I avoid mealy tomatoes from the grocery store all year long in anticipation of the summer and the sweetest tomatoes that come with it. Once they hit, in all their shapes, sizes, and colors, I can hardly get enough. Quickly a bucket list of sorts ensues, to ensure I consume them in all the very best ways before the last one lingers at the farmers market at the end of the season.
In no particular order, here is this important list — I highly encourage you to start at the top and work your way through to guarantee you eat up as many summer tomatoes as possible this year.
1. Made into a fresh sauce for pasta.
When tomatoes are this sweet and juicy, there’s no need to slow-simmer them for pasta sauce — all that fresh flavor will be lost. Instead, simply chop them up for a no-cook situation.
Get a recipe: No-Cook Tomato Sauce
2. Stacked in a BLT.
Oh, sure you can make a BLT any other time of the year, but I firmly believe it’s not worth your time. My most favorite sandwich of all only deserves the best, in-season tomatoes to ensure it’s incredible.
Read more: Everything You Need to Make the Best BLT
(Image credit: Brie Passano)
3. Or simply a classic tomato sandwich.
As much as I adore a BLT, if you skip the B and L, you’ll still be in for something special, given just how wonderful summer tomatoes are. Make a no-frills sandwich with nothing but a swipe of butter or mayo and thick slices of tomatoes.
Get a recipe: 1-Minute Tomato Sandwich
4. Sliced for a caprese salad.
The classic trio of tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil must indeed be celebrated in the summer. Start by making at least a half-dozen caprese salads and then dive into caprese grilled cheese, quiche, chicken, and even avocado toast.
Get a recipe: Caprese Salad
5. Stuffed with good things.
While I don’t think there is anything wrong with eating a tomato out of hand for dinner when they are at their peak, make it a true meal by stuffing it with hearty things — grains and cheese are usually a good start.
Get a recipe: Couscous & Goat Cheese Stuffed Tomatoes
6. Blended into gazpacho.
Seeing as it’s a bit too balmy for tomato soup, now is the time to celebrate gazpacho. Toss those sweet tomatoes into a blender with a few other seasonal veggies and you’ve got cool, creamy perfection.
Get a recipe: How to Make Easy Gazpacho
7. Transformed into compound butter.
Butter truly makes everything better, including summer tomatoes. Blend the two together and you’ve got something you’ll want to not only spread on toast, but also stir into risotto, toss with pasta, or eat with a spoon.
Get a recipe: Tomato Butter
9. Made into a straight-up tomato salad.
Yes to caprese salad, but save some summer tomatoes for an even simpler salad that puts the red fruit really front and center. Keep it a fuss-free situation with nothing but a drizzle of balsamic or jazz it up just slightly with sweet-tart pomegranate molasses.
Get a recipe: Heirloom Tomato Salad with Pomegranate-Sumac Dressing
9. Make pickles.
Sure, this is a great way to preserve sweet summer tomatoes, but it may be difficult to hold onto them once you’ve discovered how tangy and delicious they are on salads, alongside cheese plates, or eaten straight from the fridge.
Get a recipe: How to Pickle Cherry Tomatoes
10. Baked into a savory cobbler.
I am sure you are still loading up on sweet, fruit-studded cobblers this summer, but put them aside for a moment to make room for tomato cobbler. Salty, cheesy cornmeal-cheddar biscuit hide a warm, juicy cherry tomato filling to make for a great vegetarian dinner.
Get a recipe: Tomato Cobbler with Cornmeal-Cheddar Biscuits