If you are wondering what to do with the abundance of tomatoes in your garden or from the farmer’s market, then here is a collection of 20 vegan fresh tomato recipes to help inspire you find delicious ways to use them in the kitchen. You will find ideas for salads, salsa, chutney, tarts, sauces and more, plus a few tips on how to choose and store tomatoes.
It is tomato season and I cannot be more excited! I wait all year long for this time. Eating a fresh tomato grown from your own garden is so rewarding!
I’m always a bit overwhelmed though when they all come out ready to eat pretty much at the same time. I typically make a simple tomato sauce or a vegetable pasta sauce with cherry tomatoes. Then freeze the sauce to enjoy later in the middle of winter when I need a summer kiss.
But this year, my garden is bursting with tons of tomatoes and was looking for more ideas on how to use them. So I gathered a few recipes using fresh garden tomatoes from great bloggers to help me out and hopefully it will also give you some more cooking ideas!
When are tomatoes ready to pick
If you grow tomatoes, you might be like me and try to keep the fruit on the vine for as long as you can. It is so satisfying to grab the tomato still a little warm and just eat it right away. But, this can also be a little risky because more the fruit is ripe, more it can be susceptible to damage, like splitting, especially after raining. Tomatoes are actually a great fruit to harvest before it is completely ripe to let them mature detached from the plant until ready.
You can harvest tomatoes when they are about half green half pink, then let ripen at about 70˚ until ready.
How to tell when tomatoes are ready to eat
Either you are at the store or admiring the tomatoes you grew yourself, it can be tricky sometimes you determine when they are at their best to eat. Here are a few things to consider:
- Look for a deeper shade of the particular color of the tomato. So, deep red for red tomatoes, deep yellow for yellow tomatoes, etc. Also, unless looking for multicolor heirloom tomatoes, choose a tomato that’s free of discoloration or dull areas. Even a tiny black dot on the skin can hide a bad bruise inside.
- Gently test its texture by applying a slight pressure on the fruit. It should give back to the pressure, without feeling too soft nor too hard.
- You can also lift the fruit and test for heaviness. Heavier fruit means juicier tomatoes, which equal more yumminess, especially if making a sauce.
- Finally, smell the tomato! No-smell might be a sign that you are holding a no-taste tomato as well. Look for sweet and hearty aromas, especially around the stem.
How to store fresh tomatoes
This might be quite obvious, but there are more to it than simply keeping them on the counter. If you are a big fan of tomatoes, then I recommend you to read this 2017 Epicurious article by Becky Hughes. But here are my take away:
- Underripe tomatoes should be kept at room temperature to allow the ripening process to continue. You are looking for a temperatures over 55˚. You can then enjoy the fruit when completely ripe, or transfer to a cooler environment to prevent it from ripening any further.
- Ripe tomatoes should be kept at a lower temperature to stop or slow down the ripening of the fruit. The sweet spot for that would be around 55˚, which is perfect to stop the ripening process without stressing the fruit with a temperature that’s too cold. The fridge seems like the solution, but a fridge temperature is usually kept at around 35˚, which can provoke tomatoes to loose on their flavor. So, if you do need to store tomatoes in the fridge, it is then recommended to take them out from the fridge and keep on the counter for a day or two to help the flavor come back.
20 vegan fresh tomato recipes
#12: Cherry tomato sauce
Which of these vegan fresh tomato recipes are you excited to try? Let me know in the comments!