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10 Terrific Tomato Recipes

Need inspiration for dinner? Start with a ripe tomato. See pictures of heirloom tomatoes.
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There's something about preparing food and dining that can turn an ordinary day into a lasting memory. Whether it's a quick mid-week meal, a cozy gathering of friends or a fancy celebration, you'll find something that fits the occasion with these recipes for appetizers, soups and entrées that celebrate the rich, juicy tomato. This vine fruit is loaded with nutrients and is incredibly versatile. Rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals, tomatoes come in many varieties and sizes that people enjoy eating raw or cooked in a number of ways.

Let's begin with a tomato starter that's arguably the grandest of them all -- at least, in the American South where it originated.

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Comfort foods like grits, biscuits and fried chicken are classic fare in the American South, and the fried green tomato has its place in Southern nostalgia, too.

If you're longing for the nostalgia of yesteryear, or if you simply want to experience authentic Southern cuisine, Fried Green Tomatoes will hit the spot.

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Keep in mind that the key to achieving a crispy coating and a perfectly cooked tomato is cutting this green goody in slices no thicker than 1/4 inch (0.6 centimeters).

Pasta sauce is loaded with veggies. 
Pasta sauce is loaded with veggies. 
©iStockphoto.com/katra

If you want the convenience of precooked ingredients but still enjoy the flavor of fresh tomatoes, then this recipe for Garden Pasta Sauce is for you.

It combines hardy spices like fresh garlic with three vine fruits: zucchini, eggplant and tomato. You'll get a healthy dose of vitamin C from the tomato and a generous serving of fiber and other essential nutrients like thiamin and vitamin B6 from the zucchini and eggplant.

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What's more, this meatless feast is sure to please the vegetarians in the bunch, too!

For a dish that's low in fat but full of flavor, you'll have the whole family cheering for Saucy Tomato Chicken. Instead of traditional pasta, this recipe calls for egg noodles. With just six simple ingredients (plus nonstick cooking spray), this is a quick weeknight meal that's easy on the wallet, too. Enjoy your farmer's market bounty by swapping stewed canned tomatoes for fresh ones, and class up a dinner for two by pairing this entree with a bold Merlot.

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A summer salad can be a decadent delight.
A summer salad can be a decadent delight.
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This salad combines rich mozzarella with a flavorful vinaigrette.

The recipe calls for both fresh ingredients and standard spices that you've probably got in your pantry. Tomato Mozzarella Basil Salad is a quick-fix meal that requires little prep time but a lengthy marinating period, so you may wish to prepare the salad early in the morning so it's ready at lunchtime.

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Pair it with mineral water or your favorite wine, and you'll think you're at an upscale bistro instead of your own kitchen table! 

This recipe is a showstopper. Whether you choose to serve it as an appetizer, side dish or entrée, these tomatoes command center stage. Fusing various flavors, textures and temperatures, Stuffed Pesto-pasta Tomatoes are a crowd favorite. Keep in mind that you can forgo or substitute any nonessential ingredients to suit diners with certain dietary restrictions.

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Give it up for gazpacho!
Give it up for gazpacho!
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The beauty of cooking is that you can take the same basic ingredients and travel the world from the comfort of your kitchen. This recipe will take you to the enchanted land of Tuscany. Pair this summertime favorite of Chilled Tomato Soup with a sandwich, wrap, a cheese and fresh fruit medley or some slices of artisan bread.

What you'll love about this recipe is the subtle smoky flavor, which you can dial down for the faint of heart or heat up for those who like a little heat.

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If you toss in extra peppers, be sure to balance the flavor with the stirred-in yogurt sauce. The creamy coolness of yogurt plus the refreshing herbal zing of fresh dill will be a welcome addition to the bold broth!

For a pie that's not quite as naughty as deep-dish apple, try this one. Make Italian Shepherd's Pie a dinnertime staple in fall and winter. In the cooler weather, serve it piping hot to chase away the winter blues! Best of all, this recipe freezes well, so you can make a big batch and serve several at one time, or store the extras in your freezer to enjoy later or reheat for a quick weeknight dinner.

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Indulge in some bruschetta.
Indulge in some bruschetta.
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You can find bruschetta on the appetizer menu in restaurants from Chicago to Sydney! If this starter is one of your favorites, why not add or substitute certain ingredients to create a savory variation on the classic recipe?

Tomato-Cheese Bruschetta adds just one ingredient to put a new twist on Italian grilled bread that may have your guests sneaking back into the kitchen for seconds. And who can blame them? Bruschetta offers a mouthful of different flavors and textures that celebrate the tomato, but also play up fresh herbs and fine olive oils.

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This Sun-dried Tomato Wrap with Fried Chicken is a real kick in the mouth for those flavor-seekers out there!

Who loves fried chicken? Who can't get enough ranch dressing? And who out there shakes hot pepper sauce on just about everything? If you answered "yes" to all of these questions, grab some tortillas, premade chicken fingers and ranch dressing, and get rolling with this recipe for tonight's dinner. Or, save it for Movie Night Friday and kick off the weekend with an alternative to hot wings and fries.

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Risotto and tomato are a match made in culinary heaven.
Risotto and tomato are a match made in culinary heaven.
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Tomato Risotto makes a tasty appetizer or even a hardy meal. With less than 10 ingredients, this is a cost-effective dish that you can dress up with fresh herb garnishes for company or simply eat straight from the pan if you're cooking for one (the leftovers store well and make an ideal lunch for work -- just microwave and dig in!). 

So, what's so great about risotto? It seems like every celebrity chef on TV is whipping up this dish. Don't be intimidated by its five-star status in the cooking world. With a little patience, you can easily master risotto, which is pretty much just a fancy word for rice.

Our recommendation? Start with the finest ingredients! That means fresh, quality Parmesan cheese and organic butter. Of course, the tomatoes play a starring role, so go for the best canned variety possible. You'll be thanking us later, when you're five bites into the best risotto ever!

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Related HowStuffWorks Articles

Sources

  • Apeel. "Bruschetta facts." (Oct. 19, 2009). http://apeelfinefood.com/bruschettafacts.html
  • Bertolli. "La Dulce Vito:The "Buon Appetito" Dictionary." (Oct. 19, 2009). http://www.bertolli.com/irlandese/dolce-vita-speak_ir.asp?country=ir& > Discovery Health. "Sun Dried Tomato Tofu Wrap." (Oct. 19, 2009). http://health.discovery.com/national-body-challenge/recipes/recipes.html?id=BC1628
  • HowStuffWorks.com. "Tomato-Cheese Bruschetta." (Oct. 19, 2009). https://recipes.howstuffworks.com/tomato-cheese-bruschetta-recipe.htm
  • HowStuffWorks.com. "Tomato Mozzerella Basil Salad." (Oct. 19, 2009). https://recipes.howstuffworks.com/tomato-mozzarella-basil-salad-recipe.htm
  • HowStuffWorks.com. "Garden Pasta Sauce." (Oct. 19, 2009). https://recipes.howstuffworks.com/garden-pasta-sauce-recipe.htm/printable
  • Planet Green. "Emeril's Grape Tomato Orzo Risotto (Video)." 2008. (Oct. 19, 2009). http://planetgreen.discovery.com/food-health/emeril-orzo-risotto.html
  • Smith, Andrew. "The Tomato in America: Early History, Culture, and Cookery." 1994. (Oct. 19, 2009). http://books.google.com/books?id=Fyp86n6dQJwC&dq=fried+green+tomatoes+history&source=gbs_navlinks_s
  • HowStuffWorks.com. "Simply Gourmet: Sunny Tomato Chicken." (Oct. 19, 2009). https://videos.howstuffworks.com/tlc/36831-simply-gourmet-sunny-tomato-chicken-video.htm

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