Congratulations! You have a lot of tomatoes. If you’re like me, you have a bunch of prolific plants blooming in containers on your patio, or maybe you have a traditional outdoor garden. Others may have found themselves drawn to the vibrant colors and juicy curves of the fruit at a farmers’ market, and you couldn’t help yourself. Exactly how you acquired the tomatoes is none of my business—the question now is what to do with them.

Tomatoes are my favorite summer food ever since I became obsessed with growing them. Each year between May and October I carefully tend to my five or six tomato plants, pruning, watering, pruning some more, then watering again. And once the fruit starts to come, the effort is worth it—finding delicious ways to enjoy them is not hard. Here are a few of my favorites.

A Simple Salad

If you grew the tomatoes yourself, or bought them from a local source, chances are they’re going to be fresh and delicious, so why not eat them raw? Try a simple salad recipe that highlights their blend of sweetness and acidity. Maybe you have some basil in your garden too? Try a traditional tomato bocconcini and basil combo and you can’t go wrong.

Super Salsa

Another great way to enjoy the sweet taste of recently picked tomatoes is with fresh salsa, such as this one. Just get or make some of your favorite chips and dip away.

A La Tarte

The famous French tarte Tatin has an interesting origin story as an accidental culinary masterpiece. It is surprisingly easy to make, and the tomato version is a perfect way to highlight the savory flavors of tomatoes, which are concentrated by the process. Essentially you cook the tomatoes and other ingredients, then put a pastry dough crust on top and bake it all in the oven. When it’s done, you pull it out and flip it over and spend the rest of the day talking about how great it is.

Good Grill

Need a simple, delicious side dish for your barbecue showdown? If you’ve got a bunch of big, possibly heirloom tomatoes that would keep their shape while cut in half or sliced, try simply throwing them on the grill beside your artisanal sausages. It’s a tasty, filling and healthy side dish that will delight many.

Pasta Sauce

You knew we would end up here, didn’t you. Homemade pasta sauce is, of course, fantastic, though for me it’s a last resort if I can’t eat my tomatoes right off the vine. But if you find a great deal on some big beauties, or you can’t keep up with your harvest, making and canning your own sauce will keep you neck-deep in tomatoes all through the cold, garden-less winter. And that’s a good thing.

WTF do you do with all your tomatoes? Let us know in the comments!

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