Oh, tomato, how we love thee! Let us count the ways.
But really, there’s so little to dislike about this classic superfood. Low in calories. High in flavor. Packed with lycopene, which may just have the highest antioxidant content of all the potent carotenoids. Packed with potassium to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Loaded with vitamins A, E, and C.
And we haven’t even gotten to all the tasty ways you can prepare tomatoes yet. We enlisted two dieticians to give us some easy, healthy tomato side dish recipes. Share the love, and enjoy shamelessly.
Growing your own tomatoes? Check out our tomato growing guide for quick tips on how to get the most out of your garden. When it’s time to get cooking, take a peek at these 8 savory summertime tart recipes — your tomatoes will make a great tart topper or filling!
1. Sliced Tomato & Mozzarella
This app is both visually pleasing and delicious, says Natalie Stephens, a dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “Heirlooms make it beautiful,” she says. “Serve on a plate with sliced fresh mozzarella, fresh picked basil leaves, and drizzled with a balsamic reduction.”
2. Scooped Cherry Tomatoes
Need a bite-sized party app? Set these scooped tomatoes out so your guests can pluck off a plate and pop in their mouths. “Slice the top of cherry or grape tomatoes, scoop the inside, and fill with goat cheese blended with thyme,” Stephens suggests.
3. Tomato Soup Shots
Tomato soup isn’t just a good lunch for cold weather, says Stephens. “It’s a delicious side or appetizer in a ‘shooter’ cup,” she explains. “Make it a bit fancy with a teaspoon of Parmesan cheese microwaved for 5-15 seconds to make a crouton-like crisp, or go wedding-appetizer style with grilled cheese.” Try this recipe for an simple, light tomato soup.
4. Margherita Pizza Slices
Pizza is better kept as an appetizer to keep calories in check. Using a homemade or store-bought crust, Stephens suggests topping your pie with fresh sliced tomato, mozzarella or provolone cheese, and basil. “Use a thin pizza crust and drizzle with a bit of olive oil,” she says.
Find more ideas for homemade pizza — including such clever combinations as Chicken Caesar and Spinach Artichoke Pesto — right here!
5. Tomato Skewers or Antipasto Kebabs
Stephens recommends breaking out the skewers for an easy-peasy BBQ app. “Load them with fresh, bite-sized mozzarella balls, cherry tomatoes, and a basil leaf for an Italian-themed appetizer, or go Greek and use cubes of feta, tomato, and balsamic reduction drizzled over top.” Want more? Stephens is also a fan of antipasto kebabs. Fill up!
6. Stuffed Tomatoes
A meal, a snack or an appetizer, stuffed tomatoes can be as large or small as you’d like. Scoop ‘em out and fill ‘em up like you might a bell pepper. “You can stuff the tomato with a mixture of tuna, olives, feta cheese, and fresh basil,” says Lauren Popeck, a dietitian at Orlando Health. “These taste great cold or broiled for a few minutes.”
7. Tomato & Kale Stew
Just in time for the impending cool weather, Popeck says to try stewed tomatoes and kale in the crock-pot. “Combine one large bag of chopped kale with two cans low-sodium canned diced tomatoes in juice,” she says. “Add Italian seasoning and fresh chopped garlic, plus a splash of balsamic vinegar.” Cook in your crock-pot on high for eight hours and serve as a side.
8. Spaghetti Squash with Tomato
Spaghetti squash is all the rage, healthier than your standard noodle — and easy to throw together with tomatoes to complement dinner. Popeck says to simply toss the squash with chopped fresh tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, cracked black pepper, and a little shaved Parmesan cheese.
9. Pico de Gallo
This slightly spicy dip is as versatile as it is delicious. “You can make it with fresh diced tomatoes, peppers, onions, cilantro, and lime juice,” Popeck says. “It’s wonderful as a topping for salad, sandwiches, and scrambled eggs.” You can also go the classic route, serving it with baked corn tortilla chips. Yum!
10. Tomatoes & Hummus
Hummus is already a superfood in its own right and a great prelude to a late-summer meal when paired with tomatoes. “Using cherry or grape tomatoes, skewer to make kebabs and serve with them hummus dip,” Popeck says. Kids will love these, too.
Go on an appetizer-cooking spree with these delicious recipes!