VegBox Recipes

Tomatoes

Tomatoes Tomatoes are a delicious and welcome sign that summer is here!

And they crop right through until the first frosts of autumn.

Anyone who has tried home-grown / veg box tomatoes will know their flavour and texture is vastly superior to standard supermarket tomatoes.

This is because the home-grown / veg box are left to ripen on the plant, rather than being picked too early, ripened artificially and then transported for days or even weeks, in cold storage. That's why supermarket tomatoes often have a "floury" texture.

Go straight to tomato recipes.

Buy?
Choose firm (gives slightly under light pressure), bright red tomatoes to eat first, as these are the most ripe. A soft "squidgy" tomato won't keep well, so if you've got some of these in your box, use them first.

If your tomatoes seem a bit hard and under-ripe, it only takes a couple of days and a banana to ripen tomatoes.
Store?
Store tomatoes in the fridge for up to 5 days. Just remember to take them out about an hour before eating, to enhance the flavour and juiciness.
Cook?
Raw tomatoes taste best at room temperature, so try to leave them to aclimatise for an hour or so after removing from the fridge.

You can make a simple tomato salad by drizzling sliced tomatoes with olive oil.

You can make a delicious, quick topping for toast, for a light lunch, by slicing the tomatoes in half and cooking them in a little butter, until they soften and the juices flow.


If, at the end of the season, you can find a supply of green tomatoes, you can either ripen them or turn them into delicious green tomato chutney.

How To Skin Tomatoes
  • Wash the tomatoes
  • Make 2 cuts in each tomato, about an inch across
  • Plunge the tomatoes into boiling water for about 1 minute
  • Drain carefully and plunge into cold water for about 1 minute
  • This should cause the skins to split and curl, making it easier to peel them
  • Pull the skins off with your fingers. Use a sharp knife to loosen any stubborn pieces
  • How To Ripen Tomatoes

    • Wash and dry the tomatoes. Discard any with splits or bruises
    • Put the tomatoes in a paper bag or in a drawer lined with paper
    • Add a ripe banana to the drawer. It emits a chemical that will speed up the ripening process
    • After a few days, the tomatoes will be ripening
    • Use them as soon as you can, or chop and freeze for later use

More Tomatoes Information

Tomatoes were originally native to South America, though they are now most closely associated with Italian cooking.

They grow extremely well in Mediterranean countries. But even in the UK, you can achieve a respectable harvest of cherry tomatoes in a tub - or larger varieties in a green house or conservatory.

They are a member of the deadly nightshade family of plants, which includes potatoes, aubergine and peppers. Though thought of as a vegetable, they are technically a berry.

A fresh tomato is a great source of vitamin C and vitamin A.

Tomatoes are also one of the best sources of lycopene, which has cancer-fighting properties. Lycopene is more easily absorbed by the body in a lightly cooked form, so fresh tomato sauces are a great way to eat this. If you prefer raw tomatoes, include a little olive oil in the recipe, which will also help with absoption.

What To Do With Tomatoes

How To Skin Tomatoes

  • Wash the tomatoes
  • Make 2 cuts in each tomato, about an inch across
  • Plunge the tomatoes into boiling water for about 1 minute
  • Drain carefully and plunge into cold water for about 1 minute
  • This should cause the skins to split and curl, making it easier to peel them
  • Pull the skins off with your fingers. Use a sharp knife to loosen any stubborn pieces

Little Known Tomatoes Facts

How To Ripen Tomatoes

  • Wash and dry the tomatoes. Discard any with splits or bruises
  • Put the tomatoes in a paper bag or in a drawer lined with paper
  • Add a ripe banana to the drawer. It emits a chemical that will speed up the ripening process
  • After a few days, the tomatoes will be ripening
  • Use them as soon as you can, or chop and freeze for later use

Stunningly Simple Tomato Salad
A simple tomato salad, making the most of in-season tomatoes. The great thing about this recipe is that it's easy to grow the tomatoes, spring onions and basil yourself - even if you don't have a garden. They'll all do well in pots, if they have to.

This salad is quick to make and will even improve in flavour if you make it a couple of hours ahead, as the dressing marinades the tomatoes.
Ingredients

Serves 4 as a starter or side dish

  • 500g (1/2 lb) fresh tomatoes - the more flavour the better.
  • 5 spring onions
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Approx 20 basil leaves (fresh)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Method
  1. Skin the tomatoes, if you're fussed & they're large and tough-skinned, rather than cherry-sized


  2. Slice them and arrange them on the serving dish


  3. Finely chop the spring onions and arrange over the tomatoes


  4. Drizzle the oil and vinegar over the tomatoes and spring onions


  5. Top with torn basil leaves.


  6. Add salt & pepper, if you wish.

Cupboard-To-Table

5 minutes.

Suggested Tomato Recipes

Andrew William’s Spicy Vegetable Lasagna with Peppers

Here is fellow food blogger Andrew Williams' recipe for Spicy Vegetable Lasagna with Peppers.

Andrew says:

"I think it’s safe to say that there’s more of an emphasis on Mexican that there is on Italian in this dish.

Ideally you should use habanero chilies to make this dish. The fruitiness of habanero chilies works really well in this dish. If you can’t get them then don’t worry as any chilies will do."

Aubergine & Courgette Bake

This is a great way of using up spare courgettes and aubergines, towards the end of the veg box's week. And it's so easy!

Aubergine & Courgette Stack

AUBERGINE (EGGPLANT), COURGETTE, TOMATO & MOZARELLA STACKS

These aubergine and courgette stacks are great served with rice. They're also a delicious, healthy and easy-to-make addition to the BBQ for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.

Aubergine Recipe: Melanzane Parmigiano

Aubergines baked in tomatoes and cheese. This vegetable dish makes a delicious italian-style supper! And it's easy to make!

Serve with salad and garlic bread, or serve as an accompaniment to meat and fish.

Autumn Pancakes With Blue Cheese Sauce

This delicious pancake recipe is a filling meal on a cold evening. The tomato-based filling is quick and the blue cheese topping goes wonderfully creamy in the oven. Enjoy!

Autumn Pizza

Don't be put off making your own pizza by thinking it's complicated - it's actually really simple. This one uses autumn veg box ingredients to make a delicious topping.

Autumn Vegetable Soup

This is a great way of using up the end of your veg box. It works well with most vegetables. It's a tasty, but healthy recipe, because you don't even need to use any fat. Just prepare the veggies, chuck them in a pan with the stock and stir occasionally. My kind of after-work cooking!

Broad Bean Couscous

This couscous is delicious and packed with protein and superfoods. A great way to boost your immune system!

Broad Beans Rice Salad

This rice salad is spiced up with early summer veggies - fresh tomatoes, broad beans and extra nutrients from kidney beans. The optional dressing adds to the nutty flavour of the brown rice and the whole thing takes just 20 minutes! If you don't fancy a lemon dressing, you can mix in Cheddar cheese instead!

Broad Beans Salad

This is an unusual way of serving broad beans, but makes a lovely change. This is a peppery salad, making the most of the freshest early summer ingredients.

Bruschetta With Tomato Salsa

Late summer’s tomatoes are usually packed with flavour and really juicy. This recipe makes the most of them, adding fresh herbs and as much or little chilli as you want, to spice up a lunch time snack. If you don’t have bruschetta, this also works well with ciabatta or French stick bread.

Chickpea "Chole" with Ginger and Tomatoes

This goes wonderfully with Spinach Aloo and Cinnamon and Pea Basmati Rice.

Classic Tomato Sauce for Pizzas and Pasta

This classic tomato sauce is the starting point for so many brilliant meals, and can be used as the base for pasta sauces, pizza toppings and soups. If you have a glut of tomatoes, this sauce can be made in large quantities and then frozen to use throughout the winter months.

Courgette With Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce

This recipe is a scrummy way of enjoying courgettes - particulary if you fancy a change. The sun-dried tomatoes and wholegrain mustard bring out the sunshine flavour of the summer veggies.

Creamy Mushrooms

These creamy mushrooms have a hint of balsamic vinegar and tomato, to give them even more flavour. They're ideal with toast, for a light lunch, or maybe as a jacket potato topping.

Crispy Vegetable and Couscous Salad

This recipe has been provided by the British Leafy Salads Association.

Cucumber And Feta Salad

A simple and delicious recipe for cucumbers. The combination of flavours brigtens up a summer lunch.

Denise Tolson's Smoked Haddock and Early Apples

Apples come into season in the UK in August, and there are varieties in season all the way through till the end of March.

Denise Tolson, VegBox Regular and our "Appointed Apple-Afficionado for August", recommends a savoury recipe using smoked haddock and early season apples.

Fennel And Potato Bake

This fennel bake recipe is great as a side or as a main with a salad. It's a comforting dish for an rainy weather and the combination of flavours helps make the fennel's aniseed more subtle.

Fresh Tomato Sauce

Whether you're using a veg box, growing your own, or making the most of cheaper prices for in-season tomatoes, this fresh tomato sauce is a great way of using and storing ripe tomatoes.

Garlic Runner Beans

The garlic and butter beans add a creamy flavour to the runner beans. This is a lovely way to serve runner beans, particularly if you're getting bored with just steaming or boiling them.

Grilled Aubergine with Tomatoes and Goats Cheese

Easy to make and versatile. This grilled aubergine dish can be served as an indulgent snack, an impressive starter or as a main meal when accompanied. We recommend diced, fried potatoes and salad.

Halloween Goop Soup with Ghostie Buns

Something more substantial to put in their stomachs before going trick or treating, perhaps.

Home Made Beans On Toast

Homemade beans on toast are packed with flavour and taste quite different to the canned variety. They're a wonderful treat for lunch or a light supper.

Hot Patty Pan Salsa

This is a deliciously simple recipe for patty pan squashes (also called custard squash or scallop squash).
The secret ingredient turns it into a tasty, hot salsa, with lots of potential variations. Great with rice, quinoa or as a jacket potato filling.

Imam Bayildi - Stuffed Aubergine (Eggplant)

TRADITIONAL TURKISH DISH: IMAM BAYILDI - STUFFED AUBERGINE (EGGPLANT)

Tasty aubergine dish with delicately intertwined flavours.

The name of the dish literally means “The imam fainted”. It is said that an imam (priest) swooned with pleasure on tasting the dish.

Serve Imam Bayildi with flatbreads for a delicious vegetarian meal, or alongside meat.

Aubergines (eggplants) come into season in the UK in May, and are at their best in June, July, August, September and until mid October.

Kohl Rabi & Root Veg Curry

This recipe has been most generously shared with us by the wonderful folks over at The Nearly Naked Veg Company. We hope you enjoy it, and that you take a minute to check out their website, which is another great source of tasty seasonal recipes and an online veg and fruit box shop to boot.

Leek And Red Onion Canneloni

This delicious autumn recipe uses in-season leeks and red onions, to make a change from the usual spinach and ricotta canneloni.

Lentil Dahl

This is a warming autumn supper, packed with nutrients from the lentils and veggies, giving your system a real boost.

Lentil Spag Bol

Spaghetti Bolognese doesn't have to be reserved for meat-eaters. If you fancy a change, this veggie option is delicious. And it's a good way of using up spare veg box tomatoes and onions. See the variations for ideas of how to use up spare carrots, mushrooms or even runner beans in this dish.

Marinated Mushrooms

This marinated mushroom recipe makes a delicious change and works well with fresh onions.

Mozarella and Aubergine Baguette

BAGUETTES FILLED WITH AUBERGINE (EGGPLANT) AND MOZARELLA

Aubergines don't have to be reserved for stews, casseroles and bakes! As they are quick to cook and tasty, aubergines also work well as a snack food.

Aubergine and mozarella baguettes make a delicious light lunchtime meal. Add chips and a spicy salsa for a bigger meal.

Okra and Tomato

This recipe was sent in to us by Sue C in Fiji. Sue says:

"This is a favourite recipe which goes well with curries, Chinese dishes, and at room temperature it's great with cold cuts. Cooked this way the okra does not go slimy!"

Parsnip And Chickpea Curry

This is a great way to use winter root vegetables. Cooked slowly, they can develop a lovely sweet flavour, which works well as a curry.

Red Lentil, Tomato and Walnut Pate

This recipe has been most generously provided for us by the quite wonderful Anna at Wholefood Harmony.

We are particularly passionate about the seasonal wholefood cooking workshops Anna runs. Each session introduces participants to a new exciting and balanced menu for "delighting your appetite and uplifting your energy".

On Anna's workshops, you get to cook and enjoy a delicious, nourishing, three course organic vegan, wholefoods meal comprising ten different dishes.

Can you imagine?!

There are workshops coming up on May 20th, 23rd and 26th. We hope you take a moment to check her out. And if you go along, do let us know.

Rocket And Sun-Dried Tomato Salad

Early spring rocket is a great salad vegetable – packed with peppery flavour and vitamins. Spice it up with this delicious dressing, topped off by the sweetness of sun-dried tomatoes.

Root Veg And Bean Stew

This ragout (stew) is great because, after the initial cooking, you just bung it in the oven and get on with something else.

Although the recipe suggests using parsnip and kohlrabi, you can use it to finish off almost any leftover vegetables at the end of the week.

It's great with jacket spuds or brown rice.

Salad Soup from Fiji

This recipe was sent in to us by Sue C in Fiji. Sue says:

"'Salad Soup' might sound silly - but think 'Gazpacho'! I dreamed this up when I was put on a mostly soup diet for a while and really wanted to make the most of salad ingredients as well as mixed veggie soup.

Amounts are not given - that depends on which flavour you want to dominate - or none at all. I use plenty of onion, garlic and coriander; and prefer it quite thick. 2 tins of tomatoes make a good start, with water added to about half the depth of the veggies - they cook down, of course. A big batch freezes well in single serving containers."

Secret Vegetable Pasta

This pasta recipe is a great way of using up seasonal veg box leftovers. And it's a great way of sneaking in some extra veggies without any fussy eaters noticing! This version uses runner beans and courgettes.

Spiced Runner Beans

Finely sliced runner beans are such a tender and delicious vegetable and these Indian-style spices really bring out the flavour. Quick to make and excellent with rice or to accompany other Indian dishes.

Spicy Beanburgers with Courgette

This has turned out to be by far our favourite new recipe of the Summer season. It was so exciting to make our own burgers for the first time, and SO easy. These little fellas could be created with so many different ingredients added into the basic mix, depending on the season, although we’re struggling to think how they could get any tastier than in this version.

Thanks to our friend David_d from the Ooffoo community for suggesting we give them a go.

Spicy Beanburgers with Courgette

This has turned out to be by far our favourite new recipe of the Summer season. It was so exciting to make our own burgers for the first time, and SO easy. These little fellas could be created with so many different ingredients added into the basic mix, depending on the season, although we’re struggling to think how they could get any tastier than in this version.

Thanks to our friend David_d from the Ooffoo community for suggesting we give them a go.

Spicy Kale with Chickpeas

This recipe has come in from Jason H, who says:

"If you don't like the texture of chick peas then you could use mixed beans instead, in which case cook them for longer."

Thanks for the submission, Jason - it's a perfect recipe for the Winter months.

Spinach And Potato Curry

If you've got some spare spinach and fancy a filling evening meal, this one is easy to make. It's similar to the Indian Sag Aloo. It also works well with Swiss chard, instead of spinach.

Stunningly Simple Tomato Salad

A simple tomato salad, making the most of in-season tomatoes. The great thing about this recipe is that it's easy to grow the tomatoes, spring onions and basil yourself - even if you don't have a garden. They'll all do well in pots, if they have to.

This salad is quick to make and will even improve in flavour if you make it a couple of hours ahead, as the dressing marinades the tomatoes.

Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus Sandwiches

This is a delicious way of enjoying hummus, with the sweetness of the sundried tomatoes and the crunchiness of the sprouted seeds. Chickpeas mean it's packed with vitamins and gives you a great energy boost for hours afterwards - and it only takes 5 minutes to make!

Super Quick And Easy Tomato Tart

This delicious tomato tart is really quick to make and tastes great with juicy, ripe summer tomatoes.
The flavour depends on the quality of the tomatoes, so it's best left until later in the summer when the sun has fully ripened them and given them a deliciously strong flavour.

Super-quick cheating pizza

This super-quick pizza recipe can be rustled up in less than 10 minutes and tastes delicious, either with fresh summer tomatoes or a quick can of Italian chopped tomatoes. Fresh spinach or rocket makes this an easy, quick, healthy treat. See the variations for options with kale, courgette (zucchini) or peas!

Three Bean Summer Soup

This is a delicious summer soup. Lighter than those of winter, it makes the most of the new season’s vegetables, whilst still filling you up and being wonderfully warming. You can use haricot beans or butter beans for this recipe, depending which you prefer. The main thing is to stick to what’s in season with the vegetables. That way they’ll be packed with flavour – and good for you too!

Tomatillo Salsa

This recipe for Mexican green tomatillo salsa is delicious, either as a relish or as a sauce with potatoes or pasta. It's made using green tomatillo, which is immature and unripe, rather than the yellow, ripe tomatillo.

Tomato And Artichoke Brunch

This tomato and artichoke brunch recipe was inspired by a glut of fresh, ripe tomatoes and the arrival of a jar of pickled artichokes from Suma, our wholesaler. It's so quick to make and it's absolutely delicious.

Tomato And Avocado Salad

Late summer is a time when many veg box schemes and home veg growers have a glut of tomatoes. If you’ve got some that are really ripe and full of flavour, then this simple salad is really delicious.

Tomato And Roast Garlic Soup

This soup is absolutely delicious with full-flavoured, ripe, in-season tomatoes. Bear in mind it’s not supposed to taste like tinned tomato soup – this is the real thing – home made tomato soup, with roasted garlic & onions and fresh herbs. It’s got plenty of garlic in, but roasting it mellows the flavour.

Tomato And Rocket Risotto

This is a deliciously peppery risotto recipe, using in-season rocket and tomatoes. The Puy lentils give it a nutritious boost.

Tomatoes Baked with Parmesan, Parsley & Garlic

Our thanks go to the small growers' co-operative, "Vista Veg", for sharing this toasty tomato recipe with us to use before the tomatoes are all finished for the year. Try serving them piping hot, perhaps nestled into a basic risotto or on fresh, warm buttered bread, or with some Winter salad leaves...

Tuna, Sweetcorn and Celery Salad Mix

This recipe is brilliant for that moment when you (or the kids!) are starving and need something NOW… The texture and combination of flavours are hugely satisfying for munching at lunchtime.

And if it’s closer to dinner time, how about serving it stirred into freshly cooked pasta!

Vegetable Tagine

This recipe has been kindly donated by The British Potato Council. It's so simple yet good enough to serve at a dinner party. Depending on the time of year you make it, you may have to do without the red pepper.

Vegetarian Burritos with Fresh Cucumber and Tomato Salsa

These are perfect for a more substantial lunch, sliced into bite sized pieces for party nibbles, served cold the next day in your lunch box, or at your next Mexican night with friends.

Warm Summer Courgette & Runner Bean Salad With Artichoke Hearts

This delicious summer salad is best served warm. The courgettes and runner beans take on a buttery flavour, enhanced by the creaminess of the artichoke hearts.

Winter Vegetable Minestrone Soup

Minestrone is a traditional, chunky soup, served with soup pasta. We often think of it as a summer dish, but with a little lateral thinking, you can create a soup that brightens up any winter’s day.

Got one? Send us your recipe!

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