How to Dehydrate Tomatoes + Gluten-Free Fusilli with Oven-Dried Tomatoes

Preserve your bounty of summer tomatoes with this easy oven-dried technique, and toss them into this healthy family dinner made with gluten-free pasta and a low-fat cheese sauce.

Gluten-Free Fusilli with Oven-Dried Tomatoes via

Right now, my garden is bursting with late-summer tomatoes, so this month’s Recipe Redux challenge was right up my alley … sort of.
The Challenge: “Whether it’s extra garden bounty or a sale at the supermarket – dehydrating food is a budget-friendly way to stock up for later. You can use a food dehydrator, a low slow oven, or natural sunshine to preserve natural healthfulness. Show us how you like to dehydrate, or a healthy recipe for how you enjoy using dehydrated fruits, veggies or other bounty.

Garden Tomatoes via

Here’s my husband, Don, picking tomatoes from our garden. He’s the Green Thumb in our family; I’m the Sous Chef :)

So how do you dry tomatoes if you don’t own a dehydrator, which was the dilemma I was facing? Well, I reached out to our Meal Makeover Mom Facebook community and asked for their advice, and I did some good old-fashioned Googling. The solution was simple: Use the oven.

How to dehydrate tomatoes via

First, I cut the tomatoes in half and squeezed out most of the seeds and inside pulp. (I was told that removing this moisture would speed up the drying process.) Next, I cut the tomatoes into 1/4-inch slices. This was a bit tricky, but since the tomatoes were being dehydrated, I didn’t obsess with perfection.

How to dehydrate tomatoes via

I tossed the tomato slices with 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil, spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and sprinkled with sea salt. (You can also use kosher salt).

How to dehydrate tomatoes via

I read somewhere that cooking the tomatoes between 170°F and 250°F is best, so I decided to use my Kenmore convection oven, and I set it to 180°F degrees. FYI: When using convection, set the temperature 25 degrees lower.

How to dehydrate tomatoes via

When I told Don the tomatoes would probably be in the oven for four hours, he wondered what the cost of the electricity would be! Thank goodness we have solar panels on the roof. The tomatoes cooked and cooked and cooked until finally, after 4-plus hours, I couldn’t take it anymore and removed them. As suspected, they lost most of their moisture and shriveled up.

How to dehydrate tomatoes via

Here’s what 10 tomatoes looked like after they were dehydrated. Don’t you love all the different shapes and sizes? I added about half of these gems to my gluten-free pasta recipe with low-fat cheese sauce, and I’ll probably use the rest to make bruschetta. You can also freeze any leftovers in zip-top bags for up to three months.

Gluten-Free Fusilli with Oven-Dried Tomatoes via #glutenfree #lowfat #cheese #sauce #dehydrated #tomatoes

I decided to make a creamy pasta dish with a low-fat cheese sauce for dinner, and my daughter, Leah, loved it so much, she asked for seconds. (Not bad for a sometimes-finicky eater.) She even helped me style the photo with those gorgeous oven-dried tomatoes on top.

Gluten-Free Fusilli with Oven-Dried Tomatoes

Makes 8 Servings

I made this recipe with gluten-free brown rice and quinoa fusilli from Trader Joe’s since my mom is on a low-gluten diet. You can certainly use any type of pasta your family loves, and if you don’t have the patience to dehydrate your own tomatoes, use the store-bought, sun-dried kind.

  • 1 pound Brown Rice & Quinoa Fusilli pasta
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups 1% low-fat milk
  • 2 cups all natural chicken broth
  • 2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped dehydrated tomatoes

1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

2. While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil and butter over medium-low heat in a large saucepan until the butter melts. Add the flour and whisk constantly until smooth, about 2 minutes.

3. Whisk the milk and broth slowly into the flour mixture. Raise the heat and bring to a low boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and continue to simmer and stir gently until the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes.

4. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese and tomatoes until the cheese melts. Best to serve right away.

Nutrition Information per Serving (about 1 cup): 390 calories, 13g fat (4.5g saturated fat), 380mg sodium, 53g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 16g protein, 10% vitamin A, 30% vitamin C

Print Recipe

Tequila bottle via

When I told my sister, Diane, that I was writing a post on dehydrating, she told me I’d save myself a lot of time if I simply posted a photo of an empty bottle of tequila and told my readers that I drank it and dehydrated myself. Funny, isn’t she? Liz will likely disapprove of this picture, but hey, it’s my blog post. :)

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Pumpkin Chia Pudding via

Autumn is in the air, and after an action-packed weekend at the first annual Blog Brûlée healthy blogger retreat at Smugglers’ Notch in Vermont, we created this healthy and delicious, fall-inspired Pumpkin Chia Pudding recipe for you and your family. (As invited speakers, our travel and lodging was paid for, and we received an honorarium.) We’ll [more]

Easy Chicken & Rice Meatball Soup

Chicken & Rice Meatball Soup via

This Chicken & Rice Meatball Soup was created for the Boston kickoff of the Ben’s Beginners Cooking Contest sponsored by Uncle Ben’s. It’s an easy recipe that your kids can cook with you, and it’s healthy and delicious too!  This week, we helped Uncle Ben’s kick off the third annual Ben’s Beginners Cooking Contest at [more]

Asian Pork Tenderloin and My Adventures in Oregon (Podcast #252)

Asian Pork Tenderloin via

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Wild Blueberry & Chia Smoothie via

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Avocado & Banana Frosty via

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Back to School Good Nutrition Tips via

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Peachy Peanut Butter Sandwich Bites

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New Proposed Seafood Guidelines for Pregnant Women and a Recipe for Tilapia Wraps with Corn Salsa {Podcast Episode #250}

Tilapia Wraps with Corn Salsa via

Pregnant women and women of child-bearing age should eat more seafood. That’s the latest proposed recommendation from the Food and Drug Administration. To explain why seafood is critical for a healthy pregnancy, dispel concerns about mercury, and share ideas for adding more fish to the diet, we invited fellow dietitian and mom-to-be, Jennifer McGuire, MS, RD [more]