They’re so versatile, our recipe file is bursting. Here are a few of our favourites
LINKED WITH LOWER RATES of heart disease, tomatoes contain hundreds of super nutrients, including the carotenoid lycopene and at least 12 other carotenoid pigments, which have antioxidant properties. Here’s how to make more of fresh tomatoes every day…
1. Summer minestrone
Fry 1 chopped red onion and 1 crushed garlic clove in 1tbsp olive oil until softened. Add 600ml reduced-salt vegetable stock, 8 chopped ripe plum tomatoes, 175g macaroni and 100g chopped green beans, then simmer for 8–10 min until the macaroni and beans are tender. Season with ground black pepper, then serve scattered with chopped parsley and parmesan shavings.
2. Mediterranean-style salad
Drain a 285g jar artichoke antipasto (reserve 2tbsp of the oil), then arrange on a platter with 6 halved vine-ripened tomatoes, 125g sliced reduced-fat mozzarella and a handful of black olives. Mix the reserved oil with lemon juice to taste, then drizzle over the salad. Serve with rocket.
CLASSIC TOMATOES The most popular type and a good all-rounder for adding to soups and salads, and for grilling and baking.
CHERRY AND COCKTAIL Small and sweet with a concentrated flavour, they’re delicious eaten raw in salads and salsas – look out for golden and yellow varieties as well as red. Cocktail tomatoes are slightly larger than cherry and are usually sold on the vine.
PLUM AND BABY PLUM Oval with a firm flesh (which means they’re less watery), these are good for slicing, barbecuing and making sauces. Look out for San Marzano plum tomatoes, which are considered one of the best varieties.
BEEF Large, firm and sweet, they’re ideal for stuffing and baking and are great in salads.
VINE-RIPENED These are matured on the plant for maximum flavour, but they won’t keep as long as other tomatoes, so buy them as you need them. Roast them while on the vine for an attractive and sweet-tasting garnish.
3. Fresh pasta sauce
Put 175g cherry tomatoes and 500g halved plum tomatoes in a roasting tin with 3 unpeeled garlic cloves. Season with ground black pepper, then pour over 4tbsp olive oil and 3tbsp balsamic vinegar. Stir well. Roast at 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4 for 30 min or until softened. Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins, then mash them with the tomatoes to make a chunky sauce. Stir in a small handful of fresh basil leaves, then roast for a further 10 min. Toss with pasta, or serve over baked fish or chicken.
4. Slow-baked tomatoes in a jar
Put halved fresh tomatoes cut-side up on wire racks set in baking trays. Sprinkle over a pinch of sugar and some fresh thyme leaves. Bake in a low oven with the door slightly ajar for 4–6 hr until semi-dried. Set aside to cool, then pack into sterilised jars, cover with olive oil and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Add to salads and pasta.
5. Stuffed beef tomatoes
Prepare 100g roasted veg couscous according to the pack instructions. Slice the tops off 4 beef tomatoes, then scoop out the seeds and stir them through the couscous with 3tbsp chopped mint and a handful of pine nuts. Spoon the couscous mixture into the tomatoes and top with the reserved lids, then bake on a baking tray at 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6 for 25–30 min until softened.
6. Tomato and chilli jam
Put 4 chopped tomatoes, 1 chopped onion, 1 deseeded and chopped red pepper and 1 deseeded and chopped red chilli into a large pan. Add 100ml rice vinegar and 50g caster sugar and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 6–8 min until the mixture is syrupy. Season, then carefully pour into sterilised jars. Delicious served alongside grilled mackerel.
7. Tomato and aubergine bake
Spray a frying pan with a little oil, then gently fry 1 large sliced onion until soft and golden. Transfer to an ovenproof dish, then top with alternate slices of large vine-ripened tomatoes and aubergine. Season and scatter over fresh oregano leaves, spray with a little more oil, then bake at 190°C/fan 170°C/gas 5 for 25 min. Sprinkle over 2tbsp grated parmesan, then bake for 10 min more. Serve with roast chicken or grilled lean lamb steaks.
8. Indian chutney
Toast 1tsp cumin seeds and 1tsp black mustard seeds in a dry frying pan. Tip into a bowl with 4 finely chopped ripe tomatoes, 1 finely chopped red onion and 2tbsp finely chopped coriander. Season with ground black pepper and stir in 1tbsp olive oil, then serve alongside tandoori chicken.
Blend 8 ripe tomatoes in a food processor with 1 deseeded green pepper and 3 garlic cloves. Add 2 slices of white bread with 3tbsp water and blend again until finely chopped. Add 2tbsp olive oil and 2tbsp white wine vinegar, then season with ground black pepper and a pinch of sugar. Blend again until smooth and creamy, adding a little more water if needed. Add more vinegar or sugar to taste. Transfer to a bowl and cover, then chill in the fridge for 1–2 hr. Serve garnished with finely sliced spring onion.
10. Goat’s cheese toasts with salsa
Cut 250g mixed red and yellow cherry tomatoes into quarters, then put them in a bowl with the juice of ½ lime, 2tbsp olive oil and dried chilli flakes to taste. Stir in 2tbsp chopped flatleaf parsley and a pinch of sugar, then season with ground black pepper and set aside. Grill slices of French bread on one side, then turn and top the untoasted side with a thin slice of goat’s cheese and grill until melted. Serve warm with the salsa and mixed salad leaves.