8 Ways To Use Tomatoes That You Haven't Tried Before
Better than just on your salad or in your sauce.
Summer is great: grilling and hanging out by the pool. But my favorite part of summer = tomatoes. When I was a kid, I'd walk around and eat them like apples (and ruined many good shirts...). And especially if you can get your hands on some grown in someone's back yard or from the farmer's market...mmm mmm. But tomatoes deserve more creativity than they're normally given in the kitchen--with a little imagination tomatoes can be transformed into even tastier dishes (I know, I know, hard to believe. Just trust me).
1. Roasted Tomato Hummus
If you've ever made your own hummus, you know it's wayyy better than the store bought stuff. Next time you whip up a batch, try this tomato variation instead of your same-ol garlic go-to.
- ¾ cup grape tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 15 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1-2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Place tomatoes on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
3. Combine the chickpeas, remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, garlic, tahini, lemon juice and salt in a food processor. Process until smooth. Add water, one tablespoon at a time, for a thinner consistency, if desired.
4. Add tomatoes, reserving a few for garnish, and smoked paprika and process until smooth.
5. Scoop hummus into a bowl. Top with reserved tomatoes. Serve with fresh vegetables or pita chips.
2. Stuffed Heirloom Tomatoes with Flageolet Beans and Thyme
Heirloom tomatoes are the QUEEN of the tomato fam--sweet, meaty, and beautiful to boot. This light delight will fill you up and leave you wishing you had room for seconds.
- ½ cup flageolet beans
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 anchovy filets, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
- ⅓ cup pine nuts
- 8 large heirloom tomatoes
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ½ cup whole-grain sourdough breadcrumbs
1. Dump the beans into a medium mixing bowl, cover them with hot water, and stir in the baking soda. Allow them to soak at least 8 and up to 18 hours. Drain them, and rinse the beans well.
2. Add the beans to a soup pot, drop in the bay leaves, and boil the beans until tender, about 90 minutes. Drain.
3. Heat the oven to 375 F.
4. Warm the olive oil in a saute pan over medium-heat, and then stir in the garlic, anchovies, thyme and crushed red pepper. Saute them together until fragrant, about three minutes. Stir in the pine nuts and bread crumbs, toasting them until colored, about a minute more. Remove the skillet from the heat, and then stir in the beans.
5. Core the tomatoes, and then drop about two tablespoons of the seasoned beans into each tomato. Top with parmesan cheese, and bake about 25 minutes. Serve warm.
3. Roasted Tomatoes with Shrimp and Feta
If you've never had roasted tomatoes...well, you haven't lived. And while these are roasting, their sweet juices become a special sauce to dress up your shrimp. This is an excellent, easy weeknight dish.
- 5 large tomatoes, cut into eighths
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 1½ pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 cup Feta, crumbled
- crusty bread, for serving
1. Heat oven to 450° F. Place the tomatoes in a large baking dish and spoon the olive oil and garlic over them.
2. Sprinkle with ¾ teaspoon each salt and pepper and toss. Roast on top rack of oven for 20 minutes.
3. Remove baking dish from oven and stir in the shrimp, parsley, and lemon juice. Sprinkle with the Feta.
4. Return the dish to oven until the shrimp are cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve warm with the bread.
4. Tomato Pie
A lot of people are familiar with tomato pie...but I spent 27 years in ignorance before I was introduced to this beautiful cheesy masterpiece. If you haven't had it yet, you should.
- 1 single pie crust
- 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese , divided
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese , divided
- 3 large tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 cup grape tomatoes , halved
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Peel tomatoes (this is an easy method for peeling tomatoes) and slice into thin slices (1/4" thick).
3. Lightly salt tomato slices and spread over a double layer of paper towels to dry.
4. Poke pie crust with a fork. Sprinkle 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese on the bottom and bake for 10 minutes until lightly browned. Cool completely.
5. Combine 1/4 cup cheddar cheese and 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese in a small bowl.
6. Sprinkle tomato slices with garlic powder, oregano and black pepper to taste. Layer 1/2 of the tomato slices, 1/2 of the cheese mixture and 1/2 of the basil. Repeat layers. Top with halved grape tomatoes.
7. In a small bowl combine remaining 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup mayonnaise. Dot over grape tomato mixture.
8. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes. Cool before serving.
Check out the full tomato pie recipe here.
5. Three Cheese Tomato Tart
A lazy-person's delicious riff on a tomato pie. Share as an appetizer...or keep it all to yourself. This is a no judgement zone.
2 ripe tomatoes, cut into 1/8-inch slices
1 sheet frozen puff pastry
3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped basil
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Lay out the tomato slices on a large sheet of paper towels. Cover with more paper towels and allow to drain for approximately 30 minutes (this is crucial to not getting a watery tart). Meanwhile, remove the sheet of puff pastry from the freezer and allow to thaw at room temperature for 30 minutes.
3. Unfold the puff pastry onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, pinching to close any holes in the seams. Using a fork, prick the dough all over to prevent it from puffing up during baking.
4. Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise over the entire puff pastry. Sprinkle evenly with shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheeses. Arrange the tomato slices over the cheese. Season generously with kosher salt and pepper. Grate a generous amount of Parmesan cheese on top and garnish with freshly chopped basil.
5. Bake for 30 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and the cheese is melted. Remove the pastry from the baking sheet and let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Cut into 9 squares and serve immediately.
Check out the full three cheese tomato tart recipe here.
6. Corn, Avocado, and Tomato Salad
Bright, creamy, and crisp. This is the quintessential summer side dish, if you ask me.
-- 2 cups cooked corn , fresh or frozen
- 1-2 avocados , cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes , halved
- 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Combine the corn, avocado, tomatoes and onion in a large glass bowl. Mix together the dressing ingredients in another bowl, pour over the salad, and gently toss to mix. Chill salad for an hour or two to let flavors blend.
Get the full corn, avocado, and tomato salad recipe here.
7. Spicy Tomato Jam
I'm not one to use cliches or anything but...you're gonna wanna put this ish on EVERYTHING.
- 30 oz Backyard Farms cocktail tomatoes (3 packages), quartered
- 1/2-2/3 cup sugar
- juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
- zest of 1 lime (optional)
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated or minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1-2 hot peppers, stemmed, seeded, and finely minced (e.g., jalapeño, serrano)
- red pepper flakes or cayenne to taste
1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy medium saucepan (like a Dutch oven!)
2. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often.
3. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture has consistency of thick jam, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, then cool and refrigerate (will keep at least a week).
8. Southern Tomato Sandwich
Okay...so I know a tomato sandwich is not novel or creative and most of you have probably had one of these in your life. But...I just want to urge you. If you have access to excellent, fresh tomatoes and you haven't had one of these yet... I just wonder what kind of person you really are.
This is a ~dressed up~ recipe. In my opinion, all you really need is: ripe tomatoes, white bread, Duke's Mayo, salt, pepper. Slap it all together and hellllloooo summertime.
- ½ cup mayonnaise - 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice - 1 garlic clove, finely chopped - 1 teaspoon black pepper - 8 (1½-inch-thick) pain de mie or white bread slices - 4 large heirloom tomatoes, cut into ½-inch-thick slices - 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Combine mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic, and pepper in a small bowl; spread on 1 side of each bread slice. Top 4 bread slices with tomatoes; sprinkle with salt. Cover with remaining 4 bread slices.
Get the full southern tomato sandwich recipe here.
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