What goes well with tomatoes? Learn the best ingredient pairings, meal ideas, popular flavor combinations, and other helpful tips.
First things first.
What are Tomatoes?
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)
- On the Vine
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 summer through early autumn. Peep the seasonal produce guide to see what else is 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.
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.
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 salt (kosher, Maldon, & sea).
Nuts & Seeds
Almonds and hazelnuts.
Butter, cheese (cheddar, feta, mozzarella, parmesan, ricotta), cream, cream cheese, and yogurt.
Anchovies, chicken, crab, eggs, fish (poached or grilled), ham, lamb, meats, shellfish, and veal.
Aioli, bread (and bread crumbs), capers, chickpeas, coconut milk, chili sauce, honey, legumes, mayo, mustard (esp whole grain), olive oil, olives (esp black or niçoise), pasta, rice, stock/broth, sugar (pinch), tomato paste, and wine (red, rose, white, or vermouth).
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.
Try these tomato recipes:
- Dairy-Free Margherita Pasta
- Greek Stuffed Zucchini Boats
- Caprese Salad (with vegan mozzarella)
- Dairy-Free Butternut Squash Lasagna
- The Best Gluten-Free Chicken Parmesan
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