What Goes With Tomatoes?

What goes with tomatoes? Learn the best ingredient pairings, meal ideas, popular flavor combinations, and other helpful tips.

Knowing what goes well with tomatoes gives you a starting point for putting meals together using the ingredients you already have on hand.

Whether you want to reduce food waste, get more creative in the kitchen, or improve your cooking skills, it starts with understanding what flavors pair well together.

What are Tomatoes?

Plant Family

The tomato is a member of the nightshade family along with bell peppers, eggplant, and potatoes (not including sweet potatoes).

Although they’re a fruit, tomatoes are often thought of as a vegetable since they don’t have the same sweet flavor profile that the majority of fruits have.

Colors, Varieties, Flavors

Their colors can range from red to yellow to orange, to green, to a darker, reddish-brown color.

Even though there are thousands of varieties, the most popular tomato varieties are:

  • Red Beefsteak
  • Green Beefsteak
  • Roma (also called Plum)
  • Heirloom (come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors)
  • Grape
  • Cherry
  • On the Vine
  • Cocktail

Their texture and flavor range from crunchy to meaty and sweet to tangy depending on the variety.

When to Buy

The peak season for tomatoes is May through October. Look at the seasonal produce guide to see what’s in season right now.

What to Look For

Look for tomatoes that are plump, richly colored, and firm with smooth skin. When they’re ripe, they have a sweet fragrance.

How to Store

Because cold temperatures halt their ripening process, it’s best to store them at room temperature but out of direct sunlight. They’ll keep for up to one week this way.

Cooking Techniques

Tomatoes can be baked, broiled, confited, fried, grilled, roasted, sauteed, stewed, or eaten raw.

What Ingredients Go Well With Tomatoes?


Arugula, beets, bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chile peppers, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, fava beans, fennel, garlic, ginger, green beans, horseradish, leeks, mushrooms, okra, onions, peas, shallots, squash, and zucchini.


Avocados, lemons, limes, mango, melon, orange (juice), pineapple, raspberries, strawberries, and watermelon.


Basil, chives, cilantro, dill, lavender, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley (flat-leaf), rosemary, sage, tarragon, and thyme.


Allspice, bay leaf, cayenne, celery salt, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, fennel seeds, paprika (esp sweet), pepper (black and white), red pepper flakes, saffron, and kosher, Maldon, & sea salt.

Nuts & Seeds

Almonds and hazelnuts.


Butter or dairy-free butter, cheddar, feta, parmesan, mozzarella or dairy free mozzarella, ricotta cheese or almond or cashew ricotta, cream or cashew cream, cream cheese or dairy-free cream cheese, and yogurt or dairy-free yogurt.


Anchovies, chicken, crab, eggs, fish (poached or grilled), ham, lamb, meats, shellfish, and veal.

Pantry Items

Aioli, bread, bread crumbs, capers, chickpeas, coconut milk, chili sauce, honey, legumes, mayo, mustard, olive oil, olives: esp black or niçoise, pasta, rice, stock/broth, sugar: just a pinch, tomato paste, and wine: red, rose, or white.

Popular Tomato Pairings

  • avocado + basil + crab
  • avocado + lemon
  • basil + chervil (French parsley) + garlic + tarragon
  • mozzarella + basil + garlic + olive oil + balsamic vinegar
  • basil + olive oil + orange juice + prosciutto + watermelon
  • ricotta + basil

What to Make With Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a common ingredient in French, Italian, Mediterranean, Mexican, and Spanish cuisines and are often used in pasta and pasta sauces, pizza, salads, sandwiches, sauces, soups, stews, and vinaigrettes.

Fresh tomatoes have the best flavor when in their peak season. During this time, enjoy dishes such as Margherita pasta, caprese salad, taco salad bowls, avocado toast with marinated tomatoes, Italian green bean salad, nasi goreng kampung, buffalo chicken rice bowls, peach tomato salad, chicken mango salad, Greek stuffed zucchini boats, deconstructed burger bowls, peach panzanella salad, dairy free tomato soup, or cherry tomato confit.

If fresh tomatoes aren’t in season, you can use canned tomatoes in all their forms: crushed, diced, or whole, to make cozy meals such as quick and easy taco soup, kimchi pizza, chicken cilantro lime soup, bolognese pizza, spagheti arrabbiata, coconut chickpea curry, gluten free chicken parmesan, or lasagna with butternut squash noodles.

A good thing to always have on hand is tomato paste pizza sauce and green chile cashew queso for snacking.

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