18 Recipes That Allow the Season's Freshest Tomatoes to Shine
Make the most of tomatoes fresh off the vine with these juicy recipes, including everything from stuffed tomatoes and easy pasta to chilled soup, tomato slab pie, and more.
Do you wait all year for local tomatoes? Maybe you grow some yourself on the patio or in raised beds, or do you prefer to shop early at the farm stand to score the best specimens? Whether homegrown or store-bought, fresh tomatoes are the star of summer meals.
And they are worth waiting for. Tomatoes are at their most flavorful in summer, and whether you tend to reach for a simple sandwich of sliced tomatoes with mayonnaise and salt on your favorite bread or a Caprese salad, know that there are an endless number of ways to enjoy fresh tomatoes when the time is just right. The recipes gathered here use beefsteaks, cocktail tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and other small to medium-sized tomatoes, not the heirloom varieties.
Tomatoes star in simple weeknight pastas that keep cooking to a minimum, which is exactly what you want when the weather turns warm. They're paired with their summer friends corn and zucchini in a savory slab pie that's a worthy vegetarian entrée and perfect picnic food. Can't get enough of the tomato, corn, and zucchini mix? You'll find it again in a hearty, colorful grain salad. You'll also find these red fruits—yes, fruits— in salads with beets and a simple all-tomato salad where lemon zest and olives accentuate the juicy sweetness of the sliced fruits.
When shopping for tomatoes, remember that they often don't travel well and the best-tasting tomatoes are grown locally. Look for ones that yield slightly to pressure and are fragrant and heavy for their size. The skin should be smooth, brightly colored, and free of blemishes. Keep tomatoes at room temperature. Don't refrigerate them unless you have a cut tomato you didn't use up, as it will affect their flavor.
But most importantly, remember to enjoy fresh tomatoes while they're at their peak. These summer recipes will ensure you do just that.
Spaghetti with Tomato Sauté
Easy and irresistible, this colorful pasta is just right for a summer dinner. A mix of ripe cherry tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and chile flakes take a quick turn in a hot skillet. Then they're tossed with spaghetti and topped with fresh basil and creamy ricotta.
Tomato, Feta, and Red Pepper Cazuela
Here's a tapas-inspired appetizer with juicy tomatoes, red bell peppers, olives, and feta. When baked the flavors combine deliciously.
Green Beans with Tomatoes and Crispy Breadcrumbs
This wonderful summer side mixes cherry and cocktail tomatoes with crispy breadcrumbs as the topping for green or wax beans. A dusting of cheese finishes the dish.
Yellow Tomato and Peach Gazpacho
What a looker! This no-cook soup is made in the blender, chilled and topped with cucumber, diced tomato, bell pepper, scallion, and peach.
Tomato Slab Pie
Use whatever tomatoes you have—beefsteaks or medium size ones work best—for this tomato pie. Cookbook author Sarah Copeland's recipe gives us a modern spin on the rich and satisfying southern favorite. She makes the pie bigger—so there's more to share—uses less cheese, and adds more vegetables.
Sweet Corn, Zucchini, and Tomatoes with Bulgur
We love a hearty grain salad packed with summer flavors. Swap the bulgur for another grain if you prefer, but don't skimp on the beefsteak tomatoes.
Stuffed Tomatoes with Mozzarella
Tomato Salad with Olives and Lemon Zest
Chilled Spanish-Style Tomato Soup
Purée tomatoes and white sandwich bread along with garlic, almonds, sherry vinegar, and olive oil for this spectacular cold soup. A great make-ahead recipe, this soup can be made up two days in advance.
No-Cook Tomato-Tuna Sauce with Spaghetti
Tomato Burrata Bites
Easy to make, cute, and tasty to boot, these party hors d'oeuvres are simply Campari tomatoes scooped out and filled with rich, creamy burrata then topped with fresh basil.
Tomato, Baby-Lettuce, and Olive-Bread Salad
When you have too many tomatoes, dry some in the oven using this favorite technique from Martha. The oven-dried tomatoes add depth of flavor to any recipe. Use them straight from the freezer on pizzas and focaccias with your favorite cheese, or work them into pasta recipes.
Baked Eggs in Whole Roasted Tomatoes
Try this colorful, flavorful entree where the eggs soak up tomatoey juices as they bake. All you need are large tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and eggs and a short time in the oven.
Corn, Tomato, and Zucchini Galette
Tomatoes star with their summer friends corn and zucchini in this sensational vegetarian main dish. There's a buttery pastry and a mustard cheese sauce too so you know it's irresistible.