tomato romesco sauce
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Spanish Romesco Sauce

Searing tomatoes boosts their sweetness and flavor and is key to this piquant sauce from Spain. Pan sauté or slow roast several tomatoes in an oven with a whole head of garlic. Toss them in a blender with almonds, olive oil, and a splash of balsamic vinegar, and you've got Romesco sauce, a Catalonian classic.

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tomato cooked over a barbecue grill
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Tomatoes on the Grill

Halve tomatoes, brush the cut side with olive oil, and grill them -- cut side down -- until they've softened and charred. The heat intensifies the tomato flavor, and also boosts its antioxidant power by changing lycopene, a micronutrient, into a form that's easier for your body to use.

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fresh tomato tartlets
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Tomato Tartlets

Unroll a sheet of puff pastry, brush with olive oil, sprinkle lightly with Parmesan cheese, and layer on plenty of grape tomatoes or slices in concentric circles. Bake for 20 minutes at 400° F. Heirloom tomatoes in different colors can be pretty. Add a green salad for a colorful lunch packed with fresh veggies.

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spicy tomato and lentil stew
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Ethiopian Spicy Tomato Lentil Stew

Berbere, a traditional Ethiopian seasoning mix of chili, garlic, fenugreek, and several other spices, makes this vegetarian dish super-flavorful and aromatic. Tomatoes and carrots add sweet flavor notes -- and provide vitamins A and C. Lentils are a rich source of iron, fiber, and protein. Easy to prepare in about 45 minutes, Ethiopian tomato-lentil stew is also low in fat and calories.

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fresh gazpacho
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Cool, Colorful Gazpacho

Choose the most flavorful, juicy tomatoes you can find for this chilled soup. Use a 3:1 ratio of tomatoes to other ingredients such as bell peppers, onions, and cucumbers. For a sweet twist, try watermelon-tomato gazpacho. Both of these bright red fruits are full of the antioxidant lycopene.

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tasty blt sandwich
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A Better BLT

Stack whole wheat bread with thick slices of tomato, tasty greens like arugula, and two slices of thick-cut, uncured bacon. Go easy on the mayo -- use less than a tablespoon -- and your sandwich weighs in at fewer than 500 calories. Skip one slice of bacon if you'd like to shave about 100 calories from this tomato-lover's classic.

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girl eating tomato soup
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Easy, Homemade Tomato Soup

Making your own tomato soup is simple. Simmer onions and tomatoes -- canned are fine. Add flour and milk for a creamy taste without the calories and fat of cream. Toss in a pinch of baking soda to cut the tomatoes' acidity, then puree everything.

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tomato and mozzarella with basil
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Caprese Salad

Fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, leafy basil, and olive oil are all you need to whip up this summer salad. Heirloom tomatoes in golden-yellow or dark green stripes will add extra color interest. For an appetizer version, skewer a cherry tomato, a mini-ball of fresh mozzarella (called bocconcini) and a basil leaf; then finish each skewer with an olive oil drizzle.

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homemade tomato chutney
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Sweet, Tangy Tomato Chutney

Cook green or red tomatoes with onions, brown sugar, ginger, and vinegar until the mixture is thick and shiny. It's a perfect accompaniment to Indian food. Or liven up an ordinary cheese plate by adding a small dish of this savory and sweet chutney. Provide a spoon so guests can ladle it onto a cracker or crostini -- a thin, toasted slice of French bread.

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pasta with fresh tomato sauce
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Simple Herbed Tomato Sauce

Making your own tomato sauce is easy, and healthier and less expensive than buying it. Keep ingredients simple: sauté tomatoes, garlic, and onions. Add herbs, spices, salt, and pepper to taste. Use fresh tomatoes in season and canned for more flavor at other times of the year.

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handful of tomatoes
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Fresh Tomato Buying Tips

During the tomato season, the tastiest fruit may come from your local farmers' market. The greenhouse tomatoes sold in grocery stores come in many varieties, including "on the vine," and are available year-round. Do a taste test to find your favorites. Can't find a perfectly ripe one? Roast, grill, or sauté a tomato to deepen the flavor.

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woman holding heirloom tomatoes
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What's an Heirloom Tomato?

Those funny-shaped, weirdly colored varieties are heirloom tomatoes, grown from seeds passed down for generations and prized for distinctive flavors. "Mortgage Lifter" is one large, beefsteak type with a spicy, less acidic flavor. "Green Zebra" is golf-ball size. It's both sweet and tart in flavor, with a hint of citrus. Find heirloom tomatoes at the farmers' market, or try growing your own.

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picking ripe tomato
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Want to Grow Your Own?

You don't need lots of land, or even a yard, to grow your own tomatoes. Just a sunny spot and a container filled with potting mix -- a 5-gallon pail is perfect for a single plant. If you're short on space, look for bush or cherry tomato types. They may do better in containers.

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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 10/05/2016 Reviewed by Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD on October 05, 2016


(1)    Joana Petrova/Flickr
(2)    Purestock
(3)    Foodcollection
(4)    Boeri/Food Centrale
(5)    Francesco83/Kalium
(6)    Gentl and Hyers/FoodPix
(7)    Darkmatterphotography/Flickr
(8)    Zoonar/H Leitner
(9)    Zoonar/Eva Gruendema
(10)    Francesco/YAY
(11)    Sot/The Image Bank
(12)    Richard Eskite Photography/Workbook Stock
(13)    Adie Bush/Photonica


Jennifer Hill, BSc, RD, recipe developer, consultant,
Carolyn Brown, MS, RD, nutritionist, Foodtrainers.
Katie McCammon, MS, RD, LD, dietitian, QuarterLine, Fayetteville, NC.
Agarwal, S. Canadian Medical Association Journal, Sept. 19, 2000.
U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agriculture Library.
Slow Food USA.
Honeyhill Organic Farm.
University of Missouri Extension.
Ohio State University Extension.

Reviewed by Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD on October 05, 2016

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.