Grilled Tomatoes

Mid July is about the time of year when tomatoes start coming full steam into season. I have 5 tomato plants in my garden that are now producing more tomatoes than we can think up ways of using them. (Gazpacho anyone?) One quick and easy recipe that I played around with this week is to simply grill the tomatoes, cut side down, and season with olive oil, salt, pepper, and sliced basil. When you are working with garden fresh tomatoes, sometimes doing less is more, because the produce is so good to begin with.

Do you have a garden that is full of tomatoes? What are your ways of using up the bounty? Please let us know in the comments.

Grilled Tomatoes Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 2-4 as a side.

Ingredients

  • 2 firm, ripe tomatoes (not overly ripe or they will fall apart when you grill them), cut in half around the middle
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt (or fleur de sel if you can get it)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 basil leaves, thinly sliced (roll them up like a cigar and then slice them to make nice thin slices)

Method

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1 Standing over a sink, use your fingers to gently dislodge and remove the watery pulp and seeds. (Although the seeds and pulp contain a lot of flavor, when you grill the tomatoes they are going to be lost anyway.)

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2 Preheat your grill on high heat for direct grilling. Use a grill basket or fine grill grate if you can, it will make it much easier to work with the tomatoes (or any other vegetables you grill). Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper. Brush the cut side of the tomatoes with olive oil. Brush the grill grate or grill pan with olive oil. Place the tomatoes, cut side down on the grill surface. Cover the grill and let cook for about 4 minutes. (Check after 2 minutes.) Use a metal spatula to lift tomatoes off of the grill for serving.

3 Place on a serving dish, cut side up. Drizzle a little more olive oil on the tomatoes. Sprinkle with just a little more salt and pepper. Sprinkle with thinly sliced basil.

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50 Comments

  1. Jerry

    This looks absolutely fabulous! I just made some baked tomatoes the other day that I was thinking would work wonderfully grilled.. You’ve just confirmed my suspicions. The basil is a very nice touch as well

    As always, simply fabulous!

  2. Amy

    We slice tomatoes and put chunks of feta cheese and basil on them. We’ll season with just salt and pepper. Even the little kids devour them.

    Can’t wait to try the grilled tomatoes.

  3. magpie

    I make an amazing watermelon/tomato/feta salad – I’ll be posting the recipe later this week!

    I’ve never had grilled tomatoes, but they look great :)

  4. Rachel

    A favorite of ours…
    Cut tomato in half, put on broiler pan cut side up. Spoon some basil pesto on top. Put under broiler for just a couple minutes until the pesto is bubbly and the tomato warm. Delicious!

    I love your site…I’ve printed out so many recipes, it’s slightly overwhelming!

  5. At Home with Kim Vallee

    I typically cook tomatoes provencal. I should try my recipe on the BBQ grill next time.

    I want to ask why you do not season before grilling? It seems to me that the tomatoes will be tastier if you season first with sea salt, freshly grounded pepper and herbs of Provence, the put them on the grill.

    Actually I did season them first. Just forgot to include that direction. Correcting now. Thanks for the reminder! ~Elise

  6. Jen

    I grill them cut side up, with a splash of olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh sprigs of thyme.

  7. Alias J C

    A Really Good Pasta Topping

    3 large or 4 medium home grown tomatos
    1 heaping Tbls minced fresh garlic (I REALLY like garlic)
    1 heaping Tbls basil (fresh and cut rolade)
    TT sea salt and fresh ground pepper

    Bring 2-3 quarts water to boil
    Take tomatos and score just through skins in quarter sections and place in boiling water for 5-6 minutes or until skins just start to peel back. Remove from water and peel off skins. (use a towel)

    Next, cut tomatos in half and under medium running water, remove pulp and seeds with your finger or a small spoon or butter knife (the water will help remove the seeds)

    Then, coursely mash or chop tomatos and place in a saute pan over med hi heat until au sec (almost dry).

    Towards the start of the cook time, add the garlic and towards the end, add the basil with salt and pepper to taste.

    Top buttered or sesame oiled pasta

  8. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    I always set some aside to make slow-roasted tomatoes (with garlic and thyme from the garden, olive oil, salt and pepper). I freeze these and have them all winter to add to sauces and soups.

  9. Mike

    I love grilled tomatoes, even if its only for 2 minutes. For some reason, I just don’t enjoy a raw tomato, but after a little bit of heat, its perfect. I’m also a big fan of a little bit of stuffing (e.g. mozzarella/goat cheese, basil, gratin type of topping, etc). I also like to use slightly grilled/roasted tomatoes in salsa with other roasted veggies (e.g. a variety of peppers, corn, shallots, garlic, etc–all roasted/grilled), and like butter, salsa makes so many things that much better. ;-)

  10. jo

    Would you please have your tomatoes have a conversation with mine! It is so hard to read West Coast bounty when we are still green, green, green here in the NE. .
    But those do look like a great thing to try.

    j

  11. Kalyn

    Gorgeous photos. I finally had my first ripe tomato, but only one so far. This looks fabulous, and although I’ve roasted tomatoes and eaten them in a similar way, I’ve never grilled them. I think I’d like to have a little goat cheese sprinkled on them after grilling. I guess my favorite way to eat tomatoes would just be sliced tomatoes with basil vinaigrette and goat cheese, but doesn’t it seem like fresh tomatoes are so flavorful there are endless ways to use them?

  12. diningoncents

    Mmm I love tomatoes, in any shape or form. :)

  13. Laura

    Oh my gosh… you are making me hungry! I absolutely adore grilled food of any sort (bread, meat, fruit, veggies, etc!) but tomatoes has to be at, or near, the top of the list! I love having grilled tomatoes with a crusty piece of grilled bread with olive oil and a tomato mozzarella salad. Yum! I wish I had a grill and an abundance of tomatoes!

  14. Gin

    Thick slice tomatoes, sprinkle with pizza seasonings, top with pepperoni slices and grated mozzarella and cheddar, then broil. But I don’t see why this wouldn’t work (right side up) on the grill if you closed the lid.

  15. Samir

    Try dicing up some fresh buffalo mozzarella and putting it on at the end w/ the basil. Also try adding finely diced onion for a breadless bruchetta.

  16. Gavin

    Mmmmmmmm…I’ve also made batches of roasted tomato sauces and frozen them. But a batch of smokey grilled tomato sauce sounds way better. I’ll definitely have to try this on my new grill with any surplus tomatoes I get this year!

  17. Frédérie alias Pixie

    Good idea…love your blog Elise, I read it everyday, here in Paris, France.
    My idea of recipe is cut them in half, brush with olive oil, sprinkle salt’n peppa and put in non-stick pan, skin side down, at 80 degrees for 5 hours! They’re a bit like sundried but not quite as they still have juice. Serve as an appetizer with parmesan cheese cut in squares, de-licious. You can also do them with cherry tomatoes, but leave the green sprig, easy to pick out of the platter.

    Sounds great! I assume you mean 80 degrees Celsius. That would be about 176°F. ~Elise

  18. Elaine

    I love them sliced with mayo and fresh cracked pepper. Yummy!!

  19. Sylvie, Rappahannock Cook & Kitchen Gardener

    mmmm…. great looking tomatoes. You are right Elise that with garden fresh produce picked just right, less is more. Here in Virginia I have been picking tomatoes for a few weeks, and an other very simple and tasty way to cook them is to oil a pan, cover it with halved tomatoes, strew generous amount of minced garlic and lots of basil leaves, put a second layer of halves tomatoes, drizzle olive oil, and bake in a slow oven for a couple of hours.

    BTW: I have 70+ tomato plants in my garden, from cherries to paste to salad to huge heirlooms – different color and shape too! I love them all. And yes, I will be drying, canning and making sauce a lot for this winter. Last year, I only had 3 dozen plants and we ran out of sauce this past April! Can’t have THAT again.

    70 plants? That’s one heck of a garden! ~Elise

  20. mar

    I like to scoop out the insides of the tomatoes and stuff them with a ricotta/mushroom/basil mixture and pop them under the broiler for a few minutes. They are delicious.

  21. HealthCoachWendy

    Even though I don’t have a garden large enough to grow tomatoes, I always look forward to going to my local farmers’ market and stocking up. One of my favorite dishes is one I found in Real Simple magazine – roasted tomatoes with shrimp and feta. It’s just fantastic with fresh, seasonal tomatoes. :)

  22. JamiJo

    When the tomatoes are good, I like making a dish I had in a Lebanese restaurant a while ago – at least as close as I’ve been able to come to it.

    2 cloves garlic minced
    2 large slicer-style tomatoes
    2 pickle-style cucumbers or 1/2 large salad-style cucumber seeded
    1 green pepper
    1/2 med onion or 1 small bunch green onions
    handful fresh parsley
    few sprigs fresh basil or mint
    juice of 1 lemon (plus zest if you like extra-lemony dishes)
    olive oil to taste – 2T to 1/3 c (i go light)

    Dice veggies to uniform size (size is purely to your preferences, i’ve seen this from large bite-sizes to almost like salsa), toss together with garlic. Mince parsley and basil or mint super-fine, toss with veggies. Drizzle lemon juice and olive oil over top, toss again and serve. Even better if it’s mixed up about 20-30 mins before serving.

    Also, if you can get sumac (http://www.thespicehouse.com/spices/powdered-sumac looks promising), you could make a vinagrette-style dressing with the lemon juice, olive oil, a little extra garlic, mint or basil, and a tsp or two of the sumac – then toss the dressing with the minced veggies. Sprinkle a little over the top for a nice garnish.

  23. Linda

    I have never grilled tomatoes! Thank you for posting this idea. It really does look good. We like the following Tomato Yogurt Salad and the Warm Garlicky Grape Tomato Salad I made yesterday that was posted elsewhere. The flavors were excellent. Next time, however, I may not bake the tomatoes as long. Hope you enjoy these. P.S. I plan on trying the other recipes posted by followers, too. Each looks like it would be very good. Thanks to all.

    TOMATO YOGURT SALAD

    2 tomatoes, diced
    1 cucumber, thinly sliced
    1 stalk celery, chopped
    1/4 cup plain yogurt
    1 teaspoon creamed horseradish
    1/2 teaspoon honey
    Freshly ground pepper to taste
    1 green onion, chopped

    Combine all ingredients except green onion.
    Serve in a bed of salad greens. Sprinkle
    green onion over top of salad.

    Serves 4 as a side dish.

    WARM GARLICKY GRAPE TOMATOES – Healthy Cooking
    SERVINGS: 4

    Ingredients:
    2 cups grape tomatoes
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    1-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh basil
    1/2 teaspoon salt-free garlic seasoning blend
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon pepper
    1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
    1/4 cup soft whole wheat bread crumbs
    1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

    In a small bowl, combine the tomatoes, garlic, basil, seasoning blend, salt and pepper. Add 1/2 teaspoon oil; toss to coat. Transfer to a 3-cup baking dish coated with cooking spray.
    Bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Combine bread crumbs and remaining oil; sprinkle over the top. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake 5-10 minutes longer or until cheese is softened and tomatoes are tender. Yield: 4 servings.

  24. Joe Power

    That sounds fantastic! I will be trying that some time this week.

  25. Dragon

    These look like sunshine on a plate. Perfection.

  26. Aubrey

    I’ve got tomatoes coming out my ears right now – so I’ve been making some delicious bruschetta with the tomato, onion, and fresh basil. I ate it two nights in a row for dinner last week. Also BLT sandwiches. And slicing some, spreading a little fresh pesto on some good bread, then topping that with the tomato and some parmesan. Yum.

  27. Izzy

    We slice tomatoes super thin and put them on homemade pizza with some garlic, fresh spinach and feta cheese.

  28. S fir Kitchen Confit

    I’m not always a fan of tomatoes – but perhaps grilling them will make them more palatable.

  29. Carly

    One of my favorites is making a salad out of diced tomato and avocado (and red onion if I’m feeling creative) and dressing it with salt and pepper, a little olive oil and some balsalmic.

  30. D Gordon

    I never take out the seeds and pulp when I grill and never lose the insides. I use firm, and not overly ripe also. I have 20 plants and all are turning red right now, so we have lots of slices for every meal, lots are grilled, cherries are skewered with my chicken and beef and pork, and some are just pricked and soaked in Italian dressing as a side to about any dish I put on the table. Next chore is to start juicing and steaming for canning of juice, paste, and spaghetti sauce.

  31. Priya

    Awesome recipe!

    I would like to learn how to can the tomatoes. Though we use pressure cooker almost everyday in our households in India, I am scared to use it for pressure canning. I appreciate an alternate method that uses less energy.

  32. Denise

    I used to do something similar under the broiler. Instead of cut side down, I did them cut side up with almost the same ingredients used in this recipe, but I also used parmesan cheese. They were a great side dish. Bet it would work just as well on the grill :D

  33. Miss B

    mmm I love tomatos and have never had them grilled – will be making those tonight!

    I am addicted to Caprese salad. it’s FANTASTIC and so easy to make –

    slice tomato – 1/4 inch thick pieces
    slice mozzarella – 1/4 inch pieces
    extra virgin olive oil
    sliced/torn basil leaves
    salt and pepper -optional but recommended-(course salt and freshly ground pepper is ideal but not necessary)

    Fill plate in a circular pattern, alternating tomato with mozzarella. Lightly sprinkle basil over the top and add salt and pepper to taste.

    Just before serving, drizzle olive oil over the plate. It’s important to wait until you’re serving to do this so the salad doesn’t get soggy.

    This is so fast and easy to make, it works great as a side or an appetizer.

    enjoy!

  34. Nicole

    I do something similar to what you do, but I grill them cut side up, season them first and melt some provolone on top.

  35. DebsD

    Will definitely try this one. Would be nice as a side to some grilled fish.

    Another tomato recipe – my super easy tomato salad (goes well with BBQ meats):

    - Chopped 4 or 5 tomatoes (or three generous handfuls of cherry tomatoes chopped in half)
    – 2 thinly sliced spring onions
    – Handful of black olives halved (optional)

    Dressing
    – Fresh chopped basil (or coriander)
    – Juice of half a lime (tip: warm lime/lemons in microwave before cutting for 15 seconds and you’ll get loads more juice)
    – teaspoon sugar
    – generous dash of balsamic vinegar (circa 2 tablespoons)
    – 1 clove garlic crushed
    – teaspoon of chilli/hot sauce (optional)

    Another way to use up tomatoes is home made soup, made a tomato, basil and bacon (sounds weird but it works!), that you can then freeze.

    Keep up the fab work!

  36. Avi

    Gazpacho is a great way to use up fresh tomatoes. It’s so fresh and tastes like summer. Recently, I made a beet gazpacho using roasted beets and fresh tomatoes. The sweet, nutty flavor of the roasted beets mixed so well with the tomatoes’ acidity, and, in the finished bowl, the deep purple color looked so pronounced with a dollop of yogurt, some chunks of avocado, and baby-sized leaves of wild sorrel.

  37. Keli

    My personal favorite sounds silly, but it’s so wonderful.

    Toast with thick slices of tomato and mayo on top.

    That’s it. Very simple, very, very good.

    I also put thin slices of tomato on an olive-oiled tortilla, top with a bit of mozzarella, some more olive oil, good salt and bake in 350 oven until the cheese gets bubbly. Then add some fresh basil if you’d like. It’s simple and wonderful!

  38. Donald

    Who’s afraid of the CDC!!! I love grilled anything.

    I just used your grilled lamb post as a guide for my leg last night. That’s right, grilled boneless leg of lamb on a Tuesday night, after work!

    Thanks Elise!

  39. Elise

    Wow, what great ideas for tomatoes, thanks everyone! Please keep them coming. I just picked 10 more huge burger tomatoes today.

  40. Janine

    We grill stuffed tomatoes. The stuffing is a 1:1 mixture of feta and cream cheese, black olives, toasted pine nuts, some basil, salt and pepper. We slice the tomato in half and scoop out the seeds. You may also want to drain upside down on a paper towel before stuffing. Then grill in a foil pan until warmed through.

  41. Veronica

    This recipe comes from my mother who didn’t fuss much with ingredients. I love this simple salad as a side with beef especially. Cut tomatoes into chunks,sprinkle with salt to release acid. After about ten minutes add roughly chopped onion and mayonaise. I use Hellmans. That’s it. You can gage the amount of onions on your personal preference.Your site is wonderful, I email it everywhere!

    Hi Veronica, thanks! We also love mayo with sliced tomatoes, salt and onions. ~Elise

  42. Kirsten

    I saw a tomato recipe in the Simple Summer Food Cookbook recently that looked divine.

    10 tomatoes (small-medium sized)
    250g mozarella cheese
    olive oil
    sea salt & fresh ground pepper

    Put tomatoes stem down and make two cuts to form a cross on the top of the tomato. The cut should go 1/4 to 1/3 of the way down from the top. Stuff a piece of mozarella cheese in the cut and season with olive oil, salt and pepper. The recipe called for baking but I bet you could grill it as well.

    I’m going to try broiling them. I live in Japan and you can’t barbeque on your balcony because everyone dries their clothes on their balconies and their clothes will smell like barbeque. I appreciate how considerate it is but I’d love to grill at home…;-)

  43. Laura

    I love to make a simple salad of sliced tomatoes alternating with thinly sliced fresh mozzarella – drizzled wihth EV olive oil and sprinkled with fresh basil — nothing beats it on a hot summer day!
    Laura

  44. Grace

    These are so aromatic with the basil. I grilled them on a cast iron griddle grill pan and they turned out lovely. Thank you!

  45. Patti

    This past weekend I did this:

    Cut off the first quarter of each of four medium sized tomatoes, to make a lid. Scooped out most of the seeds and juice, inserted a few slivers of fresh garlic, a few pinches of freshly chopped oregano and filled the rest of the cavity with shredded mozza. Put the lids on top, drizzled with olive oil and a shake each of salt and pepper, then placed in a foil pan on the grill for a few minutes. They were awesome!…and a great accompaniment to the ribs and potatoes I bbq’d as well.
    This is a great side dish for garlic lovers, but a person could omit the garlic. I think that substituting freshly chopped basil for the oregano would work out nicely as well. It’s super easy and looks pretty on the plate. :-)

    Sounds terrific! ~Elise

  46. Jessica Johnson

    I made sundried tomatoes with my summer crop.
    Slice them in half
    Drizzle with olive oil
    Sprinkle sea/kosher salt and pepper
    Sprinkle with fresh thyme
    bake in oven @ 300 – 325 for about 3 or 4 hours
    Place in a canning jar with all the liquid – keeps in fridge.
    The best sundried tomatoes ever…will NEVER buy them from a store again. I’m now a sundried tomato snob!!!!!
    Delish on homemade pizza with freshly made pesto!!! AAAHHHHH….it was so wonderful!!!!

  47. Cindy

    So here is where everyone is sharing their tomato recipes!

    We were tending a neighbor’s garden last week while they were out of town, and their tomato plants were so full, so I finally got to use this recipe for Tomato Pie. It was so good that my husband and I ate the whole thing in less than 24 hours! Really easy, too!

    * 1 9″ pie crust
    * 3-4 large ripe tomatoes, peeled
    * a bunch of fresh basil, thinly sliced (can also add fresh rosemary, finely chopped)
    * salt & pepper
    * 1/2 cup mayo
    * 3/4 lb (12 oz) grated cheese

    Preheat oven to 400′ F.
    Slice tomatoes 1/2″ thick and arrange in crust until full. (I used some quartered cherry or grape tomatoes, too.)
    Sprinkle with salt & pepper & most of the fresh basil.
    Combine cheese & mayo and spread over the top.
    Sprinkle again with remaining basil.
    Bake 30 minutes.
    Let set 10 minutes before slicing.

    I didn’t peel the tomatoes, but I did cut off parts of the skin, so you didn’t have to fight with any long pieces of skin.
    It gets a beautiful golden crust on top when you bake it, and it is delicious hot or cold, and actually even tastes better the next day.

    Hi Cindy, we have a terrific tomato pie on the site too. Love tomato pie! ~Elise

  48. Cindy

    Oh cool! I had been looking for a tomato pie recipe on your site, so I wouldn’t duplicate anything, but I guess I was looking for it in vegetables section. Thanks for the link to yours. Honestly I’m such a nerd I’ll probably go to yours instead of thumbing through my index cards. :)

  49. Rock Kitaro

    Looks divine!!! Thanks for this!

  50. Ottavia

    Italians make tomato sauce – passata, and store it in sterilized glass bottles (like recycled beer bottles) to eat all year long with their pasta. When you open a bottle, you cook the passata at least 30 mins to give the tomatoes a better flavor!

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