What do you make with tomatoes? This list of AMAZING and easy fresh tomato recipes w/ big Mediterranean flavors is all you need! Tips included.
Tomatoes and the Mediterranean diet
Tomatoes are an essential ingredient in cooking and eating the Mediterranean way. And, not only are they rich in vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K, they are known for their lycopene content, an antioxidant that's been linked to many health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.
Fresh tomato season is one of my absolute favorite times of the year. To me, there is nothing better than biting on a juicy, sweet, perfectly tomato! And if you have a lot of tomatoes and wondering what to make with them, this list of recipes is your ticket! These are handful of tried-n-true tomato recipes that readers of this site deemed a must-try!
First, because fresh tomatoes are the subject of today and a main ingredient in our list of recipes, it's important that you select the best ripe tomatoes to begin with.
How do you know if tomatoes are ripe?
Tomatoes are in season from May to early October, depending on where you live, but mid July is when tomatoes reach their peak. Look for perfectly ripe tomatoes that are firm but yielding slightly to the touch. The tomato skin should be glossy. And you should be able to easily smell the tomato's fragrant and fruity scent.
Best way to store tomatoes
Use fully ripened tomatoes as soon as you can. Should you refrigerate tomatoes? If the tomatoes are fully ripe and you're not able to use them immediately, you can refrigerate them but make sure bring them to room temperature before using.
- Tomatoes purchased from the grocery store are previously refrigerated. Leave them on the counter until they are fully ripe, then store them in the fridge for later use.
- Home garden tomatoes and tomatoes you buy at a farmers market stand you trust will not have been previously refrigerated. If they are not ripe yet, remove the stems and store the tomatoes upside down on a large tray until they ripen.
Now, the big question, what do you make with a lot of tomatoes?! You'll love these easy and delicious Mediterranean recipes using fresh tomatoes. There are so many ways to incorporate tomatoes in your meals, from breakfast to dinner and everything in between. Let's start with some basic recipes and make our way to delicious dinners that use tomatoes.
Basic tomato recipes
If you have an abundance of tomatoes, you can roast or fry them to use as building blocks for pasta, soup, pizza, or to use as simple sides next to your favorite entrees.
- Garlic Fried Tomatoes. Ripe red tomatoes, gently fried in extra virgin olive oil and flavored with fresh garlic and a sprinkle of mint.
- Quick Roasted Tomatoes. Toss some halved Roma tomatoes with good extra virgin olive oil then roast them in a high-heated oven until super tender and bursting with intense, concentrated flavor. I like to finish mine, as you'll see in the recipe, with fresh thyme and some good feta.
- Homemade spaghetti sauce. Although the original recipe uses canned tomatoes for a shortcut, you can peel and chop extra ripe fresh tomatoes to use in making my pasta sauce.
Savory breakfast ideas with tomatoes
I almost always top my breakfast sandwiches with sliced tomatoes, but there are many ways to add them to your breakfast like...
- Pesto Eggs. The TikTok famous eggs, fried in pesto are even better with a couple slices of tomatoes and mozzarella. Think eggs caprese!
- Hummus Breakfast Toast. For a vegan, protein-packed breakfast sandwich, slather some creamy hummus (or even avocado hummus) over your favorite toasted bread and top with veggies, tomatoes, and olives. So quick and delicious.
- Shakshuka! Eggs, gently braises in a chunky tomato and bell pepper sauce, makes the perfect centerpiece to your brunch table! Serve it with some warm pita bread.
- Breakfast Egg Muffins. I make these egg muffins in advance using cherry tomatoes and a few other veggies (you can add protein of your choice). These are great to make-ahead and keep in the fridge for on-the go breakast.
Favorite Tomato Salad
Most Mediterranean salads will incorporate some juicy tomatoes, here are five salads you should try:
- Tomato and Cucumber Salad. This is a classic Mediterranean salad with dozens of variations, mine is a simple three-ingredient salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, and parsley. I like to add a little sumac of some extra depth and tanginess.
- Panzanella Salad. This iconic Italian salad makes great use of summer's tomatoes and toasted bread. Mozzarella cheese is not traditional to panzanella, but I think it adds a little something special.
- Greek Salad. Sliced summer veggies and tomatoes, simply seasoned with oregano and dressed in red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Don't forget two essentials: feta blocks and olives.
- Fattoush Salad. Fried pita chips replace your average crouton in this Middle Eastern salad that's loaded with crunchy summer veggies, tomatoes, and fresh herbs.
- Mediterranean Tomato Salad. Slice up ripe tomatoes into wedges and toss with onions and fresh dill. Add a few blocks of feta or creamy burrata for a little something special.
Pasta recipes with tomatoes
Just like pizza, pasta and tomatoes are a match made in heaven. You can do more with fresh tomatoes to elevate your pasta dishes by adding color and flavor. Here are some pasta recipes I love adding tomatoes to:
- Pesto Pasta. Cook your pasta of choice and toss it with homemade basil pesto, fresh mozzarella, and roasted tomatoes for the perfect summer meal.
- Shrimp Pasta. This is my idea of a fancy dinner in 20 minutes or less. Fresh diced tomatoes are cooked briefly with garlic, onion, white wine and lemon juice to create a light and delicious sauce for shrimp spaghetti.
- Pasta Primavera. I use lots of roasted summer veggies and a good handful of sweet cherry tomatoes to make this easy vegetarian dinner!
- Mediterranean olive oil pasta. My girls love this spaghetti, tossed in garlic and olive oil with other Mediterranean favorites like artichokes, olives, and grape tomatoes.
- Loaded Pasta Salad. This Italian-inspired pasta salad is my go-to all summer long! Loaded with crunch and flavor, and tossed in a delicious homemade Italian dressing.
Favorite entrees with tomatoes
- Baked white fish. Cod fillet is a good choice for an easy baked fish dinner, topped with a delicious mixture of olives, shallots and fresh grape tomatoes.
- Baked Salmon in Foil with Veggies. Make little parcels of salmon with summer zucchini, sliced tomatoes, and onions. A buttery lemon sauce brings it together.
- Sicilian-Style Baked Fish. The chunky fresh tomato sauce with capers is what makes all the difference in this delicious and unique fish dinner.
- Mediterranean skillet chicken. A quick dinner that gives chicken breasts a Mediterranean make over with a delicious topping of green olives and tomatoes.
- Chicken Caprese. Another skillet chicken that turns the beloved Italian caprese salad into an entree. Ready in less than 20 minutes.
- Italian Baked Chicken Breast. Just a few tips ensure this easy baked chicken breast recipe is flavorful and juicy every single time! But if you're not a fan of chicken breasts, then give this baked chicken thighs recipe a try.
- Stuffed tomatoes! This Greek recipe uses large, fleshy tomatoes that are cored and stuffed with a delicious rice, beef, and fresh herbs mixture. Once baked, the stuffed tomatoes are tender and loaded with flavor.
Vegetarian tomato recipes
If you're looking for vegetarian mains or more sides to use your garden tomatoes, here you go...
- Ratatouille. Ratatouille is a classic vegetable stew from Provence, France, with tomatoes, eggplants, summer squash, bell peppers, onions and garlic. My easy recipe takes one pot and cooks in about 40 minutes. And because it is even better the next day or two, it is the perfect make-ahead meal. I highly recommend making a big batch to freeze for later!Italian roasted vegetables
- Mediterranean-Style Okra. Okra and tomatoes prepared Mediterranean-style with onions, garlic, hot peppers, warm spices and a splash of lime juice. This quick-cooked vegan okra stew is the perfect combination of savory, tangy, and just a little bit spicy. You can use 1 or 2 jalapenos, depending on how spicy you like your food. And if you need it a little more tangy, add more lime juice!
- Italian Roasted Vegetables. Your favorite veggies, sliced and roasted to tender perfection, and bold with Italian flavors from fresh garlic, oregano, thyme and extra virgin olive oil!
- Stuffed Eggplant. Tender roasted eggplant, stuffed with couscous, chickpeas and tomatoes and finished with a good drizzle of tahini sauce.
- Zucchini boats. Grilled zucchini are hallowed to carry a mixture of delicious cherry tomatoes, feta and fresh herbs.
Favorite tomato soup
When it comes to soup, I have two options to use fresh tomatoes as the star ingredient:
- Roasted Tomato Basil Soup. Yes, it's completely possible to make the best, super rich, delicious, to-die-for roasted tomato basil soup that is vegan and gluten free! And this one is it! You'll love the layers of flavor in this easy tomato soup. Best part? You can make a big batch and freeze it for later!
- Gazpacho. This classic Spanish cold soup using tomatoes and other produce is so refreshing and comes together in 10 minutes or less. I make it all summer long!
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Tomato Recipes: Oven Roasted Tomatoes Recipe
- Large sheet pan
- 2 lb Roma tomatoes or Campari tomatoes, halved (I used Campari tomatoes)
- 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 2 tsp fresh thyme, stems removed
- 1 tsp sumac
- ½ tsp dry chili pepper flakes, I used Aleppo Pepper which is milder
- Extra virgin olive oil, I used Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil
- Crumbled feta cheese, optional
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Place the tomato halves in a large mixing bowl. Add minced garlic, salt, pepper, fresh thyme, and spices. Drizzle a generous amount, about ¼ cup or more, quality extra virgin olive. Toss to coat.
- Transfer the tomatoes to a baking sheet with a rim. Spread the tomatoes in one single layer, flesh side up.
- Roast in your heated oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until the tomatoes have collapsed to your desired doneness.
- Remove from heat. If you are planning to serve it soon, feel free to garnish with more fresh thyme and a few sprinkles of feta cheese. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.
- What kind of tomatoes to use? You can use a different tomato variety in this recipe. I typically avoid using larger steak tomatoes, but you can use Roma tomatoes, smaller vine-ripe tomatoes and the like. Just be sure to cut them in halves or quarters as needed depending on their size. If you use smaller tomatoes such as cherry or grape tomatoes, you can leave them whole or you can also reduce the oven heat to 400 degrees F for those.
- Make extra to store: You can simply double or triple this recipe if you plan on storing the roasted tomatoes for later use. You may need to go a little bit longer in the oven, just watch for the tomatoes to get super tender and begin to release their juices.
- Storage: Do not add the feta cheese if you plan to store the roasted tomatoes for later. Bring them to room temperature and store in fridge in a tight-lid mason jar for 3 to 5 days. You can also freeze them in freezer bags for up to 4 months! Thaw in fridge overnight before use.
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