Healthy Tomato Relish (great on burgers and steak)

tomato relish - finished with burger

I am a ketchup girl. I use it on nearly every type of meat I eat, and I add it to certain other foods as well, such as potatoes, rice, and eggs. Most people are aghast when they see me adding ketchup to a steak, but I love the way it tastes, and I’m not ashamed!

(And do you know what’s even better than ketchup? Ketchup and mayo mixed together. Mmmmm, now I’m drooling Homer Simpson-style.)

But now that I’m on a diet and eating healthy and whatnot, I’ve taken the step of cutting ketchup from my diet. It really hasn’t been too hard, thanks to a simple recipe I learned when I was doing the South Beach Diet almost a decade ago.

Tomato relish.

What makes something a “relish”? To be honest, I’m still not entirely sure, even after googling it for the purpose of writing this blog post. I mean, look at this opening paragraph from wikipedia:

The item generally consists of discernible vegetable or fruit pieces in a sauce, although the sauce is subordinate in character to the vegetable or fruit pieces. It might consist of a single type of vegetable or fruit, or a combination of these. These fruits or vegetables might be coarsely or finely chopped, but generally a relish is not as smooth as a sauce-type condiment, such as ketchup. The overall taste sensation might be sweet or savory, hot or mild, but it is always a strong flavor that complements or adds to the primary food item with which it is served.

Ummm…what? Could that be any more confusing? The only part that made sense to me is this: “generally a relish is not as smooth as a sauce-type condiment, such as ketchup.”

Anyway, I don’t know why this recipe is called “tomato relish” as opposed to “sauteed onions and tomatoes,” but it is what it is. And what it is is: delicious. I’ve been putting it on burgers and steaks, and I don’t even think about ketchup any more (although I do still think about mayo. Sometimes I’ll add a dollop of mayo to the relish. It’s heavenly.).


This recipe is good for two hamburgers. I like to double or even triple the recipe when I make it so there’s enough to last all week.

I really like onions, so I’ll usually use two onions instead of just one. In the pictures below, I used three tomatoes and two onions.

Healthy Tomato Relish


  • Two tomatoes
  • One onion, chopped
  • One clove of garlic
  • Teaspoon of basil
  • Salt and pepper


Heat up some olive oil, then saute the onions and garlic over a low to medium flame until the onions are soft and a little brown, maybe 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and basil, give it a good stir, and then cook until the tomatoes are soft, stirring occasionally. The total cooking time is about 20 minutes.

When the tomatoes are soft I usually turn the flame down low but keep it going  until the rest of my food is ready. From what I’ve seen, you can’t really overcook it.

tomato relish - cooked onionstomato relish - add tomatoes and spicestomato relish - cook til softtomato relish - mixed with mayo

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