Use Fresh, In-Season Tomatoes With These Delicious Recipes
Tomatoes are summer’s produce showstopper, and it is imperative you take advantage of the plump fruit while it’s available. Tomatoes can star in salads, soups, sandwiches, and pastas, and they can help take your lunch from boring to beautiful. A simple sandwich can become something you look forward to all day when fresh tomatoes are involved, and we’re highlighting seven other lunch recipes that are also elevated when you add in tomatoes. Pick up the produce at the grocery store or farmers’ market and then pick a new-to-you recipe that will showcase how versatile and complementary the juicy fruit really is.
1. Tomato-Feta Open Face Sandwich
You can’t go wrong with a fresh tomato sandwich, and when you make it open-faced, you don’t need to worry about the bread taking away from the tomato taste. This tomato-feta open face sandwich from Bon Appetit is as easy as it gets, but it still feels fancy for an office lunch. If you’re planning to eat at your desk, simply pack bread, tomatoes, feta, and a little olive oil, and then assemble when you’re ready to feast.
- 1 thick slice white bread, lightly toasted
- Olive oil (for drizzling)
- 1 beefsteak and/or yellow tomato, thinly sliced
- 2 to 3 thick slices feta
- Oregano leaves (for serving)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Directions: Place bread on a plate; drizzle with oil. Add tomatoes, feta, and oregano; season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with more oil.
2. Baked Tomatoes with Quinoa, Corn, and Green Chiles
Next is a lunch idea from Cooking Light that you can prepare the night before and then heat up the next day. These baked tomatoes with quinoa, corn, and green chile are a great idea for a meatless meal that’s still full of flavor. Stuffing tomatoes is as easy as stuffing peppers, and the ingredients in this recipe also pack the heat. The midday meal will satisfy you the healthy and meat-free way.
- 2 poblano chiles
- 2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 4 ears)
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 6 large ripe tomatoes (about 4 pounds)
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- ¼ cup water
- 4 ounces Colby-Jack cheese, shredded (about 1 cup packed)
Directions: Preheat broiler to high.
Cut the chiles in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place chile halves, skin side up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil 8 minutes or until blackened. Place in a paper bag; close tightly. Let stand 10 minutes. Peel chiles. Coarsely chop chiles; place in a bowl. Add corn and onion to pan; broil 10 minutes, stirring twice. Add corn mixture to chopped chiles; stir in oregano, oil, lime juice, ¼ teaspoon salt, cumin, and black pepper.
Cut tops off tomatoes; set aside. Carefully scoop out tomato pulp, leaving shells intact. Drain pulp through a sieve over a bowl, pressing with the back of a spoon to extract liquid. Reserve 1 ¼ cups liquid, and discard remaining liquid. Sprinkle tomatoes with ½ teaspoon salt. Invert tomatoes on a wire rack; let stand 30 minutes. Dry insides of tomatoes with a paper towel.
Place quinoa in a fine sieve, and place sieve in a large bowl. Cover quinoa with water. Using your hands, rub the grains together for 30 seconds; rinse and drain. Repeat the procedure twice. Drain well. Combine reserved tomato liquid, quinoa, ¼ cup water, and the remaining salt in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; fluff with a fork. Add quinoa mixture to corn mixture; toss well.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Spoon about ¾ cup corn mixture into each tomato. Divide cheese evenly among tomatoes. Place tomatoes and tops, if desired, on a jelly-roll pan. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Preheat broiler. Broil the tomatoes for 1½ minutes or until cheese melts. Place tomato tops on tomatoes, if desired.
3. Fresh Tomato and Black Olive Pizza
Pizza might feel like a treat for lunch, but when you make it at home with whole wheat dough and fresh vegetables, it’s much less of a splurge. This recipe for a fresh tomato and black olive pizza from Eating Well teaches you how to make your dough at home, and then stud it with garlic, tomatoes, black olives, basil, and mozzarella cheese. Bake your pizza for 15 to 20 minutes until the cheese bubbles and then pack the good stuff away for lunch the next day.
Whole Wheat Pizza Dough:
- ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon lukewarm water
- 1 package active dry yeast (2¼ teaspoons)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup bread flour or all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fine cornmeal
- All-purpose flour for dusting
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 3 plum tomatoes, sliced
- ¼ cup chopped black olives
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil for garnish
Directions: To prepare dough: Stir water, yeast, and sugar in a large bowl; let stand until the yeast has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Stir in whole-wheat flour, bread flour (or all-purpose flour) and salt until the dough begins to come together.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
Process or mix until it forms a ball. Continue to process until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 1 minute more in a food processor or 4 to 5 minutes more on low speed in a stand mixer.) Place the dough in an oiled bowl and turn to coat.
Cover with a clean kitchen towel; set aside in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Position rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Brush oil over a large baking sheet. Sprinkle the baking sheet with cornmeal to coat evenly. Combine oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle flour over work surface. Roll out the dough to the size of the baking sheet and transfer to the baking sheet. Cover the dough with oil mixture. Scatter with tomatoes and olives and sprinkle with cheese. Bake until the crust is crispy and the cheese is melted and starting to brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Top with basil, if using.
4. Chilled Fresh Tomato Soup
Summer isn’t exactly soup season, but chilled soup is especially refreshing, especially when it enlists fresh produce. This chilled tomato soup from Once Upon a Chef makes six servings and takes 40 minutes from start to finish. In a blender, you’ll combine tomatoes, ginger, coriander, sugar, oil, and lime juice, and after refrigerating, you’ll top your soup with a healthy cream made out of yogurt and more lime juice. This soup is perfect to pack for lunch, and when enjoyed with a salad or piece of bread, it makes a satisfying vegetarian meal that everyone can enjoy.
- 2 pounds beefsteak or plum tomatoes, cored and quartered
- 1 ½ cups canned tomato juice
- 1 tablespoon finely grated, peeled fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (from 2 to 3 limes)
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- ½ cup plain low-fat yogurt
- Flatbread, for serving (optional)
Directions: Working in two batches, place in a blender tomatoes, tomato juice, ginger, coriander, sugar, oil, and 3 tablespoons lime juice; puree on high speed until liquefied. Pour batches into a large bowl. Season generously with salt and pepper; refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour. Before serving, taste for seasoning. If desired, thin with cold water.
In a small bowl, whisk yogurt and remaining tablespoon lime juice until smooth; season with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into four serving bowls; top each with a dollop of yogurt and, if desired, serve with toasted flatbread.
5. Arugula with Orzo and Garden Tomatoes
Onto the salads, we come to this healthy plate of arugula with orzo and garden tomatoes from The Kitchn. Some complain that salads don’t sufficiently satiate them, but this one is sure to do the trick, as it has orzo on its ingredients list, so the carbs will surely satisfy. Also on the greens go cherry tomatoes, goat or feta cheese, and basil. This fresh summer salad is the kind of stuff we wait for all year, and the time for healthy and fresh is finally here.
- ¾ cup orzo
- About 8-10 cups arugula
- Olive oil
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
- 8 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 to 3 ounces goat or feta cheese, crumbled
- Salt and pepper
Directions: Cook the orzo in salted water according to package directions. Drain and reserve. Chop the arugula roughly. If the leaves are small or if it is baby arugula, no need to chop at all. Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat and add a little olive oil. When it is hot, cook the arugula handful by handful, letting the first few handfuls wilt completely, and leaving the last few barely cooked.
Add the basil, tomatoes, cheese, and orzo with the last handful of arugula. Turn the heat to high and cook for another minute or two — until everything is hot. Remove from the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve immediately.
6. Cucumber Tomato Avocado Salad
Another way to ensure your midday salad is satisfying is by packing it with healthy fats. This one from Natasha’s Kitchen does just that. The cucumber tomato avocado salad boasts fresh vegetables and fruits, and is full of healthy fats thanks to the avocado and olive oil on its ingredients list. Whether you serve your salad as a side dish, or make it a main meal, you’ll enjoy the colorful plate of goodness that satiates you with whole foods.
- 1 pound Roma tomatoes
- 1 English cucumber
- ½ medium red onion, sliced
- 2 avocados, diced
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or sunflower oil
- Juice of 1 medium lemon
- ¼ cup (½ bunch) cilantro, chopped
- 1 teaspoon sea salt or ¾ teaspoon table salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
Directions: Place chopped tomatoes, sliced cucumber, sliced red onion, diced avocado, and chopped cilantro into a large salad bowl. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Toss gently to combine. Just before serving, toss with 1 teaspoon sea salt and ⅛ teaspoon black pepper.
7. Tomato Basil Pasta Salad
The last recipe on our list is also a salad, but this one stars pasta. Summer is the season for pasta salads, and this recipe from Betty Crocker is one you’ll make again and again. The tomato basil pasta salad takes 25 minutes of hands-on prep and one serving yields fewer than 175 calories. When caprese salad meets hearty pasta, a healthy lovechild is made, and this recipe is again meat-free, because who needs the meat when you have carbs, tomatoes, and cheese?
- 2 pounds plum (Roma) tomatoes, chopped (8 to 10 medium)
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ cup olive or vegetable oil
- ½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes (2 cups)
- 1 package (1 lb) rotini pasta
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Directions: In large bowl, mix tomatoes, garlic, salt, pepper, oil, basil, and mozzarella cheese. Cover; refrigerate 2 hours to blend flavors.
Meanwhile, cook and drain pasta as directed on package. Rinse with cold water to cool; drain.
In large serving bowl, mix cooked pasta and tomato mixture until well combined. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top of salad.