If you are a keen tomato grower, you will already know that just one tomato plant will give you between 20 and 90 tomatoes. That’s about 10 – 30 pounds of tomatoes from a single plant.
Add to this the fact that few people choose to grow only one tomato plant, and it’s easy to see how you’ll end up with piles and piles of tomatoes – more than you know what to do with. If you’re growing determinate tomatoes that ripen all at once, the problem only worsens.
That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the best recipes that use a whole load of tomatoes at once, ensuring none of the delicious fruits go to waste.
Napolitana Sauce for Pasta and Pizza
A good Napolitana sauce has plenty of olive oil, garlic, onions, basil and of course — tomatoes. This classic dish needs a bit of time to reduce to a thick sauce that can be used to coat pasta or lay the foundation for a classic pizza.
The tomatoes are best skinned by setting first in hot water and then peeling and chopping to help with the reduction. The whole mixture can also be blended with a stick blender or transferred to a food processor to make the sauce as chunky or as smooth as you like. The best sauce is cooked until there is no watery residue when it is served.
Napolitana sauce is named for its origins in Naples. Like a lot of Italian food, it’s best with simple ingredients that bring out the flavors of homegrown tomatoes. We can all learn from the source to make this sauce, so do try Italian Mary Ann Esposito’s Real Sauce.
Tomato Chili Jam
Tomatoes and chilies make an excellent combination. The tomatoes hold flavor and a good sweet base to carry the chili spiciness.
This jam can be used on anything to spice it up. Take a smashed avocado toast with a poached egg for breakfast and lift to another level with tomato chili jam to wake up the tastebuds. Or, late at night when a snack is needed and the biscuits and cheese come out, why not add some more flavor with a nice dollop of tomato chili jam.
This jam can be made with very few ingredients. However, if you are going to the trouble of converting your bumper tomato harvest into hot spicy jars, why not try Thomasina Miers’ recipe that takes a jam to another level but is still quick and easy to make.
Fresh Tomato Ketchup
By making your own fresh tomato ketchup, you are in control of the sugar and salt that are added to the sauce, rather than a manufacturer (you will be surprised at how much a small amount of ketchup can have). The flavor will also be superior just by its freshness.
Homemade tomato ketchup will last in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks once opened (but probably not that long because it’s a very good sauce).
Toni from Boulder has a superb recipe that will make use of loads of tomatoes.
Roasted Tomato Sauce
Roasting a vegetable changes its flavor – to arguably better than before. With tomatoes, it’s no different. The sweetness of tomatoes expands and they come out of the oven with smoky delicious flesh that is perfect for a sauce.
Ideal for pasta, it is also good with meatballs, on toasted ciabatta, with seafood or just for a dip for French fries. Just add a little olive oil and salt and leave the stalks on for added flavor and you have the start of a beautiful dish.
Try this recipe from the Pasta Evangelists.
Homemade Tomato Paste
Making your own tomato paste may take a bit more time and a lot more tomatoes. But since it’s so versatile in the kitchen, it is worth the extra effort. One tomato makes approximately one tablespoon of tomato paste, but you only need 1 tablespoon to pack in enough flavor to improve a soup, brighten a pasta sauce or enrich a Bolognese.
David Leite has a comprehensive recipe for a Tomato Paste. Take time over this one and it will be worth it in the end.
Chutneys often feature in Indian cuisine as part of the ensemble served with a curry. Like jams, they are often spicy and flavourful but not as sweet. The addition of chili and red marsala adds to the brightness of the sauce, made in as little as 30 minutes. This recipe is great for a mid-week meal and will use up plenty of tomatoes.
Lorraine from Tamarind and Thyme shares her recipe for quick tomato chutney with all the spices and herbs to make it delicious.
Fresh Tomato Salsa
There is nothing quite like a fresh tomato salsa to go on a taco, with crackers for a dip, or as a side for a good hot curry. The freshness of tomatoes (especially those that have come straight from the garden) is enhanced by red onion, lime, salt and pepper and fresh cilantro.
It’s perfect for a crowd and goes with anything – hot dogs, meatloaf, eggs, fish, chicken, avocado, pizza and potatoes. In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find a savory food ingredient that doesn’t go with salsa. Add some spice with chilies if you want to increase the heat.
Cheryl shares her recipe for a “wild fermented” salsa here.
Sun-Dried Tomatoes in the Oven
Sun-dried tomatoes are tomatoes that have been leached of their water to concentrate the flavor of the tomato. This also makes them easy to store for long periods of time.
Usually, a ripe tomato will spend 4 – 10 days drying in the sun in order for it to be known as a sun-dried tomato. However, an oven can work just as well and the results are pretty much the same.
You will however need a lot of tomatoes to tackle a project like this. 7-15 pounds of tomatoes will result in about 1 pound of dried tomatoes. Once dried, the tomatoes are often preserved in olive oil and other flavors like herbs, garlic and spices added for extra flavor.
Kelly from The Pretty Bee has some good advice on drying tomatoes in an oven.
Tomato soup is a versatile dish that can be served hot or cold, smooth or chunky, with few ingredients or many, creamy or not. It’s easy to make and will pack all those vitamins you need into a bowlful with ease.
It can also stand up on its own or as a base for other ingredients like chicken or fish, noodles or vegetables. Add some crunchy fresh bread and you have a winter winner that ticks all the boxes.
Natasha has a Creamy Tomato Soup recipe served with gooey grilled cheese.
Spaghetti Bolognese Sauce
Making your own spaghetti sauce is really a no-brainer. The superior taste cannot be beaten by opening a jar of factory-produced sauce. It can also be made in big batches and frozen for use later for a quick and easy dinner.
The combination of ground beef, garlic and onions cannot be enhanced more so than with good ripe tomatoes. Skin them first and chop them up to add to the meat for a good thick sauce full of flavor. Pasta will never be the same again.
Try Thanh’s recipe and cook it for 2-3 hours for the one of the best sauces you will get.
The main ingredient of a Virgin or Bloody Mary deserves a mention in this list. If you are fond of the drinks and have a plethora of tomatoes, one of the better ways to get through them is to make them into juice.
Tomatoes after all have a really high water content (90-95%) ideal for a good juice. There are quick ways and then there are not so quick ways, so check out which ones you prefer. This quick version will have you drinking down all those healthy nutrients sooner than you think. You can also use this guide to canning tomato juice to preserve for longer.
Tomato Tarte Tatin
There are many dishes that require tomatoes to make them work or make them authentic, but this one in particular deserves a mention for its simple ingredients and use of plenty of tasty tomatoes. A traditional Tarte Tatin – named after the French Tatin sisters who invented the dish in the 1880s – is made with apples caramelized in butter.
Covered with pastry and baked, it’s revealed by flipping over the pan where hopefully none of the bits have stuck to the base and all the juices have not landed up on the floor. Once you have the technique right though, there is nothing more satisfying than revealing a beautifully baked Tarte Tatin to your guests. Tomatoes are just made for pasty and this dish will make this meal course a ten out of ten.
From Fresh Hunger comes a rustic Tomato Tart Tatin that is packed with flavor.