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Healthy Tomato Recipe Ideas Straight From a Chef

'Tis the season for tomatoes!
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There is nothing better than a fresh tomato just picked off the vine. Juicy and sweet, in-season tomatoes really do taste like summer fruit. There are endless varieties and ways to use them but for me, sliced and served with fresh mozzarella and homegrown basil is about as good as it gets.

I'm also a huge fan of BLT's but the classic sandwich is only as good as the three key ingredients are, starting with the tomato. As far as I'm concerned, if the tomato isn't perfectly ripe and flavorful, don't bother.

This year, I've been growing some Brandywines, and Early Girls, and a variety of cherry and grapes—including yellows which I love because they are sweet but lower in acidity and I eat them like candy! I also love Romas because they are perfect for tomato sauces.

Living in upstate New York gives me a chance to really celebrate the bounty of summer produce and tomato season is definitely one of my favorites. As I'm getting ready to open up a new restaurant Mill & Main in Kerhonkson NY, my family and I have been participating in local farmers' markets and outdoor events. Recently, I celebrated the start of tomato season at the Ellenville Market on Market, with all things Caprese! My pro-tip when it comes to tomatoes is to keep it simple and yes, there is an art to making the perfect Caprese sandwich.

Enjoy these easy summer tomato recipes that are all about making tomatoes the star of the show! Then, be sure to check out our list of the 100 Easiest Recipes You Can Make.

Caprese Focaccia Sando

caprese sandwich on focaccia

How to make it:

Slice a focaccia roll in half and drizzle both sides with extra virgin olive oil. Layer with slices of fresh mozzarella, thick slices of tomato and sprinkle with flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Top with fresh basil leaves and drizzle with good quality balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze. Cut in half and serve immediately!

Chefs tips:

  • Swap out fresh mozzarella for smoked mozzarella for a change of pace
  • Make it melty and toast on a panini press
  • Add thin slices of prosciutto di Parma and a handful of baby arugula
  • Don't have fresh basil on hand, spread the bread with some pesto instead

Looking for more sandwich ideas? Check out our list of 25 Healthy Sandwich Recipes Under 500 Calories.

Sheet Pan Roasted Tomato & Garlic Sauce

making tomato sauce

How to make it:

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Drizzle and brush a rimmed baking sheet with extra virgin olive oil.

Arrange 2-pounds of ripe vine or plum tomatoes (or a mix) cut side up, on a sheet pan with 6 whole cloves of garlic in the skin. Drizzle generously with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt and a pinch of chili flakes. Roast until soft and beginning to brown, around 20 to 25 minutes.

Let cool slightly then squeeze the garlic out of the skins. Transfer to a large bowl and using your hands, crush the tomatoes slightly.

Add 12 oz of cooked pasta and a large handful of roughly chopped fresh herbs such as basil or parsley or a mix. Drizzle light with extra virgin olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper or chili flakes. Top with freshly grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese.

Chefs tips:

  • If you prefer a smooth sauce, purée tomatoes and garlic in a blender until smooth
  • Top with a dollop of fresh ricotta
  • Make it puttanesca style and add some chopped olives, capers, and anchovy

 34 Easy and Delicious Tomato-Based Recipes

Ultimate Summer Caprese Salad

caprese salad on a platter
Courtesy of Claudia Sidoti

You'll need:

  • 3 pounds mixed vine ripe or heirloom tomatoes ( mix up the colors and varieties if you'd like)
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • Generous bunch fresh basil leaves, hand torn
  • Large drizzles good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • Flaky sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Good quality balsamic vinegar for drizzling, optional

How to make it:

Arrange tomato slices on a large serving platter, overlapping slightly. Arrange mozzarella slices and basil leaves in between the tomato slices. Sprinkle generously with flaky salt and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle generously with olive oil. If you're a balsamic fan, drizzle lightly with good quality balsamic vinegar. Serve with crusty bread or warm focaccia.

Chefs tips:

  • Make this mini and use a mix of grape and cherry tomatoes and baby bocconcini.
  • Serve over a bed of spring mix or baby arugula
  • Make this in a baking dish and broil on high until cheese is melted. Serve with crusty bread or warm focaccia.

BLT Sandwiches with Sweet & Spicy Mayo

blt sandwich
Courtesy of Claudia Sidoti

How to make it:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet large with foil and set a wire rack on top. Lay 6 slices of thick-sliced bacon in a single layer on the rack. Bake, rotating tray halfway through, until bacon is golden and crisp, around 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk 3 tablespoons mayonnaise with 1 tablespoon sriracha and 2 teaspoons maple syrup, season with a pinch of Kosher salt.

Spread sweet & spicy mayonnaise on 2 slices of lightly toasted sourdough or brioche bread. Top each slice with crisp lettuce leaves such as little gems, iceberg or Bibb, and thick slices of tomato. Season the tomatoes with Kosher salt and pepper. Top evenly with bacon, then close sandwiches with the remaining 2 slices of toasted bread. Cut in half and serve.

Chefs tips:

  • Make it a BLAT and add sliced avocado
  • Make it breakfast and add a fried egg
  • Make it cheesy and add a few slices of sharp cheddar

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Claudia Sidoti
Claudia Sidoti's deep connection with food began in her grandmother’s kitchen and landed her in the kitchens of Food Network as the Test Kitchen Director. Read more about Claudia
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