Have you ever made panzanella, a tomato salad with croutons? Panzanella (a classic Tuscan salad from Italy) is one of my favorite salads because it’s made with fresh ingredients and includes bread built into it in the form of homemade croutons. Classic panzanella includes tomatoes, stale bread, olive oil, and vinegar.
Panzanella is definitely a salad that tastes best with the freshest ingredients, which means that this salad is a go-to in the late summer when tomatoes are in season. Having said that, I still like to make it all year and I like to make it when I have leftover baguette bread that has started to harden. Nothing tastes better than homemade croutons made with the best olive oil you can find.
I love tomatoes! And, it’s still tomato season in Ontario. Maybe, like me, you have a few too many in your fridge if you were tempted by the tomato baskets at the grocery store and at farmer’s markets. It’s been hot and dry this season, making conditions perfect for growing beautiful tomatoes. So, I thought I would share a few recipe ideas and links in hopes of inspiring you to try something new.
But, first, let’s take a look at why tomatoes deserve our attention:
Although they have a ‘season’, tomatoes are available year-round (thanks to hot-houses) so they are affordable and you can try different recipes all year long.
There are so many varieties of tomatoes that come in different shapes, colors, and sizes (roma, plum, heirloom, beefsteak, grape, cherry, etc. ) making it easy to mix things up and keep dishes colorful.
Tomatoes make a great snack, especially the smaller ones that can easily be packed into a lunch or for eating on the go.
There are so many ways to use tomatoes: in sauces, in quick salads, and in cooked dishes. My family does not can or jar tomatoes, but I know that many families have the tradition of spending a fun day making tomato sauce to be stored and used all year long.
Finally, tomatoes are easy to serve. They are often my fall-back dish. You can slice them, drizzle them with oil, sprinkle them with salt and pepper, add some basil, and you have a salad in minutes.
Here are a few of my favorite tomato dishes in photos. There are so many obvious dishes that I haven’t put in here like caprese salad, tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce, pizza, and green salads. Because the point of this post was to get you thinking about some different tomato uses, I’ve linked recipes rather than including them in full.