7 Seasonal Uses for Fresh Tomatoes

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Canned tomatoes and jarred sauces are key to surviving winter. But as long as summer’s here, we should make the most of this ruby-red treat in its purest form by consuming our tomatoes fresh, the same day of purchase (or shortly thereafter). Whether you’re converting sweet cherry tomatoes into chunky gazpacho or juicy heirlooms into a hearty salad, this versatile fruit is the winning ingredient in many a summer dish.

When choosing tomatoes, look for smooth, bright, blemish-free skin. And remember: A ripe tomato should be fragrant and yield slightly to pressure. Whether you get them from the grocery store, the farmers market or your own garden, these healthy recipes will inspire you to use summer’s essential fruit in everything from soups to salads, and even homemade jam.

Crustless Caprese Quiche (pictured at top)

Food Network Kitchen offers a mealworthy riff on the classic caprese salad in the form of this creamy quiche. Forgoing the crust will not only cut back on preparation time but also save significant calories. Before baking, adorn the top with thinly sliced plum tomatoes for an eye-catching dish.

Caprese Salad

Of course, it’s perfectly fine to highlight tomatoes in their simplest form: sliced, lightly dressed, and interspersed with fresh basil and mozzarella. Whether served as an appetizer, a side or a quick, light lunch, this deconstructed salad is sure to hit the spot any day of the week.

Cherry Tomato and Chile Gazpacho

This zesty take on the classic gazpacho comes topped with polenta croutons. Just fry up store-bought, cooked and cubed polenta in a pan until it becomes nice and crispy.

Cherry Tomato Salad with Buttermilk

Pick up some multicolored cherry tomatoes at the farmers market (or from your garden) and dress them with a creamy, tart buttermilk-basil dressing.

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Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil

For a 12-minute appetizer, Rachael Ray rubs toasted baguette slices with garlic before piling on her fresh tomato-basil topping. The key to bruschetta’s signature crunchy texture is to char the baguette slices under the broiler or on the grill.

Nectarine-Tomato Salad

The flavors of yellow tomatoes and ripe nectarines are complemented by a simple olive oil and balsamic dressing. Toasted pine nuts and shaved cheese add the finishing touches.

Grilled Turkey Sliders with Tomato Jam

The Neelys’ tomato jam is your ultimate cookout companion, serving as a savory addition to burgers and other grilled fare. This is a great recipe to double up on when your tomatoes are at their ripest. Store the jam in airtight Mason jars, but be sure to use it quickly. Unlike store-bought jams, this homemade version is good for just for two weeks in your refrigerator.

For more tips on how to use up fresh tomatoes, check out these recipes from our friends:

The Lemon Bowl: 5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Beef & Eggplant

Homemade Delish: Sweet Tomato Jam

Creative Culinary: Warm Tomato and Mozzarella Bruschetta

Weelicious: Heirloom Tomato Salad

Dishin & Dishes: Cobb Salad with Homemade Roasted Onion Vinaigrette

Domesticate Me: 10 Totally Awesome Tomato Recipes

Swing Eats: Tiny Insalata Caprese

The Wimpy Vegetarian: Tomato and Swiss Tart

Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Tomato Pickle

Taste with the Eyes: Quiche with a Black Quinoa Crust, Heirloom Tomatoes, Spinach, Goat Cheese

Red or Green: Summer Pasta With No-Cook Tomato Sauce

Napa Farmhouse 1885: Heirloom Tomato & Crouton Casserole (Scalloped Tomatoes)

The Mom 100: Chopped Salad with Chicken, Tomatoes and Lemon Thyme Dressing