The Splendid Table gang is a group that tends to be completely tomato-obsessed, with Lynne Rossetto Kasper reigning as our queen. When tomatoes are in season, we are eating them every chance we get. Breakfast, lunch and dinner -- it doesn’t matter; they make most summer meals shine.  

While there’s nothing better than a home-grown tomato, the array of varieties available at the markets can be mind-blowing. If you have the good fortune of an abundance of tomatoes, here are 21 ways to put them to good use.


1. You can stack them:

Ripe Tomato Stack with Pine Nuts and Mozzarella
Ripe Tomato Stack with Pine Nuts and Mozzarella (Photo: Mette Nielsen)

"Garlic and pine nuts, currants and onion take the ubiquitous tomato-mozzarella salad into new territory," Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift say.



2. Stuff them:

Tomatoes Stuffed with Rice, Pine Nuts, and Fresh Oregano
Tomatoes Stuffed with Rice, Pine Nuts, and Fresh Oregano (Photo: iStock)

"These tomatoes are just as katapliktiko (unspeakably fabulous) warm or at room temperature, so you could bake them earlier in the day if you need space in the oven," Serena Bass says.


3. Or squash them:

Squashed Tomatoes
Squashed Tomatoes (Photo: Patent and the Pantry / Flickr)

"The simplicity of this Calabrian dish is stunning, and for that reason there is no point in even thinking about it until that time in late summer when utterly ripe, red, and flavorful garden tomatoes are in season -- preferably from your own or a neighbor's garden," Nancy Harmon Jenkins says.


4. Preserve them in a pickle:

Italian Farmhouse Green Tomato Pickle
Italian Farmhouse Green Tomato Pickle (Photo: matka_Wariatka / iStock / Thinkstock)

"Snappy, spicy, and a perfect lift for so many dishes, this seasoning found in the city of Lecce, in southern Italy's Apulia region, is an old way of putting up the last (or first) of the tomato harvest," Lynne Rossetto Kasper says.


5. Or in jam:

Sweet and Piquant Tomato Jam
Sweet and Piquant Tomato Jam (Photo: Citrus and Candy / Flickr)

"I've had it on garlic and olive oil bruschetta, with grilled onions, it's good with pork, any roasted vegetable, and pretty decent on its own on crackers," Lynne Rossetto Kasper says. [Also: Early Girl Tomato Marmalade, Tomato and Eggplant Compote or Green Tomato Jam Tart.]


6. Of course you can turn them into sauce:

Classic Italian Tomato Sauce
Classic Italian Tomato Sauce (Photo: margouillatphotos / iStock / Thinkstock)

"So fresh-tasting and yet deep and complex, this is ideal for freezing or canning, since the recipe requires the least work of all cooked tomato sauces," Lynne Rossetto Kasper says. [Also: Yellow Tomato Sauce, Flash-Sautéed Fresh Cherry Tomato Sauce, Tomato Sauce IV or Uncooked Tomato Sauce for Fusilli.]


7. Blend them into a hot soup:

Fresh Heirloom Tomato Soup with Cream
Fresh Heirloom Tomato Soup with Cream (Photo: magospot / iStock / Thinkstock)

"Tomatoes that taste like heaven are essential here," Lynne Rossetto Kasper says. [Also: Easy Cream of Tomato Soup, South of France Tomato Soup with Young Chevre or Tomato Soup with Basil Yogurt Cream.]


8. Or a cold soup:

Classic Andalusian Gazpacho
Classic Andalusian Gazpacho (Photo: iStockphoto)

"A fruity Spanish olive oil, preferably from Andalusia, is important, as is a good sherry vinegar, preferably aged," Anya Von Bremzen says. [Also: Gazpacho in a Pitcher, Live Habanero Tomato Soup, Marinated Heirloom Tomato Soup, Summer Market Gazpacho or Tomato-Melon Gazpacho.]


9. Make some salsa:

Lebanese Style Salsa
Lebanese Style Salsa (Photo: iStockphoto)

"This salsa fresca comes in handy when someone is intolerant to cilantro and the mint and parsley mixture gives it a very unique flavor that goes well with grilled meats," Roberto Santibañez says. [Also: Pico de Gallo Salsa.]


10. Or a dip:

Spicy Tomato & Pepper Dip

Spicy Tomato & Pepper Dip
 (Photo: Liz and Max Haarala Hamilton)

"Ezme is a wonderful Turkish dish made with the ripest of tomatoes, which give it a deep, sweet flavour to contrast with the fiery kick of chillies and the acidity given to the dish by vinegar and pomegranate molasses," Sabrina Ghayour says.


11. Drink them:

The Farmers Market
The Farmers Market (Photo: Amy Stewart)

This summer cocktail also calls for cucumbers, celery, cilantro and peppers. [Also: Tomato Cucumber Water or BLT Cocktail.]


12. Or use them for vinaigrette:

Warm Tomato Vinaigrette
Warm Tomato Vinaigrette (Photo: mikafotostok / iStock / Thinkstock)

"This is a basic vinaigrette only instead of being cold, it's mixed together in a medium hot pan, which intensifies the flavor of the tomato and the sweetness of the shallot," Michael Ruhlman says.


13. Put them in pudding:

Summer Tomato Pudding
Summer Tomato Pudding (Photo: Ellen Silverman)

"[This pudding is] about good tomatoes, cream, bread and cheese -- a quartet that should be stenciled on kitchen walls as the ultimate can’t-miss, fallback dish," Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift say.


14. Or in kibbeh:

Vegan Tomato Kibbeh
Vegan Tomato Kibbeh (Photo: Jason Varney)

"While tomato kibbeh is at its finest at the height of tomato season, it tastes wonderful even with winter tomatoes," Maureen Abood says.


15. Candy them:

Oven-Candied Summer Tomatoes
Oven-Candied Summer Tomatoes (Photo: iStock)

"My friend Lois claims having these tomatoes on hand is like having money in the bank," Lynne Rossetto Kasper says.


16. Or make tomato chips:

Tomato Chips
Tomato Chips (Photo: iStock)

"Tomato chips of many colors and sizes are fun as a garnish," Amy Goldman says.


17. Serve them on toast:

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Ricotta
Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Ricotta (Photo: John von Pamer)

"For these simple yet stunning crostini, roasted cherry tomatoes are paired with fresh, creamy ricotta, which also acts as an anchor for the tomatoes, keeping them from falling off the toast as you eat," Andrew Feinberg, Francine Stephens and Melissa Clark say. "Pile the tomatoes as high as you can for a truly spectacular summer snack." [Also: Bruschetta, Slow-Roasted Tomatoes on Croutons or Heirloom Tomatoes with Bacon, Blue Cheese and Basil.]


18. In a sandwich:

Last of the Tomatoes Commemorative Sandwich
Last of the Tomatoes Commemorative Sandwich (Photo: Andy Kruse)

"For the tomato-obsessed this is a poignant time of year -- only a few more days, perhaps weeks, of splendid tomatoes," Lynne Rossetto Kasper says. "Short of eating them out of hand, we must each experience what for us is our own primal tomato. After twisting the fruit from the plant and eating it right there and then, this is mine."


19. Or in a salad:

Yankee Tomato Salad
Yankee Tomato Salad (Photo: Brennan Photography Inc.)

"Big chunks of ripe beefsteak and green tomatoes (use more red ones in a pinch) get bathed in a warm, garlicky, sweet-sour dressing," Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift say. [Also: BLT Salad, Tomato-Mozzarella Salad with Spiked Pine Nuts and Basil, Salad of Green and Red Tomatoes, Nectarine, Tomato and Basil Salad with Torn Mozzarella, Perfect Summer Salad or Fattoush.]


20. Have a tomato tasting:

Tomato Tasting
Tomato Tasting (Photo: John Kernick)

"Assemble as many varieties, colors, shapes, and sizes of very ripe tomatoes as you can find," Andrea Reusing says. "Choose a few different 'cuts' for variety."


21. Or just eat them right off the vine:

tomatoes on vine
(Photo: fotokostic / iStock / Thinkstock)

There is nothing quite like eating a warm, ripe tomato just plucked from the vine.

Finally, if you've grown your own tomatoes, don't forget to save the seeds. It's never too early to start planning for next summer.

Jennifer Russell

Jennifer Russell is a founding producer at The Splendid Table. Before coming to radio, she made historical and arts and cultural programming for public television. She claims to have come out of the womb a food lover -- when other girls played house, she played restaurateur. Follow her comings and goings on Twitter: @jenejentweets.