Got fresh tomatoes? Well, I found myself in a situation where the amount of ripe off-the-vine tomatoes in my kitchen was sure to exceed the number of tomato recipe ideas I had. “How does one end up with a tomatopalooza in their house?”, you might ask… I have a perfectly logical explanation, as well as a solution to my tomato problem for you. So bear with me…
Recently we all went through grocery store-visit-induced anxiety, food supply uncertainty, and compulsory lockdown which led to inevitable boredom. To deal with some of it I decided to plant a small garden. I call it my “victory garden”.
Or, to be more precise, coronavirus "victory garden" - inspired by the movement that began in WWI when Americans were called upon to plant in any and all available spaces they had to supplement food supply for the nation. There was a resurgence of victory gardens during WWII, and so many Americans took the charge to heart that it's estimated that these gardens produced 40% of the country's fresh produce at the time.
While the 2020 gardening trend may not quite be at that level or have the same noble intentions behind it, I certainly enjoyed both the process and the fresh produce I can proudly call homegrown.
“Garden” may be too big of a word for my 12'x 4' raised bed. But I sure was both surprised and overwhelmed by the surplus of vegetables, especially tomatoes as you might have guessed from the title and the previous paragraphs, it started providing me with. I planted four different types of “love apples” (and in retrospect, it might have been too many) - none of which I can fully remember since the cute signs I made for them have long since faded. It's been a comfort to watch them grow when so much has felt at a standstill.
Some of them aren't quite ready yet but I can already see the numbers I will have to deal with. And my go-to gazpachos and bloody marys won’t be nearly enough to utilize the tomato abundance. So being a responsible gardener, I have compiled a list of recipe ideas for the beautiful homegrown tomatoes I intend to use to have them on the menu every single day! And color me surprised! Never would I imagine there were so many ways to incorporate tomatoes into your meals; from breakfast to dinner and everything in between!
Without further ado, here are my top picks:
If you like Mediterranean food this satisfying Greek-style breakfast might become your new favorite. Made with fresh tomatoes sauteed with onion and garlic in olive oil, just a pinch of salt, a grind of black pepper, easy and delicious.
Let’s go to Italy next… Is there anything more essential to tomato season than bruschetta? An exquisite yet simple dish to add to your charcuterie board or enjoy as a midday snack. This recipe takes it up a notch with the addition of chunky arugula basil pesto and traditional Italian salami.
Mmmm jam! Tomato jam! I know I know it might seem like tomatoes are not a go-to choice for jam but hear me out. And, no, it’s not ketchup! This amazing homemade condiment is worth your time. It’s sweet, it’s savory, it’s perfect to smear on top of your multigrain toast with cream cheese, or add to a grilled cheese sandwich, replace the traditional T in your BLT, whisk into a vinaigrette, do I need to say more?
If it's tomato season, it's also pasta season, right? Back to Mediterranean classics we go. Just a few simple ingredients will make this super tasty dish. It is also packed with nutrients! Get your dose of vitamins K and C from fresh basil, Vitamin E from olive oil, and a daily boost of Vitamin A from the tomatoes. Did I mention tomatoes are a powerhouse of antioxidants?
This perfect Caprese salad is a lifesaver when you need to serve something fast and have no time. An ultimate crowd-pleaser, requiring minimal effort? That’s a win-win in my book! You could serve it as a BBQ salad, a dinner side, or as a light lunch on its own with some crusty bread or hearty crackers.
I’m going to leave you with an absolute must, mouth-watering classic comfort food that should never be taken for granted. Every spoonful of this tomato soup will quiet your daily anxieties and worries. Its velvety rich texture, intoxicating earthy aroma, beautiful warm color - everything about it just soothes and comforts.