Nothing beats a fresh tomato right from the garden. Or the farmers’ market. Or a roadside stand. Any of these locations will do, really.
They come in abundantly for weeks on end—and if we're really lucky, even into late September in certain parts of the country.
All revered seasonal foods require a mad culinary dash to use them quickly. We want to eat these ripe summer tomatoes in as many ways as we can before drought or blight take over the plants, or—worse yet—before we have somehow exhausted our desire to eat them. (Blasphemy!)
Luckily, we love tomatoes here at Simply Recipes and so you’ll never run out of tasty and easy ways to celebrate them in their various glories. All the usual suspects are here—gazpacho, panzanella, Caprese salad, bruschetta—along with ways to put them up for all year long use, in a basic sauce or a salsa you can yourself.
What are your favorite ways to use fresh summer tomatoes?
Caprese Salad with Tomatoes, Basil, and Mozzarella
If your garden is yielding fresh basil and some tasty heirlooms tomatoes, you’re two thirds of the way to having what you need for this recipe. Pick up some good quality mozzarella, drizzle with olive oil and balsamic, and you’ve got summer on a plate.
Basic Tomato Sauce
When your tomato crop runneth over, making sauce can be a go-to move. You can easily double or triple this recipe and freeze the sauce. When winter hits and you’re sad about the pale pink, overly hard, and not very fragrant tomatoes in the supermarket, you’ll be so happy to pull this out of the freezer for pasta dishes, pizza, chilis, and stews.
Tomato Galette With Parmesan Whole Wheat Crust
Our writer Sally came up with an easy crust that you make in the food processor for this free-form tart. It looks great with a variety of tomato types and colors, but use whatever small tomatoes you’ve got in abundance.
Avocado Heirloom Tomato Salad
The sweet acidity of tomatoes pairs well with creamy, cooling avocado.Continue to 5 of 21 below.
Seared Okra and Tomatoes
Sauté the okra over high heat, add tomatoes, onions, and garlic and let it simmer together for a super quick (20-minute) side dish.
Cod Sautéed in Olive Oil with Fresh Tomatoes
Another gorgeous use for fresh tomatoes and your jar of Italian seasoning. Cooks easily, and you don’t even need to flip the fish.
Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Soup
Here are two parts of summer’s bounty, paired together. Some chickpeas add heft and protein.
One-Pan Paprika Chicken with Potatoes and Tomatoes
Tomatoes and potatoes nestle together with chicken thighs (quickly marinated in mustard and paprika) in one pot, and come out with deliciously commingled flavors.Continue to 9 of 21 below.
Panzanella Bread Salad
Day-old bread, tomatoes, and olive oil make for good friends in this essential summer salad. Add to the repertoire if you have an abundance of tomatoes. I don’t even mind it on the second day—which is unusual for salad.
It isn’t really summer in my kitchen until gazpacho happens, and I eat it for lunch for days on end. The Spaniards are onto something with this flavorful chilled soup.
Sometimes you just want tomatoes. And if you’ve already got the grill going, why not try grilling your tomatoes with some thinly sliced basil? (Hint: Thyme would be good here, too.)
Canned Tomato Salsa
Nothing beats a DIY effort in the kitchen when it comes to canning. This salsa can sit in your pantry, ready to for use in all kinds of dishes.Continue to 13 of 21 below.
Homemade Tomato Juice
Homemade tomato juice only sounds like something that’s impossible—or like something someone else would do but not you. But in about a half an hour you’ll have fresh tomato juice. For real.
Fried Green Tomatoes
Oh, this is a classic. So easy and delicious. Cornmeal and breadcrumbs give it some crunch.
Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Bacon, and Eggs
I love dishes like this, where an egg creates a self-saucing situation, and you can really taste the flavor of some fresh tomatoes. And bacon because, well, bacon.
Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce
For backyard cookouts. Or as just an accompaniment to hot dogs. Use the homemade tomato sauce in this one for extra flavor.Continue to 17 of 21 below.
Pico de Gallo (Fresh Salsa)
For salsa you want to use immediately, this is your go-to. Cilantro, lime, and red onion add lots of flavor—add the type of pepper you want depending on how hot you like it.
Avocado Lettuce Tomato Sandwich (ALT)
There is no substitute for thick slices of fresh tomato when it comes to creating a BLT, or in this case, an ALT. Add bacon and make it a BLAT!
Tomato Cucumber Feta Salad
Here’s another one that makes good use of what’s in your garden, especially if you grow several different kinds of herbs such as oregano and mint.
Angel Hair Pasta with Quick Cherry Tomato Sauce
Are you noticing a trend here? Yes, tomatoes are so good with basil and this pasta is ready in 20 minutes. Woo hoo!Continue to 21 of 21 below.
Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil
It’s a classic for good reason—chop up some of the freshest ones you can find and make them work as a great appetizer on crusty bread.