5 Ways to Put Overripe Tomatoes to Work

(Image credit: Coco Morante)

It’s easy to get carried away this time of year and overdo it with your tomato purchasing. I am particularly guilty — my shopping list says that I only need two tomatoes, but then I inevitably get lured in by all the pretty tomato varieties and buy far more than I can handle. And after a few days of nothing but tomato salads and sandwiches, they begin to get a little too soft and wrinkly. Luckily there are still a handful of ways to use those overripe tomatoes.

1. Shake up a few Bloody Marys.

You don’t need an excuse to make your brunch boozy, but here’s one just in case. Instead of letting those overripe tomatoes go to waste, blend them with citrus juice, Worcestershire, horseradish, and other seasonings to make your own Bloody Mary mix.

2. Blend them into compound butter.

Broil them to add a little of that charred flavor and then toss them in a food processor with softened butter to make a flavorful compound butter that’s great on everything from crostini to pasta. Plus, you can freeze the butter to use once tomato season is long gone.

Get a Recipe: Tomato Butter

3. Grate them for a quick raw pasta sauce.

Grab a trusty box grater and grate the overripe tomatoes over a bowl to make the fastest, freshest pasta sauce ever. Stir a little fresh minced garlic and chopped basil into the bowl and then toss it with hot pasta.

4. Use the pulp for pan con tomate.

Turn tomato pulp into a quick snack. The classic Spanish tapa, pan con tomate, is no more than thick toast topped with this juicy tomato pulp. It’s simple yet super satisfying.

5. Make tomato vinaigrette.

Super-ripe, juicy tomatoes are the key ingredient in this vibrant tomato vinaigrette. They’re halved and squeezed through a mesh strainer to keep the pulp out and capture the opaque tomato water. Whisked together with garlic, herbs, and a drizzle of olive oil, this dressing is an easy way to bring intense tomato flavor to your meal.

Get a Recipe: Tomato Vinaigrette