any part of the story that you would like to change? Anything that you would like to add?

Watch and listen as our Nourishing Literacy staff continues Talking About Tomatoes on our YouTube channel!

And don't forget to browse our catalog for more terrific tomato titles!

Nourishing Literacy offers food, literacy, wellness, and life skills activities and events to community members, with our core audience being the children, youth, teachers, and caregivers. Nourishing Literacy is made possible in part by a generous grant from the Edna G. Kynett Memorial Foundation.

To learn more about the Culinary Literacy Center, please visit our website or connect with us through Instagram and Facebook.

Have a question for Free Library staff? Please submit it to our Ask a Librarian page and receive a response within two business days.

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