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Recipes for tomatoes NOT as the star ingredient?

Hi all!

So, I don't really like tomatoes. I've working on opening my palate up to them, but I'm not quite there yet. I don't like them raw, and I don't like them as tomato sauce or ketchup. However, through a lot of funny coincidences (CSA + aunt who was so proud of her tomatoes I couldn't refuse + surprise free tomatoes at the farmer's market), I've ended up with about 8 pounds of tomatoes! 5 pounds red tomatoes, 2 pounds gorgeous heirloom tomatoes, 1 pound cherry tomatoes.

I know you all are so creative - can you help me come up with some recipe ideas that use tomato to complement other flavors, rather than just tasting like tomato?

Some of my ideas so far:
batch of homemade barbecue sauce?
channa masala?
roasted carrot tomato bisque?

I'm convinced that this is the universe telling me to hurry up and start liking tomatoes, so I'm excited to try them in some different ways :)

Oh, and I tend toward the crazy-health-nut end of the spectrum... I eat mostly vegan and mostly no refined sugar or oils, so if you know of any healthier recipes that would be fantastic, but the key word is "mostly" so if there's a really great recipe idea with meat or cream or sugar etc, I'll still look at it!

Any ideas?

Thanks in advance!

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  1. My new favorite way to eat good tomatoes is to grill them. Cut them in half (remove the stem bit). Oil the grates a lil so they do stick. Put the halves on, cut side up, sprinkle with a tiny bit of good quality salt. Smoked if you have access to fancy salts but regular will do as well. Then just grill until a bit shriveled up. The skin slips right off on your plate and the tomato becomes this concentrated sweet delicious THING. You can do a whole bunch on a rack over a sheet pan in the oven as well. Not quite as good as the grill but its ok. If I get a bunch of tomatoes sometimes I will do this, slip off the skins and pop them all into a giant zip lock bag. Lay it as flat as possible in the freezer and freeze. In the winter you can break off pieces for some summer zing to your food.

    1. I like this chili sauce for our mostly beans, sometimes same fake meat, "chili"


      Tomatoes are required but it doesn't taste all that tomato-y with the other ingredients in there. Have you tasted the heirloom tomatoes? Depending on what they are, they can be quite a bit different from regular beefsteak type maters.

      1 Reply
      1. re: gourmanda

        Ohhhh chili, that's a good idea! Also, you're right. I am going to try a bit of each of the different types of heirloom ones raw, maybe I'll discover a great one! Thanks

      2. Tomato jam is like ketchup for grown ups and a batch takes 5 pounds. I cut the sugar in the recipe way way back since tomatoes are naturally sweet and its still awesome. Google for recipes.

        1. Tomato and egg curry is delicious especially with coconut milk.

          Do you like cherry tomatoes skewered and grilled with other veg( mushrooms, squash, eggplant) or tofu or tempeh?

          How about green beans slow braised in veg stock with onions , garlic and tomatoes( 4:1 beans to tomatoes )?

          1 Reply
          1. re: magiesmom

            I haven't been a fan of grilled cherry tomatoes before, but it may be worth a revisit. I think the slow braised green beans would be great to try! Thanks!

          2. tomatoes are great in a masala and definitely not the star

            likewise a mole sauce where tomatoes are really second to the chilies and spices - not sure what vegan you could put mole on - maybe a polenta or something

            8lbs is a lot of tomatoes - so you could process them - blanch, peel, seed and freeze them in smaller portions for use in future recipes

            on the lighter side a salad with avocado wil be a nice balance - maybe with quinoa and fresh herbs

            its hard, I LOVE tomatoes so I cant think how to "hide" them

            1 Reply
            1. re: JTPhilly

              I want to LOVE tomatoes too, I just have to convince my pesky taste buds to agree with my brain. :) 8 lbs is indeed a lot of tomatoes. Some of them probably will end up getting processed and frozen. Oh - maybe I can dry some like sundried tomatoes and use them in hummus or sandwiches or something!

              Also I've been wanting to try mole for a while but never have... maybe this is the chance!

            2. What about roasting them and storing them in the freezer for future use?


              You can use the chopped roasted tomatoes in a pasta or potato salad with bell peppers and corn; they'd be excellent in a hot pasta dish with other roasted veggies (perhaps a nice creamy roasted tomato sauce); excellent on sandwiches with goat cheese or mozzarella and pesto, for appetizers with boursin spread on a crostini cracker topped with chopped roasted tomatoes.

              1. The recipe linked here, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9849..., for corn tomato salad is one of my favorite sides this time of year. The taste of the corn and lime juice, as well as cilantro and mint, prevent the tomatoes from being overly dominant. It says to use quartered grape tomatoes, but larger tomatoes chopped into pieces about the same size as the corn kernels work fine too

                1 Reply
                1. re: masha

                  Fresh corn is one of my favorite things in the world - this might be a good use for all the cherry tomatoes! Thanks!

                2. If you seed and peel them, mushed tomatoes are really nice in baked macaroni and cheese. Add as much or as little as you like--or "marble" through half the casserole, leave the rest tomato free.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: blue room


                    Chili Mac also.

                    No kidney beans tho. LOLZ.

                    In the end, once seeded and peeled and pureed or in a juicer, they can slowly be added to 1000's of recipes. Freeze and can well.

                    Sun-dried if you have a dehydrator.

                    LOTS of uses.



                    1. re: blue room

                      I don't have any recipe suggestions, but I'll second the peeling and seeding. It makes a big difference in the taste and texture.

                    2. Two I like a lot are chunks of roasted tomato in shrimp grits and a cold open faced steak sandwich of thin slices of rare steak, chunks of roasted tomato, blue cheese, and a drizzle of EVOO.

                      1. Do you like eggplant? In this recipes its the eggplant and basil that shines thru but the sweetness of roasted tomatoes elevates the whole thing

                        1-2 eggplants depending on size
                        1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
                        3-6 cloves of garlic
                        olive oil
                        handful of fresh basil
                        red pepper flakes to taste
                        S&P to tasted

                        Preheat oven to 400. Cut the eggplants into cubes, toss with tomatoes, garlic and olive oil. Spread on a jelly roll pan, sprinkle with red pepper flakes, S&P. Roast until the eggplant is browned, the garlic tender and the tomatoes begin to split their skins.

                        Let cool slightly, transfer to a food processor, add the basil and process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

                        This is great as a pasta sauce, just thin it with the hot pasta water to desired consistency. It is also a great bruschetta topping, a pizza base and as a dip. I could eat it with a spoon

                        Another thought is that the holidays are coming. You could make batches of tomato jam or dry them and pack in oil as holiday/hostess gifts.

                        1. Puree one or two tomatoes into a homemade veg broth, then use this broth mix as the cooking liquid for quinoa, rice, barley, etc....

                          Add chopped tomato to a chickpea/coconut milk/veggie curry

                          Use roasted tomatoes ( roast chunks at 350 with salt and olive oil until they shrivel a lot and have some browned bits) and blend together with white beans or chickpeas for a dip/spread

                          Have you tried gazpacho? You could make a half recipe of the traditional version like this one (i never bother with the whole first step or the straining through a sieve!) , the bread is optional
                          You could also blend the gazpacho with avocado for another version, or watermelon for yet another option (there are endless variations)

                          1. Ratatouille
                            Pico de gallo
                            Tomato chutney
                            Any number of improvised slaws or salsas
                            Sun dry them or dry them at very low temp in the oven and then add em to damn near anything

                            Really, there's a trillion things you could do with tomatoes, even from the vegan, no-sugar, no-oil context. Tell us what kinds of things you especially like to eat, and I can probably come up with something similar that uses tomatoes or a decent way to work tomatoes into it.

                            1. how about a tomato based vegetable soup. Chop/dice onions and throw in pan to saute, chop/dice your tomatos, zucchini, add fresh or frozen corn and green beans, maybe add cooked northern beans/pinto beans/ pasta, etc -- and simmer all with a vegie or chicken stock.

                              Add seasoning to taste.

                              If you want more of a southwestern flavor (think chili bean soup) add chili, cumin , taco seasoning, red chili peppers, etc.

                              If you want more of an italian flavor (think minestrone), add oregano, basil, etc and etc.

                              1. CHOW has a good recipe for a sauce that uses eggplant, bell pepper, and tomatoes. http://www.chow.com/recipes/10960-egg... My tweaks to it are detailed in the comments section that follows the recipe.

                                I am addicted to Stir-Fried Roasted Eggplant from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, by Deborah Madison. It includes tomato. I sometimes use tomato paste instead or in addition, and I guesstimate the measurements rather than sticking tightly to the recipe.

                                1. Sun dried? They taste like a whole nother veggie that way. Plus then you can put them into all sorts of things.

                                  I like them in this: http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-brais...

                                  That recipe would also work really well with fresh tomatoes.

                                  1. one of my favorite dishes is a greek shrimp dish with feta and ouzo along with garlic, onions, olive oil and some tomato. i had it served over linguine, and it was quite delicious.

                                    something like this: (but you can use less tomato, and of course use your fresh tomatoes, chopped instead of the canned, to your taste) http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recip...

                                    it is really a flexible recipe so you can adjust proportions.

                                    1. White Pizza with tomatoes as the topping
                                      Chuntney and curries or in a vindaloo sauce

                                      1. White Pizza with tomatoes as the topping
                                        Chuntney and curries or in a vindaloo sauce

                                        1. Stuffed tomatoes - just like the peppers but in tomato shells.

                                          Tomato jam - chopped tomatoes, cinnamon, cloves, lemons, and sugar. Great on a bagel with cream cheese. Great over roast chicken and pork. Also my secret chili ingredient.