Our 21 Best Recipes For Ripe Summer Tomatoes

Oh, tomatoes! How we love you! Here are 21 different ways to enjoy those ripe summer tomatoes. Whether you need to use them immediately for something like a gazpacho or a Caprese salad, or you have so many you need to can or get creative (think basic tomato sauce or salsa), we've got you covered.

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

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.

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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.

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Tomato Galette with 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.

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Avocado Heirloom Tomato Salad

The sweet acidity of tomatoes pairs well with creamy, cooling avocado.

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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.

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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.

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Roasted Eggplant Tomato Soup

Here are two parts of summer’s bounty, paired together. Some chickpeas add heft and protein.

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Paprika Chicken and Potatoes with Tomatoes horizontal in a baking dish

Tomatoes and potatoes nestle together with chicken thighs (quickly marinated in mustard and paprika) in one pot, and come out with deliciously commingled flavors.

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Panzanella Bread Salad in a glass serving bowl

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.

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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.

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Grilled Tomatoes

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.)

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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.

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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.

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Fried Green Tomatoes in skillet

Oh, this is a classic. So easy and delicious. Cornmeal and breadcrumbs give it some crunch.

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Spaghetti with 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.

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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.

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tomato salsa in a bowl showing chopped tomatoes and onion

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.

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Avocado Lettuce Tomato Sandwich

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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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Carrie Havranek

Carrie Havranek is a former Associate Editor of Simply Recipes and the author of the cookbook Tasting Pennsylvania (2019). She lives in Easton, Pennsylvania and goes out of her way for farmers' markets, new ingredients, yoga, and walks in nature.

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No ImageOur 21 Best Recipes For Ripe Summer Tomatoes

  1. Linda Sanders

    Also, I grill tomatoes all the time and love them. In addition to thinly sliced basil, I sprinkle with dill, onion powder, add the basil, then top with shredded parmesan and panko tossed in a little olive oil. Broil or bake in a hot toaster oven or grill. Delish!

  2. Linda Sanders

    You left out the tomato pie!! I have an overload of tomatoes and have made it twice and LOVE it. I definitely carmelized the onions. Increased the garlic. Used whatever melty cheeses I had. Then I made it again and added some Italian sausage and used some yellow pear tomatoes. Just used store-bought crust. Soooo GOOD! Tell Elise I love her!!
    Linda Sanders
    Wickenburg Arizona

  3. Jim Currie

    Think you missed my favorite, tomato tart tatin.

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  4. Mary Jo

    Made the gazpacho last week and I am making it again for a barbecue this weekend. So good!

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  5. William

    Wow! Very helpful, thanks. Gave me the courage to pull out the blender/food processor again to make Gazpacho.

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