Said to be grown from seeds passed down from generation to generation, heirloom tomatoes are almost identical to their ancestors that date back to over a century ago. These eccentric tomatoes vary in shapes, colors, and sizes, and have some of the best flavors a tomato can offer.
Here are five summer tomato recipes using heirloom tomatoes that elevate the flavors of each ingredient, and will have you sprinting to the nearest farmers market.
Tomato and Roasted Vegetable Risotto
This recipe from Wallflower Kitchen is versatile and pretty easy to make. The risotto absorbs flavors from the tomatoes, onion, spices, and other vegetables to create a mouthwatering meal. You can choose to roast or sauté veggies like artichokes, zucchini, kale, peppers, eggplants, and romanesco. To simplify this recipe, you can always use frozen vegetables instead.
Roasted Heirloom Tomato Soup
After trying this creamy oven-roasted heirloom tomato soup, you will never want to switch back to canned soup. Roasted heirloom tomatoes, garlic, onions, peppers, and extras make a souper flavorful side to grilled cheese sandwiches. This recipe from Meagan Lloyd (@MegGrowsPlants) is also a scrumptious way to use tomatoes that are going bad.
@meggrowsplants Using up all those garden tomatoes 🍅 #foodtok #tomatosoup #fypfood #gardentotable #growyourfood #hesallthat #sciencetok #gardeningtiktok ♬ Industry baby slowed – Lil mavi
Summer Panzanella Salad
In a beautiful video, writer and recipe developer Lindsey Baruch (@lindseyeatsla) shares her recipe for a summer panzanella salad. This vegetarian take on panzanella combines the refreshing flavors of heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers with a tangy dressing, herbs, bread, and to create the perfect salad to commemorate the last few weeks of summer.
@lindseyeatsla summer panzanella salad 🍅 #panzanella #summerrecipe #foodtiktok #recipes #foodasmr #heirloomtomatoes ♬ Opus 20 – Silfur Version – Dustin O’Halloran
Heirloom Pico de Gallo
This super simple recipe from Stephanie McKinnie’s food blog, Cali Zona, is a delicious pairing for crispy tortilla chips or topping to any dish that needs an extra oomph. Replacing the traditional Roma tomatoes used in pico de gallo with heirloom tomatoes adds flavor intensified by the peppers, onions, lime, and cilantro in this salsa fresca.
Whipped Feta and Tomato Tart
Before she demonstrates how to make a gorgeous crispy tart, Zaynab Issa, editor at Bon Appétit Magazine, says, “If I’m going to tell you to turn your oven on in this heat, it’ll be worth it –– and trust me, this is worth it.” And we cannot help but think this recipe is worth it, as she decorates a flaky puff pastry filled with creamy whipped feta with a hint of dill with beautiful cross sections of heirloom tomatoes and sprinkled with dill, capers, chili flakes, coarse salt, and pepper. You can find the full recipe here on her Instagram page.
Tomatoes, like heirloom varieties, pack a lot of nutrients that are beneficial to heart health, including an antioxidant that can strengthen cells and a mineral that can lower blood pressure.
Heirlooms are in season across most of the U.S. from late summer to early autumn.
Eating in-season fruits and vegetables can boost their flavor and help the planet, since crops do not require as much energy and resources to grow during the periods that they naturally produce fruits and vegetables.
Plus, there simply is no flavor like a fresh-off-the-vine tomato.