Summertime and the living is…lazy. For most of us, anyways, it’s easy to let our actions—or lack thereof—and our expectations become a little lax this time of year. This was never the case with Jean-Louis Palladin, the late and much-beloved chef of The Watergate in Washington DC and Palladin in New York City. Even in summer, he was full of sophisticated, and, at times, quite mischievous surprises. Like this tomato sorbet recipe. Despite its unexpected and complex taste, the dish itself is sheer simplicity, which means those of us without restaurant staff can still pull off this little act of hijinx.–Jean-Louis Palladin

LC You Say Yellow Tomato, I Say Red Tomato Note

Though this tomato sorbet recipe is stunning when made with yellow beauties, as Palladin instructs, you can make it with any summer stunner, heirloom or otherwise, in any hue. You can also decide for yourself whether you wish to make the accompanying colorful coulis.

A cocktail glass with a scoop of summer tomato sorbet and a sprig of basil for garnish.

Tomato Sorbet

5 / 2 votes
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.
David Leite
Servings6 servings
Calories170 kcal
Prep Time40 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 40 minutes


For the sorbet

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 pounds yellow tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Small sprigs of basil, (optional)

For the coulis (optional)

  • 1/2 pound green tomatoes, peeled and seeded
  • 1/2 pound red tomatoes, peeled and seeded
  • Sugar, to taste


Make the sorbet

  • In a medium saucepan over low heat, stir together the sugar, water and tomatoes and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Taste and add more sugar if desired.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and place in an ice bath to cool. Transfer the cooled tomato mixture to a blender or food processor and purée. Add the lemon juice and pulse to mix.
  • Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s directions. Transfer to a resealable container and freeze.

Make the coulis (optional)

  • Place the green tomatoes in a blender or food processor and purée. Add sugar to taste. Transfer to a bowl.
  • Repeat with the red tomatoes and sugar.
  • Cover each bowl with plastic wrap and chill.

To serve

  • Mound the tomato sorbet in the center of individual serving dishes and, if you choose, garnish with a tiny sprig of basil and spoon a pool of coulis on either side.


Serving: 1 portionCalories: 170 kcalCarbohydrates: 42 gProtein: 2 gFat: 1 gSaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 1 gSodium: 43 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 36 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2010 Jean Louis Palladin. Photo © 2010 Takeru. All rights reserved.

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.

Hungry For More?

Peanut Butter Ice Cream with Nutella Fudge

This incredible ice cream from tester Jennifer Jacobs has ribbons of Nutella swirled through peanut butter ice cream. Yes, it’s every bit as divine as it sounds.

1 d

No-Churn Coffee Ice Cream

That magical combination of coffee and chocolate has been turned into an irresistible frozen treat. No ice cream maker required.

4 hrs 30 mins

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating