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22 Tasty Tomato Recipes

Tomato avocado strawberry caprese
Tomato avocado strawberry caprese - Christina Musgrave/Daily Meal

Tomatoes are the versatile culinary darlings of cultures across the globe with numerous recipes featuring them. This plant from the Solanaceae or Nightshade family of vegetables, including eggplants, potatoes, and peppers, originated in Central and South America before migrating to Europe in the 1500s. While it has since become common, it was initially viewed with skepticism and considered toxic due to the deadly interaction between its inherent acid and the pewter plates on which it was served, which would result in lead poisoning.

Today, the most heated debate regarding the tomato lies in whether you should consider it a fruit or a vegetable. Botanically speaking, this plant is a fruit since it is a sweet, seed-bearing berry. Logistically speaking, it has long been regarded as a vegetable because of how it is typically cooked and consumed. From a legal perspective, tomatoes were declared a vegetable by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1883 in the landmark case of Nix v. Hedden, per The University of Vermont.

Whether you consider the tomato a fruit or a vegetable, its chameleon-like qualities are undeniable. This plant handily morphs from sauce to soup to salad with just a little know-how. In my roughly 18 years as a professional chef, tomatoes have long been a favorite ingredient of mine in many recipes. Several of these are reflected in this compilation of tomato dishes from the Daily Meal archives. Read on for some tempting tomato taste-spiration.

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Snack-Worthy Pesto Brie Bites

Pesto Brie Bites
Pesto Brie Bites - Kristen Carli/Daily Meal

These four-ingredient, easy-to-make, bite-sized snacks are elevated by the sweet, tangy, and complex flavor of chewy sun-dried tomatoes. Sun-dried tomatoes can be purchased in vacuum-sealed bags or jarred in oil. Either works perfectly for this recipe, but drain the ones jarred in oil so they do not make the dough soggy.

Though crescent rolls are used in the basic recipe, you could easily substitute this with frozen puff pastry. And don't forget that the chewy, flour-like rind surrounding the brie is not intended to be removed before consuming the cheese. This is perfectly edible and imparts a unique flavor and texture.

Recipe: Snack-Worthy Pesto Brie Bites

TikTok-Inspired Feta Pasta

Feta Pasta
Feta Pasta - Christina Musgrave/Daily Meal

The simplicity of this dish is masked by the complex flavors derived from baking the feta with the slightly spicy heirloom tomatoes. The resulting sauce is creamy, salty, and umami-rich, thanks to the caramelization of the natural sugars in the tomatoes.

While you could use any pasta for this dish, fusilli, penne, and farfalle would all have a delightful al dente texture and plenty of nooks and crannies to hold the sauce. And don't forget to reserve the drained pasta water. The starches in the water will help the sauce to adhere to the pasta without interfering with its flavor.

Recipe: TikTok-Inspired Feta Pasta

Quick And Easy Shrimp Ceviche

Shrimp Ceviche
Shrimp Ceviche - Erin Johnson/Daily Meal

This refreshing spin on classic ceviches eliminates using raw fish, substituting it with cooked shrimp to expedite the marinating process. You will want to eat this immediately after assembling to prevent the tomatoes and cucumbers from leaching too much moisture due to the salt and lime juice.

You can eliminate or swap out onions with another crunchy yet aromatic vegetable, like raw fennel or celery if they are not your cup of tea. You can also try soaking them in ice-cold water for 20 minutes before drying and adding them to temper their assertive flavor.

Recipe: Quick And Easy Shrimp Ceviche

Spicy Serrano Pico De Gallo

Serrano Pico De Gallo
Serrano Pico De Gallo - Erin Johnson/Daily Meal

Vine-ripened tomatoes picked at their peak in the summer shine at their best in a classic pico de gallo. This chunky spin on salsa is ideal for chips or to top your favorite Latin dishes, like tacos or nachos. The key is to chop the vegetables into uniformly small pieces to make them easily scoopable.

For spicier pico de gallo, chop the seeds and membrane of the serrano pepper right into the mix. For more measured heat, slice the peppers down the center lengthwise and remove the seeds and membrane before chopping them. And don't forget to wear gloves!

Recipe: Spicy Serrano Pico De Gallo

1-Pot Tomato Soup

Bowls of Tomato Soup
Bowls of Tomato Soup - Catherine Brookes/Daily Meal

Many of us grew up eating canned tomato soup with our grilled cheese sandwiches. This combination evokes strong emotions from even the most sophisticated foodie. That said, the canned iteration of tomato soup is loaded with sodium and preservatives that leave much to be desired.

This spin on the classic incorporates two kinds of tomatoes for intense flavor, canned and purée. Consider using fire-roasted tomatoes for a hint of complexity and amplify this with a good dose of smoked hot paprika. Once puréed, this creamy, dreamy soup is ready for dunking in a cheese-filled panini loaded with gruyere, Swiss, and smoked mozzarella.

Recipe: 1-Pot Tomato Soup

Simple Homemade Taco Sauce

Homemade Taco Sauce
Homemade Taco Sauce - Catherine Brookes/Daily Meal

Commercially produced taco sauces are readily available in most grocery stores. Many lack the nuanced flavor to transform our Mexican dishes into spectacular creations. This easy-to-make homemade version relies on the transformative nature of ground spices and dried herbs to impart a robust taste to canned tomato sauce.

The key is to allow those seasonings to infuse the tomato sauce by simmering them together for at least 10 minutes. If you need more heat or are looking for a funky twist on a classic, try scooping in a dollop of gochujang. This fermented chili sauce will take your taco sauce game to the next level.

Recipe: Simple Homemade Taco Sauce

Classic Fresh Pico De Gallo

Classic Fresh Pico De Gallo
Classic Fresh Pico De Gallo - Kristen Carli/Daily Meal

This pico de gallo specifies the use of Roma tomatoes. This type of tomato is favored for its distinctive firm texture and fewer seeds. The other key ingredient in this pico de gallo is copious quantities of cilantro.

A fun fact is that some people perceive cilantro as having an astringent, almost soap-like quality. This may have to do with the presence of genes that are uniquely coded to detect aldehyde chemicals present in cilantro. These chemicals are also used in soap production. If you would like, you can easily swap Italian parsley for the cilantro to mitigate this.

Recipe: Classic Fresh Pico De Gallo

Mediterranean-Inspired Shrimp And Grits

Mediterranean-Inspired Shrimp And Grits
Mediterranean-Inspired Shrimp And Grits - Erin Johnson/Daily Meal

Shrimp and grits may be a Southern comfort food staple, but cornmeal in the form of polenta made from more delicate flint corn is a common ingredient consumed in the culinary traditions of countries surrounding the Mediterranean. This spin on the Southern classic is an homage to this heritage.

The key ingredients transforming this from Southern fare to Mediterranean specialty are the tomatoes, olives, and feta, popular in many Greek dishes. Make sure you purchase peeled and deveined shrimp to expedite the assembly of this quick and easy dinner. And don't forget to thaw them before use if they are frozen.

Recipe: Mediterranean-Inspired Shrimp And Grits

Gooey Quesadilla Burgers

Gooey Quesadilla Burgers
Gooey Quesadilla Burgers - Deniz Vergara/Daily Meal

Tomatoes feature in a couple of different capacities in this playful mash-up of burgers and quesadillas. The combination of hearty meat patties with cheesy, gooey quesadillas is delicious. But, when garnished with juicy, ripe tomato slices and a delectable sauce made from ketchup, mayonnaise, and sriracha, they are instantly transformed into something magical.

If you are concerned about the tomatoes becoming mushy once heated, try searching for the large beefsteak variety. This type of tomato gets its name from its distinct, meaty, firm flesh and durable, easy-to-slice peel, making it ideal for sandwiches of any kind.

Recipe: Gooey Quesadilla Burgers

Whole Wheat Summer Vegetable Pizza

Summer Vegetable Pizza
Summer Vegetable Pizza - Kristen Carli/Daily Meal

No recipe round-up featuring tomatoes would be complete without including a pizza. This healthy yet delicious iteration takes advantage of the bounty of fresh summer vegetables, showcasing them on a homemade whole-wheat pizza crust. While the crust takes a little extra time and effort to make, it is well worth it in terms of flavor and texture.

Instead of plain marinara, try using a spicy Arrabiata sauce to jazz this pizza up. And if you cannot locate the chili onion crisps, you could accent this pizza with bacon bits, crumbled spicy potato chips, or crumbled french-fried onions.

Recipe: Whole Wheat Summer Vegetable Pizza

Vegan Cauliflower Taco Salad

Vegan Cauliflower Taco Salad
Vegan Cauliflower Taco Salad - Deniz Vergara/Daily Meal

This clever spin on a classic taco salad includes all the typical accouterments, like tomatoes, lettuce, avocado, and corn. It substitutes the cooked ground beef with a delicious, savory cauliflower-based play on taco meat.

The intense umami-rich flavor is imparted by combining ground walnuts, tomato paste, and spices. The cauliflower chunks are coated in this marinade before they are roasted to a delightful crisp, golden finish. The result is nothing short of delicious. To top this salad, try a tangy cilantro lime dressing featuring spicy jalapeños to make the whole dish pop. Garnish with queso fresco for a creamy finish if you are not vegan.

Recipe: Vegan Cauliflower Taco Salad

Strawberry-Avocado Caprese Salad

Strawberry-Avocado Caprese Salad
Strawberry-Avocado Caprese Salad - Christina Musgrave/Daily Meal

This refreshing summer salad capitalizes on the fact that tomatoes are fruit by pairing them with creamy avocado and strawberries. The key is to make sure your tomatoes are ripe when they are sweeter and have good acidity to balance out the other fruits.

If you are feeling extra fancy, try investing in burrata. This variation on mozzarella is stuffed with fresh, sweet cream. When you cut into it, the cream oozes out, lathering the rest of the ingredients in a luxurious bath of decadence that mingles perfectly with the olive oil and balsamic. Don't forget to season this salad with salt and pepper before serving.

Recipe: Strawberry-Avocado Caprese Salad

Easy Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Mediterranean Pasta Salad
Mediterranean Pasta Salad - Miriam Hahn/Daily Meal

This pasta salad may appear to have tons of ingredients, but they come together in a flash. Most of the flavor comes from the simple vinaigrette featuring Dijon mustard and lemon juice that infuses the pasta and vegetables with just the right amount of acidity.

Though you could use any pasta, farfalle or bowtie noodles are the quintessential salad shape. Be sure to adequately cool the pasta before adding the vegetables, or they will begin to cook and become soggy rather than remain crisp and crunchy. If pine nuts aren't your thing, toasted slivered almonds or pistachios would be ideal substitutes.

Recipe: Easy Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Cheesy Tomato And Zucchini Casserole

Cheesy Tomato And Zucchini Casserole
Cheesy Tomato And Zucchini Casserole - Deniz Vergara/Daily Meal

This simple, tasty spin on a classic ratatouille dish features fresh summer vegetables, including tomatoes and zucchini, that get layered into a baking dish and topped with a combination of panko breadcrumbs and cheese. The result is a bubbling, golden, crisp crust that delicately envelops the seasoned vegetables.

While you could serve this as a side dish or entrée, it could easily be transformed into a savory breakfast when finished with over-easy eggs and served with crusty bread. And even though you may be tempted to, do not use plain bread crumbs instead of the panko; they do not have the same crisp texture when cooked.

Recipe: Cheesy Tomato And Zucchini Casserole

Southwestern Taco Bake

Southwestern Taco Bake
Southwestern Taco Bake - Kristen Carli/Daily Meal

Tacos are great. Lasagna is delicious. A mash-up of the two is a match made in culinary heaven. This spin on lasagna swaps flour tortillas for the noodles and uses all the ingredients you would typically have on hand for filling your tacos, layering them into a casserole, and baking it all into a melty, gooey, golden delight.

I recommend using ground beef with a lean-to-fat ratio of around 90/10 for this recipe. This is lean enough to ensure your casserole is not greasy. You can also use any beans, such as pinto or red beans. And if you prefer a little heat, swap the canned tomatoes with hot salsa.

Recipe: Southwestern Taco Bake

Simple Bolognese Sauce

Simple Bolognese Sauce
Simple Bolognese Sauce - Kristen Carli/Daily Meal

Marinara is delicious but can be overly acidic for some. A delightful and perhaps more filling alternative for those wanting a full-flavored ragu that will highlight the freshness of tomatoes while imparting slow-cooked umami-rich meatiness is a classic Bolognese.

While this recipe features ground beef, you could easily substitute any meat, like pork, veal, lamb, turkey, or venison. You could also use a combination thereof. A mixture can create complex flavor while adding much-needed moisture to lower-fat meats. Lastly, don't skimp on the Parmesan cheese here. This is the time to use freshly grated authentic Parmigiano Reggiano, not the pre-grated stuff in the green jar.

Recipe: Simple Bolognese Sauce

Cheesy Baked Ziti

Cheesy Baked Ziti
Cheesy Baked Ziti - Christina Musgrave/Daily Meal

A pasta bake is the perfect one-dish meal to feed a hungry family on a busy weeknight. This recipe for baked ziti comes together in under an hour yet features flavors that give it that cooked-all-day feel. The key is layering the ground beef with aromatics and seasonings before simmering it in tomato sauce.

Any tomato sauce will work fine, though I recommend using one with some added flavor, like a mushroom or roasted garlic variety. Additionally, while ricotta may be classic, you could always substitute full-fat, small-curd cottage cheese to boost protein, but strain it before incorporating it into the sauce.

Recipe: Cheesy Baked Ziti

Pesto-Baked Salmon

Pesto-Baked Salmon
Pesto-Baked Salmon - Catherine Brookes/Daily Meal

The tomatoes in this recipe burst with flavor as they bake alongside the pesto-crusted salmon, releasing moisture that will help steam the salmon and keep it moist while creating a perfect side dish for the fish. Opt for the wild Pacific sockeye salmon for this recipe; its deep crimson-hued flesh is richer in flavor and has a luscious, meaty texture.

Do not overcook your salmon, or it can dry out. I recommend using a meat thermometer to test the fish. Once it has reached 140 degrees F, take it out of the oven and allow it to cool for five minutes before serving.

Recipe: Pesto-Baked Salmon

Classic Lasagna

Classic Lasagna
Classic Lasagna - Catherine Brookes/Daily Meal

This surprising lasagna recipe sneaks in a secret ingredient that will amplify the sweetness in the dish to help balance out the acidity of the tomatoes. Shredded carrots become sweeter as their cellular structure is broken down, making them a powerhouse in the flavor department.

To ensure the lasagna doesn't come out too moist, try coating the ground beef in a slurry of 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda combined with 1 tablespoon of water for every pound of meat for 15 minutes before browning it. This will prevent the meat from leaching excess moisture, yielding a lasagna that will be easier to serve without falling apart.

Recipe: Classic Lasagna

Southwest Chili

Southwest Chili
Southwest Chili - Kristen Carli/Daily Meal

This beef chili uses three different types of beans, each having a distinct texture and color for a complex, slow-cooked feel. The beans are simmered with aromatics, spices, tomatoes, and chilis for just 20 minutes for a hearty meal that will titillate your taste buds.

Add some cocoa powder and Chinese five spice to give this a sweet and savory Cincinnati chili vibe. You can also toss in some booze to jazz things up. Stout beer and red wine both have tannins that will confer cooked-all-day flavor in a short amount of time. Deglaze the pan with the booze before adding the beans and liquid.

Recipe: Southwest Chili

Spanish Rice

Spanish Rice
Spanish Rice - Catherine Brookes/Daily Meal

What makes Spanish rice such a dynamite side dish to a Latin-inspired menu is its bold flavors, bright colors, and capacity to absorb sauces of all kinds. This quick version is no exception. It is loaded with aromatics and seasonings to amplify the taste.

While many rice recipes call for using water as the primary cooking liquid, this one uses chicken stock or broth. I recommend using one that is unsalted or low-sodium so that you can control the salinity of the dish. Lastly, a dash of smoked paprika would confer additional robust flavor to accentuate the other spices in this dish.

Recipe: Spanish Rice

Classic Mexican Rice

Classic Mexican Rice
Classic Mexican Rice - Catherine Brookes/Daily Meal

Though not too dissimilar to Spanish rice, this recipe uses more tomatoes. Canned, chopped tomatoes, and sauce are added to the chicken stock to help cook the rice.

While unspecified, this dish would work best with a long grain of rice, such as basmati or jasmine. These have a distinctive, nutty, fragrant flavor that makes them ideal for this recipe in contrast with the heat of the chili powder, the smoke of the cumin, the acidity of the tomato, and the brightness of the cilantro. Again, if you do not like cilantro, leave it out or swap it with Italian parsley.

Recipe: Classic Mexican Rice

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