Meatless Monday: To-MA-to, To-MAH-to

I have a lot of tomatoes. Fresh, farm and garden grown (not my own garden, unfortunately).

I will confess here: I am a complete tomato snob. If I cannot trace a tomato directly to the farm or garden from which it came, I don’t buy it or use it. All my tomatoes come from my CSA, acquaintances’ or my neighbor’s gardens, and farmers markets. I get my tomatoes at the peak of tomato season in the summer, and then I’m done — done — with tomatoes for the rest of the year.

Because those red things in the grocery stores in December? Those are not tomatoes. (And, no, I have not read TomatoLand, about which I am curious, but I’m not sure given the way I already feel about winter “tomatoes” I should read it. Yea or nay?)

I made gazpacho on Saturday, and I cut up a bunch more to garnish our soft tacos with for dinner that night, and I still have a lot of tomatoes.

The gazpacho is delicious, though.

I have two more tomato recipes to get to this week, but first:

(adapted from

4 cups tomato juice (divided)
1/2 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 green onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried mustard*
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon white sugar
salt and pepper to taste

In a blender or food processor, combine 2 cups of tomato juice with all the other ingredients, and pulse until well-combined, but still chunky. Transfer into large bowl (I used a big Tupperware container), add 2 more cups of tomato juice, and use an immersion blender on low to blend.

*the original recipe calls for tarragon, but I didn’t have any, so I subbed dried mustard. The OR also called for parsley, but I didn’t have that, either, and just skipped it. Still completely delicious, and it’s going to be part of my dinner for the rest of my week!


The next recipe is my favorite tomato recipe EVER — EVER. It’s from Smitten Kitchen, and the link from my blog to the recipe at Smitten Kitchen is here, but I’ve reproduced it below, and if you love tomatoes and have a lot of them, run to your kitchen — yes, RUN — and make this right now. Seriously I have been waiting for my CSA tomatoes all year just so I can make this, and I will sit up late eating it directly out of the Pyrex container with a spoon.

No, I’m not sharing. Go make your own.

Scalloped Tomatoes with Croutons
Adapted, only slightly, from Smitten Kitchen, who adapted it, only slightly, from Ina Garten

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups bread from a loaf of Italian or French bread (no crust; just tear the white into 1-inch pieces. If you like it pretty, you can cut it into 1-inch dice)
2 1/2 pounds tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice (in my experience, this is about 9 medium tomatoes)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup thinly slivered basil leaves, lightly packed
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high. Add the bread cubes and stir so that they are evenly coated with oil. Cook cubes, tossing frequently, until toasty on all sides, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper in a large bowl. When the bread cubes are toasted, add the tomato mixture and cook them together, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in the basil. Pour into a shallow (6 to 8 cup) baking dish and top with Parmesan cheese. Bake 35 to 40 minutes until the top is browned and the tomatoes are bubbly. Serve hot or warm.

And then for Thursday night’s Back To School picnic (which, WTH, BTS?), I want to make salsa. If you have a favorite recipe, leave it in the comments. If you have any other tomato recipes that are must-trys, send ’em my way. The tomatoes have just started rolling in, and I love them prepared just about any way possible.

7 thoughts on “Meatless Monday: To-MA-to, To-MAH-to

    • Bluz, Bluz, Bluz. *shakes head in disappointment* A big red (or pink or yellow) ripe summer tomato is a thing of perfection.

      And, let’s recall, I’ve removed the possibility of meat from all my days. MWAHAHAHA.


  1. Great ideas. FYI – food section is also posting great tomato recipes for summer. On another summer vegetables note, I made a great vegetarian corn chowder over the weekend – corn is found in abundance right now and so tasty in a soup! Hannah and I stir-fried vegetables and tofu last night. I liked the flavor of the dish but not the consistancy of the tofu. Is there a way to sear it so the tofu has a “meatier” texture…not so squishy?

    • I will check those out, thank you!

      Tofu: the key is what kind of tofu you are buying. You want tofu packed in a plastic tub with water, probably firm or extra firm. If you are going to use tofu in a recipe like stir fry, you want to drain it and then press the water out of it. The best way to press it is between two plates (or a cutting board on the bottom and a plate on the top) with some sort of weight on the top (a hand weight or a canned good). The bottom surface should have a couple of paper towels on it. You can press it for 5 minutes or an hour — the longer, the “drier” the tofu will be.

      You can also freeze the tofu first. Unpack it, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, freeze it for a couple of days. When you are ready to cook with it, let it thaw, press out the water, and cook.

      Either of these methods will give the tofu a firmer texture. You do not want to buy “silken” tofu. that’s for like dips or smoothies and such.

      Good luck!

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