A person removing a slice of fresh tomato tart with a lifter and a bowl of pesto and black pepper on the side.
Cenk Sönmezsoy
1 of 23

Fresh Tomato Tart

This fresh tomato tart is laden with slices of summer tomato—preferably heirloom—on an herbed crust topped with creamy goat cheese and finished with a pesto vinaigrette. Elegant and impressive yet (shhhhh!) really quite easy.
Recipe
An oval platter topped with spaghetti with raw tomatoes and a couple of spoons on the side.
Joel Meyerowitz
2 of 23

Spaghetti with Raw Tomatoes

With tomatoes in season, this pasta with fresh tomatoes is the epitome of good and simple. Eat it al fresco—it's like taking an Italian vacation.
Recipe
Three resealable plastic bags filled with freezer tomato sauce.
Deirdre Rooney
3 of 23

Freezer Tomato Sauce

This freezer tomato sauce is a simple homemade spaghetti sauce made with that glut of garden tomatoes. Stash it in the freezer now, and thank yourself later.
Recipe
A wooden cutting board with a bowl of caramelized onion and tomato jam and several toasted baguette slices on it.
Joe St. Pierre
4 of 23

Caramelized Onion and Tomato Jam

This sweet and sticky no-pectin tomato jam is made with caramelized onions, toasted spices, and slowly simmered Roma tomatoes. You'll be putting it on everything.
Recipe
A cast-iron skillet filled with a tomato ricotta pie, one slice missing. Next to it, a white plate with a half eaten slice of pie.
Evan Sung
5 of 23

Tomato Ricotta Pie

Guests swoon at the sight and sigh with delight at the taste of this simple tomato, ricotta, and Manchego pie filling in a flaky cream cheese crust.
Recipe
A metal sheet pan covered with spread-out tomato paste.
Sara Remington
6 of 23

Homemade Tomato Paste

Homemade tomato paste is surprisingly easy to make at home and a great way to use up lots of tomatoes. All you need are tomatoes, salt, olive oil, a food mill, and a flair for classic Italian goodness.
Recipe
A pan of skillet tortellini with sausage and cherry tomatoes sprinkled with chopped basil.
America’s Test Kitchen
7 of 23

Skillet Tortellini with Sausage and Cherry Tomatoes

After browning some sausage, the tortellini go directly into the same pan with some water. Once the pasta is tender, cherry tomatoes join the party and soften into a makeshift sauce. A shower of fresh basil makes this pantry meal feel a little fresher and more aromatic.
Recipe
A white plate topped with a piece of cooked salmon with blistered cherry tomatoes, shallots, and fresh basil.
John Autry
8 of 23

Salmon with Cherry Tomatoes

This salmon with blistered cherry tomatoes is quick, easy to make, and healthy. In other words, perfect weeknight fare.
Recipe
A red bowl filled with fire-roasted salsa in the middle of a Mexican feast.
Bonnie Savage
9 of 23

Homemade Fire Roasted Salsa

This fire roasted salsa is made with charred tomatoes and onions and, just for complexity and to ensure the salsa is sufficiently smoky, a smidgen of chipotle in adobo. Great for dunking, dipping, and dabbling.
Recipe
Several halves of tomato Provençal on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet.
Eric Wolfinger
10 of 23

Tomatoes Provencal

Tomatoes Provencal are stuffed tomatoes, heirloom or otherwise, made with bread crumbs, cheese, herbs, and olive oil. So simple. So spectacular.
Recipe
A cherry tomato tart ini a pie crust on a red plate, garnished with basil leaves and flanked by a pie server.
David Leite
11 of 23

Cherry Tomato Tart

This cherry tomato tart calls for a homemade herbed crust, heavy cream, goat cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and tons of tomatoes.
Recipe
A black skillet filled with summer tomato pasta, sprinkled with fresh Parmesan cheese.
Amber Wilson
12 of 23

Summer Tomato Pasta

This summer tomato pasta with basil is made with a handful of pantry staples, including fresh tomatoes, spaghetti or bucatini, and plenty of grated Parmesan. A fast, easy, no-fuss summer meal that's on the table in just 30 minutes.
Recipe
A Dutch oven filled with a cherry tomato confit of Sun Gold cherry tomatoes, oil, and fresh basil leaves.
Michael Graydon | Nikole Herriott
13 of 23

Cherry Tomato Confit

This cherry tomato confit is sweet and easy and a lovely way of preserving all those Sun Golds you planted earlier this summer. Here’s how to make it.
Recipe
A roasted tomato tart with cheddar and basil sprinkled over the top.
Paige Green
14 of 23

Roasted Tomato-Basil Tart

This roasted tomato tart with Cheddar and basil is brimming with flavorful slow-roasted tomatoes that bear an intensely concentrated essence and melds it all with an easy free-form pastry crust.
Recipe
A small white bowl filled with homemade ketchup.
bigacis
15 of 23

Homemade Ketchup

This homemade ketchup recipe, made with tomatoes, vinegar, and sugar, is made without high-fructose corn syrup. And with a whole lot more complexity and finesse than the store-bought stuff.
Recipe
A patterned plate topped with a Moroccan salad made with sliced oranges and tomatoes, black olives, and sliced red onion.
Åsa Dahlgren
16 of 23

Moroccan Salad

This Moroccan salad is a tart, salty, and tangy side dish that's full of incredibly vibrant tastes. Serve as a side to spicy chicken tagine with rice.
Recipe
A blue background with a white bowl filled with sliced peaches, tomatoes, red onions, basil, and chunks of bread.
Elizabeth Cecil
17 of 23

Tomato and Peach Panzanella

Tomato and peach panzanella may sound unlikely but it’s gonna knock your socks off. Or, if you’re not wearing socks this time of year, then it’ll knock your flip-flops off. Guaranteed.
Recipe
A large pot of Ina Garten's easy tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich being cut into croutons beside it.
Quentin Bacon
18 of 23

Ina Garten’s Easy Tomato Soup

This tomato soup is spiced with saffron, which has enough flavor to stand up to the Gruyère in the croutons. And the whole thing is awfully easy to put together, beating out anything from a can, anyday.
Recipe
Fish fillets on a sheet pan with roasted tomatoes and black olives.
Gentl + Hyers
19 of 23

Baked Fish with Tomatoes and Olives

Baked fish with tomatoes and olives is sorta Italian, sorta Mediterranean, and completely easy and impressive. Works wonderfully on crazy weeknights as well as dinner parties.
Recipe
Three jars filled with pickled green tomatoes and a cinnamon stick with two empty jars in the background.
Alan Benson
20 of 23

Pickled Green Tomatoes

These pickled green tomatoes have loads of flavor from the sweet and salty brine and the freshness of green tomatoes. You'll wish that you made more, I promise.
Recipe
A cocktail glass with a scoop of summer tomato sorbet and a sprig of basil for garnish.
Takeru
21 of 23

Tomato Sorbet

Tomato sorbet can be made with any tomatoes that you desire, or have on hand. This stunning dessert adds lemon, basil, and sugar to make a fresh and bright dish.
Recipe
People gathered around a cast-iron skillet on a wooden board with some spaghetti and red sauce.
Eric Wolfinger
22 of 23

Sugo di Pomodoro ~ Authentic Italian Tomato Sauce

This red sauce, or sugo di pomodoro, is an easy, classic Italian tomato sauce made with tomatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil, and basil. Ideal for busy weeknights as well as easy entertaining.
Recipe
A close-up of a bowl filled with rigatoni noodles, covered with Parmesan cheese and basil.
Oran Tantapakul
23 of 23

Rigatoni with Tomatoes, Eggplant, and Mozzarella

Rigatoni with sweet tomatoes, eggplant, and mozzarella is a deceptively easy pasta dinner that tastes much more difficult. Cheesy and filled with silky eggplant, tomatoes, and cream, it also bakes into a magnificent casserole.
Recipe

FAQs About Using Up Extra Tomatoes

How can I tell if my tomatoes are perfectly ripe?

Whether you’ve got a garden full of tomatoes, or you’re carefully selecting the best ones at the market, there are a few things to consider. Perfectly ripe tomatoes are brightly colored, blemish-free, and fragrant when sniffed. They’re firm and heavy for their size, but should yield slightly when gently squeezed. For more details, read the full article How to Tell if a Tomato is Perfectly Ripe.

How should tomatoes be stored?

Tomatoes should be stored at room temperature on the counter in an open container lined with paper towels. Keep them out of direct sunlight. Never store whole tomatoes in the refrigerator.

If your tomatoes are fully ripe, store them stem side down, and use within a day or two.

If your tomatoes are not fully ripe yet, store them in a single layer in the container until they are ripe, up to a week.

What are the best uses for various types of tomatoes?

If you’ve got juicy, ripe, fresh tomatoes, you can’t really go wrong, but some varieties are better suited to particular recipes.

Roma or plum tomatoes are meaty, with lower water and seed content, so they are better suited to making tomato paste and sauces.

Cherry and grape tomatoes are the most versatile, stand up well to cooking, and can be used in almost any recipe. Their smaller size makes them quicker to roast or dry. They also make a great portable snack.

Beefsteak tomatoes are juicy, with plenty of flesh, making them ideal for salsa. Their excellent flavor makes them terrific for slicing atop burgers (or even standing in for the burger patty).

Heirloom tomatoes are incredibly flavorful, and often visually stunning, so save these beauties for topping fresh tomato tarts and tomato sandwiches.




About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.


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2 Comments

  1. Thank you, great, informative article. I grew up in the pizza capital of the world, Waterbury, Conn. In school at Notre Dame Academy, the nuns would sometimes buy local pizza for us at lunch. Bacco’s pizza with tomato sauce. No cheese, no nothing. It was fabulous.

    1. That does sound fabulous, Mary. It just goes to show when you have good quality ingredients, often simple and unadorned is the best.