Save your canned tomatoes and jarred sauces for winter, when ripe-off-the-vine tomatoes are impossible to come by. Now that we’re in the height of summer, we’re taking every opportunity to consume this ruby-red fruit in its freshest forms, and preferably the same day we buy it (or shortly thereafter). Whether you get your tomatoes from the grocery store, the farmers market or your own garden, these healthy recipes will inspire you to use this essential summer ingredient in smooth soups, hearty salads and more. Here are just a few of our favorite applications.
Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes
If you can get your hands on some heirloom tomatoes — or better yet, if they’re growing in your garden — put them to use in Food Network Magazine’s easy summer appetizer. Each tomato is stuffed with a salty cube of feta cheese.
Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil
Rachael Ray rubs toasted baguette slices with garlic before piling on her fresh tomato-basil topping. You’ll love the textural contrast between the crunchy bread and the juicy chopped tomatoes.
Dip your chips into Ellie Krieger’s five-minute salsa, which comes together in a blender with fresh plum tomatoes, jalapeno, lime juice and a little olive oil. Sure, opening a jar of store-bought salsa is easier, but save that fallback for colder months when fresh tomatoes are hard to come by.
Crustless Caprese Quiche
Food Network Kitchen offers a mealworthy riff on the classic caprese salad in the form of this creamy quiche. By forgoing the crust, you not only reduce the preparation time but also save significant calories. Before baking, adorn the top with thinly sliced plum tomatoes for an eye-catching dish.
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.
Spicy Green Tomato-Avocado Salad
Why should red tomatoes hog the spotlight? Top off this all-green salad of mache lettuce, avocado and juicy green tomatoes with a spicy-sweet jalapeno dressing.
Spicy Fettuccine with Tomato Sauce
There may not be any pasta here, but thin ribbons of zucchini are a pretty convincing stand-in. The sauce, a flavorful mix of pureed tomatoes and chunky chopped tomatoes, does wonders to enhance the delicate zucchini ribbons.
Charred Tomato Gazpacho
Gazpacho is traditionally made with raw tomatoes, but in this version from Food Network Magazine the tomatoes are charred on the grill, which infuses the soup with a smoky flavor.
For more fresh twists on summer tomatoes, check out these recipes from our friends:
Feed Me Phoebe: Steamed Clams with Chorizo, Tomatoes and Kale
The Mediterranean Dish: 10 Fresh Tomato Recipes with a Mediterranean Twist
The Mom 100: Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce
Homemade Delish: Roasted Tomato and Poblano Salsa
The Wimpy Vegetarian: Easy Summer Tomato Tart with Artichoke Spread
The Heritage Cook: Tomato and Cucumber Summer Salad (Gluten-Free)
Devour: Praise Caprese with 6 Twists on Tomato Salad
Creative Culinary: Fresh Tomato Summer Pie
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Classic Caprese Salad
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Tomato, Peach & Melon Salad
Taste with the Eyes: For Tomato Lovers Only
FN Dish: The Best Fresh Tomato Recipes You to Make, Like, Right Now
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