Late summer is prime tomato season, which means I'm adding them to every meal I can. They're so versatile that they can be the star of a dish or fabulous garnish. No matter what shape, size, or color you get, they're sure to brighten any meal. So use these ideas to pack in all the tomatoes you can before the season ends.
1. Make a salad.
Yes, this is an obvious one, but tomato salads are anything but boring. Make this as simple or complicated as you'd like. Tomatoes shine in a classic caprese salad just as much as they do in chop salad with 10 other ingredients. Add more color with an heirloom variety or multicolored cherry tomatoes.
2. Mash them into butter.
There's so much you can do with a compound butter — especially one full of tomatoes. Keep it on hand to spread on toast, dollop on top of grilled meats and veggies, or spread on sandwiches. You can use it like you might use plain butter, but it adds even more flavor.
Get the Recipe: Tomato Butter
3. Scramble them into eggs.
Breakfast deserves tomatoes, too! It doesn't matter what variety — just know what you're looking for in the dish. Chopped cherry, grape, or roma tomatoes will hold their shape a little better. For a juicer dish, go for chopped heirlooms.
4. Oven-roast them.
These are not your average sun-dried tomatoes you get in the oil-filled jar at the store — they are so much more. Rather than turning out slightly chewy like the sun-dried variety, these become soft, tender, and silky. Toss them in a pasta or make a BLT feel a little more special.
Get the Recipe: How To Dry Tomatoes in the Oven
5. Make fresh tomato sauce.
Fresh tomato sauce comes together in minutes and is the perfect sauce to make hearty pasta feel light. Keep it simple to make the tomatoes the star. A quick sauté with garlic is all you need for comfort in a bowl.
Get the Recipe: 10-Minute Garlickly Tomato Spaghetti
6. Make pan con tomate.
Pan con tomate is one of the easiest Spanish tapas you can make. Start with a nice bread such as a ciabatta loaf. Halve it and toast in the oven until lightly browned and crisp. While the bread is toasting, halve your tomatoes. Use a box grater to grate the tomato pulp in a bowl, discarding the tomato skin. When the bread is done, spread on a layer of tomato, sprinkle with salt, and drizzle over a healthy glug of olive oil.
7. Stir-fry them.
High heat and quick cooking time make stir-fries ideal for weeknight cooking. Tomatoes can either make them saucy or add a bright finish. For a saucy stir-fry, add tomatoes towards the beginning of cooking so they have time to break down. For a bright finish, stir them in at the end or sprinkle them on top.
Get the Recipe: 5-Minute Tomato and Caper Stir-Fry
9. Add them to a grilled cheese.
There's a reason people started putting tomatoes in grilled cheese sandwiches: it's delicious! Tomatoes and cheese pair together beautifully. Go classic with a slice of cheddar or mix and match with a few melty cheeses.
Get the Recipe: How To Make the Best Tomato Grilled Cheese Sandwich
10. Add them to a smoothie.
We love tomato juice, so why not add tomatoes to your smoothie? Depending on the amount you use, the end result might be thin, but it's an easy way to add flavor rather than water to get things mixing.