Whether you're struggling to keep up with your garden's mad rush to the finish or just looking for new ways to enjoy the beautiful, late summer tomatoes at the farmers' market, a little inspiration is a fine thing. I've compiled 20 delicious ways to use tomatoes for you below, dividing them into 13 things to eat right now and 7 preserving ideas to help you hold on to the glory of sun-ripened tomatoes into the cold winter months ahead.
For Right Now
Tomato Sauce with Onion & Butter
This sauce from Marcella Hazan couldn't get much simpler - just onions, butter and tomatoes - but the result is amazingly good - smooth and rich with a mellow sweetness from all the onions. Give it a try and you'll probably find that you end up making it once a week.
Tomato Tart Two Ways
Inspired by a recipe in one of the Canal House Cooking books, these impressively fancy-looking tarts are made very simple by the use of frozen puff pastry (though feel free to make your own pastry, by all means!) Sweet ripe tomatoes, good cheese, caramelized onions and herbs make these tarts a decadent treat.
Grilled Tomato and Eggplant Stacks with Basil and Feta Cheese
These leaning Tower of Pisa-esque delights are an easy way to make the most of summer's bounty. Grilled eggplant and tomato slices are drizzled with olive oil, layered with sliced basil and feta (or goat) cheese, seasoned with salt and pepper and stacked for layers of melting-gooey-sweet-savory-herby yumminess.
Pasta with Tomatoes, Sweet Corn, Basil, Bacon & Arugula
This is an easy late summer/early fall meal packed with great flavors and with a nice mix of textures - crunchy corn, juicy tomatoes, crispy bacon and just tender pasta.
Chicken Milanese on a Bed of Arugula & Tomatoes
Sweet tomatoes and peppery arugula provide a perfect backdrop for crunchy, salty, juicy breaded chicken. Hard to beat.
Tomato Corn Pie with Butter-Brushed Biscuit Topping
Like everything Deb at Smitten Kitchen makes, this pie is heart-stoppingly (and probably artery-cloggingly) delicious. Biscuit topping, sweet corn, tomatoes and cheddar cheese make for serious summer comfort food.
Provençal Vegetable Tian
Baking concentrates the flavors and natural sweetness of layered, very thin slices of tomato, potato, eggplant,summer squash, and leeks. White wine, thyme and garlic add the delicious taste of the south of France.
Roasted Eggplant & Tomato Gratin
This is basically a healthier, lighter and actually tastier take on eggplant parm that comes from Martha Rose Shulman's excellent Recipes for Health series in the New York Times. Packed with flavors, very hearty and satisfying.
Heirloom Tomato Sauce with Italian Sausage & Basil
A super tasty sauce filled with fresh herbs, sausage and, of course, tomatoes. Due to the inclusion of meat, either eat this one right away or freeze it for later.
Chopped Salad with Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Herbs & Feta
This simple salad is so flavorful, flesh and flexible that it's become one of my favorites. Also a perfect way to make use of summer's last cucumbers, tomatoes and fresh herbs.
Sweet Corn, Tomato & Basil Salad
My mom-in-law makes this often and I find it positively addictive! Sweet, fresh, flavorful and very, very easy... (a great way to make use of leftover corn on the cob, too.)
This hearty and beautiful composed salad is one of my very favorite things in the world. So many good tastes in one bowl and healthy and fresh to boot.
Ripe tomatoes are so good in salad. Don't overlook this easy way of highlighting them! Add some ripe cucumber for crunch and a little cheese for substance and dress with your favorite vinegar and some good quality organic olive oil with a sprinkling of sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
For Now and Later
Rustic Roasted Tomatoes with Garlic & Herbs
This is my new favorite way to prepare big, juicy tomatoes. Just cut in half, toss with olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, whatever herbs you have on hand and some sliced garlic and roast for two hours on low. The result is a sweet, gooey, flavor-packed mess of summer flavors that you can toss with pasta or freeze to use in sauces and stews this winter.
Heirloom Tomato Salsa
Once you've made your own salsa, it's pretty hard to go back to store-bought. Although you can just make this as a one-time treat, I recommend making a big batch and canning some to use throughout the year -- soooooo good!
Pickled Green Tomatoes
If frost threatens, you can still pick your tomatoes green and make some tasty pickles out of them. This recipes comes from Marisa at the incomparable Food In Jars - check her and her cookbooks out if you're into canning and preserving.
You might not think of tomatoes and jam in the same breath but you really should... Sweet, spicy (think ginger, cloves, chili flakes and more) and simply amazing when combined with goat cheese and any kind of bread product. Hands down the best jam I've ever made. Make a batch - they make great gifts.
Spicy-Sweet Barbecue Sauce
It's actually pretty easy to make your own BBQ sauce and the result is so good! Sweet and spicy with deep flavors that make anything from tofu to a T-bone taste delicious.
Slow, Oven-Roasted Tomatoes
Ripe tomatoes (you can use any size or type) combined with a few minutes of prep time and roughly 8-10 hours of slow cooking in a low heat oven yield the most divine concentrated dried tomatoes you'll ever eat. Add some herbs, balsamic vinegar and/or garlic for an even more ecstatic eating experience. You can eat them right away (great on bread, in salads, as a basis for sauce and more), pack a jar for the fridge or freeze them in bags or jars to enjoy all year-long.
Simple Pasta Sauce with Garlic & Herbs
Nothing captures the flavors of summer like homemade pasta sauce. You can eat this simple sauce right away or can or freeze some for the colder months ahead. You'll thank yourself during the dark days of winter when you're able to grab one of these magical jars of sweet summer flavors to make an easy dinner special...
You might also like:
"like" the Garden of Eating on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter and Pinterest.