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Got fresh tomatoes? We’ve got recipes. Here are our top fresh tomato recipes to take advantage of those juicy, ripe beauties.

Tomato recipes
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Tomato season is one of our favorite times of year. With their sweet savory nuanced flavor, all you need is a few simple ingredients to make them taste extraordinary. When it’s tomato season, we make all the fresh tomato recipes! Because it’s only a period of months, Alex and I take every opportunity we get, making tomato salads, caprese salad, BLTs, pasta, pico de gallo, salsa: everything we can think to enjoy all that summer has to offer.

Here we’ve collected our 15 best fresh tomato recipes for the season: and we know you’re going to love them. Here are our 15 favorite ways to use fresh tomatoes.

Looking for cherry tomatoes? Go to 10 Tasty Cherry Tomato Recipes.

And now…the tomato recipes for the season!

How to find the best tomatoes

For all of these recipes, you’ll need the following: ripe, in season tomatoes! Do not even think about using off-season, mealy pink tomatoes. The flavor here is 100% dependent on the quality of your tomato! Here are a few pointers on finding the best tomatoes.

  • Buy local tomatoes if possible. Bonus points if if you grew them yourself! Buying local tomatoes helps support your local farmers.
  • Look for heirloom tomatoes. Try using heirloom tomatoes if you can find them. Heirloom tomatoes are a variety that has been passed down, through several generations of a family by saving the seeds. You’ll notice that their color and shape are much more varied than the typical round red tomato. They can vary from chartreuse to gold to purple to orange, from small and round to large and squat.
  • Hydroponic greenhouse tomatoes have good flavor. If you can’t find local tomatoes, look at your grocery for hydroponic tomatoes grown in a greenhouse. They usually have good flavor.

How to tell if a tomato is ripe

How can you tell if a tomato is ripe? There is actually some contention around the right way of how to tell if a tomato is ripe. According to The Washington Post, squeezing tomatoes can actually damage them! To avoid damaging the tomato, especially ones from your local small farmers at the farmers market, do the following:

  • Smell it. The tomato should give off a sweet, earthy smell.
  • Hold it. Hold it in your hand: a ripe tomato should feel heavy for its size.
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Tomato basil pasta

20 Fresh Tomato Recipes: Cherry Tomato Pasta & More!

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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 3 to 4 servings 1x


This cherry tomato pasta pairs sweet tomatoes blistered in a hot pan with fresh basil and Parmesan. An easy dinner idea that’s simply stunning!


  • 8 ounces short pasta (penne, rigatoni, orecchiette (shown here), shells, cavatappi, etc)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 pints whole cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • ¼ cup pasta water
  • 1 handful fresh small basil leaves, chopped if large


  1. Make the pasta: Start a pot of well salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta until it is just al dente. Start tasting a few minutes before the package recommends: you want it to be tender but still a little firm on the inside; usually around 7 to 8 minutes. Before draining, reserve some pasta water with a liquid measuring cup (at least ¼ cup). Drain the pasta.
  2. Blister the tomatoes: Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a very large heavy skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, add the tomatoes, making sure there is space around each tomato (they are not touching) and the pan is not crowded. If you’re using a medium pan, cook the tomatoes in 2 batches.* Cook for 1 minute without touching the pan, then 2 to 3 more minutes until blistered, shaking the pan several times to rotate the tomatoes. Turn off the heat and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar, gently shaking several times to coat. Add 2 pinches kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. Remove the tomatoes from the pan to a bowl.
  3. Finish the dish: Mince the garlic. Once the pasta is done, in the same pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium low heat. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute until fragrant. Deglaze the pan with ¼ cup pasta water, scraping the pan with a spoon to release all of the flavor of the tomato juices. Turn off the heat.
  4. Add the pasta to the pan and toss to coat. Add the blistered tomatoes, ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, and basil. Season with 2 pinches of kosher salt and lots of fresh ground pepper. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Serve with the remaining ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.


*If the pan is too crowded, the tomatoes will steam instead of blistering. It all depends on the size of your pan: if you’re using a medium pan, you’ll have to cook 1 pint at a time.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Need more fresh tomato recipes?

That wasn’t enough? Here are a few more where that came from:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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