Are you one of the lucky gardeners whose cherry tomato plants magically reappear each season without you doing a darned thing? Cherry tomatoes are easy to grow and harvest this time of year, as long as you snag them before the squirrels do. This next series on Food and Health Communications will highlight a dozen ‘things’ to do with 12 commonly grown and purchased produce. Lettuce begin with cherry tomatoes!
- Cherry avocado toast. Cut 4 cherry tomatoes in half and set aside. Toast 1 slice of rye or whole wheat bread. Mash 1/3 of an avocado and spread over toast. Top with cherry tomato halves, a dash of salt and eat!
- Cherry tomato Caprese skewers. Don’t worry that you need big wooden skewers for these. Decent toothpicks will do just fine. Take a cherry tomato and place it on a skewer with a small ball of mozzarella cheese and a fresh basil leaf. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve. A mozzarella cheese stick can be cut into 1” chunks and used as well.
- Tomato and cucumber salad. Cut 15 cherry tomatoes in half and place them in a medium bowl. Slice a cucumber into 1/4” slices, then cut in fours. Add cucumbers to tomatoes. Whisk 1 Tbsp. olive oil, 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar and 1 tsp. Dijon mustard together then drizzle over tomato salad. Makes 4 servings.
- Cottage cheese with cherry tomatoes. This is a fast, high protein trick that’s great for breakfast or a mid-afternoon snack. Top ½ cup low-fat cottage cheese with 4 cherry tomatoes cut in half. Top with freshly ground black pepper.
- Tuna salad with cherry tomatoes. Brighten up that tan tuna with cherry tomatoes! Stuff half a whole wheat pita with a few Tbsp. of tuna salad and tuck in 5 cherry tomato halves and lettuce leaves.
- Margarita muffin. Toast a whole-grain English muffin. Cut 5 cherry tomatoes in half and toss in ¼ tsp. garlic salt and ¼ tsp. oregano. Add 5 tomato halves to each muffin. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese on the tomatoes and broil for 3-4 minutes or toast in a toaster oven until cheese melts.
- Mediterranean hummus dip. In a 9” pie pan, spread the contents of 1 (10 oz) container regular or garlic hummus. Top with 10 cherry tomatoes, cut in half, 1 Tbsp. chopped red onion, 2 Tbsp. chopped/pitted kalamata olives, ¼ cup feta cheese and ¼ of chopped cucumber. Shake ½ tsp. dried oregano over the tomatoes and drizzle with olive oil. Serve with pita chips or pepper strips.
- Simple summer pasta. Cook 1 lb. whole wheat pasta and set aside. In ¼ cup olive oil, sautee 10 cherry tomato halves, 1 green or yellow pepper (cut into strips), 1 chopped zucchini and 2 cloves minced garlic. Add ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper. Add cooked pasta to vegetables and serve.
- Tuscan white bean & tomato salad. Combine 2 pints cherry tomatoes (cut in half) with ½ tsp sugar and ¼ tsp. salt. Let sit for 30 minutes. In another bowl, whisk together 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar, 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, 2 cloves minced garlic, and ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes. Drain and rinse 1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans. Add beans and tomatoes together in a medium bowl then drizzle dressing, toss and serve.
- Cherry tomato salsa. Dice 1-pint cherry tomatoes and place in a medium bowl. Add ¼ cup diced red onion, 1 clove minced garlic, ½ tsp. cumin, ½ tsp. salt and ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro. Blend ingredients together. Serve with tortilla chips.
- Tomato watermelon salad. Place 1 pint halved cherry tomatoes in a medium bowl. Add 2 cups watermelon (cut into chunks), ¼ of a red onion (cut into thin rings). Whisk together 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar and 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil. Add ¼ cup feta cheese and toss.
- Cherry tomato & peach salad. Place 1 pint of halved cherry tomatoes on a platter. Slice 1 ripe, pitted peach and place over tomatoes. Cover tomatoes and peaches with ¼ cup goat cheese. Whisk together 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar, 2 Tbsp. canola oil, 1 Tbsp. peeled and diced shallots and 1 Tbsp. chopped, fresh basil and thyme. Drizzle dressing over tomatoes and peaches and serve.
Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LD