5 easy tomato recipes: Brilliant brunches and the ultimate summer tart

Tomatoes play a starring role in these delicious quick-cook recipes.

Cheat’s quinoa tabbouleh with feta

tomato recipes
Chris Alack

SERVES 4-6

2 x 250g pouches ready-cooked quinoa (for example Merchant Gourmet Quinoa Red & White) or see note
15g young mint leaves, coarsely chopped
75g young flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
250g cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered depending on size
6 spring onions, thinly sliced
3 tbsp lemon juice
sea salt and black pepper
8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
200g feta, cut into 1cm cubes

1. Up to an hour before serving, empty the quinoa into a large bowl and break up the grains. Fold through the mint, parsley, tomatoes and spring onions.

2. In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice with 1 tbsp water and some seasoning, whisk in the olive oil and set aside.

3. Shortly before serving, pour the dressing over the quinoa mixture, toss to combine and then gently mix in the feta.

NOTE
If you prefer to cook quinoa from scratch, you’ll need about 200g uncooked. If wished, toast the grains in a hot pan before cooking according to the packet. Drain and allow to cool before proceeding with the recipe.

Cherry tomato tarts with parma ham & pesto

tomato recipes
Chris Alack

MAKES 6

1 x 320g block all-butter puff pastry (for example Jus-Rol)
dijon mustard
300g cherry tomatoes, halved
1 medium egg yolk
sea salt and black pepper
30g parmesan, finely shaved
pesto, for dolloping
6 slices parma ham
extra virgin olive oil
small fresh basil leaves (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Remove the pastry from the fridge and leave for 10 minutes before carefully unrolling. Cut the pastry in half lengthwise, then cut each half into three to give six rectangles. Arrange these on one or two baking sheets.

2. Spread a thin layer of mustard over each pastry base, to within about 2cm of the edges, then scatter the tomatoes over the top. Combine the egg yolk with 1 tbsp water and brush all over the pastry border. Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper then dot with a few slivers of parmesan. Dollop on 1 tsp pesto per tart and ripple 1 slice of parma ham on each. Drizzle with a little olive oil.

3. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden and risen. Finish with a few fresh basil leaves if wished.

Easy oven-baked tomato risotto

tomato recipes
Chris Alack

SERVES 4 

1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
25g unsalted butter
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
pinch saffron filaments (about 25)
800g beefsteak tomatoes, skinned and coarsely chopped
300g risotto rice (for example carnaroli or vialone nano)
150ml dry white wine
sea salt and black pepper
100g freshly grated parmesan, plus extra to serve

HERB PUREE

50g mixed fresh herb leaves (for example flat-leaf parsley, basil and mint)
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 

1. Preheat the oven to 190C/170Cfan/gas 5. Bring the stock to the boil in a small saucepan. Melt the butter in a large cast-iron casserole over a medium heat and fry the onion for a few minutes until translucent. Meanwhile, grind the saffron, combine with 1 tbsp boiling water and set aside. 

2. Add the chopped tomatoes to the casserole and cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently until they start to become mushy. Add the rice and stir for 1-2 minutes to coat it in the butter and flavourings. Pour in the wine and continue cooking until it has been absorbed, then add the saffron liquid to the pot along with the hot stock and season with plenty of salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, cover the pan with a lid and cook in the oven for 25 minutes. 

3. Meanwhile, roughly chop the herbs, place with the olive oil in a food processor and blitz until smooth. 

4. Just before serving, stir the grated parmesan into the risotto, dollop the herb purée on top and fold over a few times to streak it. Serve with the extra parmesan. 

Oven brunch tomatoes

tomato recipes
Chris Alack

SERVES 6

100g white bread without crusts (trimmed weight)
100g diced unsalted butter
1 tsp dijon mustard
sea salt and black pepper
6 large tomatoes (about 125g each)
20g freshly grated parmesan

1. Preheat the oven to 240C/220C fan/gas 9. Whiz the bread to crumbs in a food processor. Add the butter, mustard and a little seasoning and blend to a smooth paste.

2. Halve the tomatoes horizontally and spread a generous heaped teaspoon of the breadcrumb mixture on top of each one, mounding it in the centre. Arrange the tomatoes in a single layer in a large roasting pan and dust the tops with parmesan. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes (you can flash them under the grill to finish if you like).

HERBY CHEESY VARIATION
Combine equal quantities of white breadcrumbs, grated gruyère and unsalted butter. Flavour with herbs of your choice and season the mixture with salt and pepper. Spread over halved tomatoes and grill under a low heat for about 20 minutes.

Tuscan tomato and bread salad

tomato recipes
Chris Alack

SERVES 4

700g mixed tomatoes, sliced, halved or quartered
Maldon sea salt and black pepper
1 tsp caster sugar
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 small ciabatta (or other rustic Italian loaf), about 300g and ideally a day or two old
100g pitted green or black olives or a mixture
6 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley plus a few basil leaves

1. Place the prepared tomatoes in a bowl, toss with 1 tsp sea salt and the sugar and set aside for 30 minutes. Drain in a sieve, collecting the juices in a bowl below. Add the oil and vinegar to the juices and season with a little pepper. 

2. Remove the crusts from the ciabatta, tear the crumb into 2.5cm chunks and place in a large serving bowl. Evenly drizzle over the dressing and set aside until absorbed. 

3. Toss the tomatoes with the bread and olives, cover and set aside for 30-60 minutes for the bread to soften further. Gently mix in the parsley just before serving. Finish with a splash more oil and the basil. 

Beyond simply red: Go golden, green, pear-shaped or striped

tomato recipes
Chris Alack

Seek out heritage and heirloom varieties at good veg stalls and local markets, or browse the seed catalogues and plan to grow your own next season.

For a sweet small yellow variety try golden queen from Hampton Court Palace Head Gardener’s selection, historicroyalpalaces.com. Find giant yellow brandywine seeds at nickys-nursery.co.uk.

Garden guru Sarah Raven’s essential tomato collection includes the mini sungold and gardener’s delight varieties plus a deep purple beauty, black krim; see sarahraven.com.

For Italian plum tomatoes, including foodies’ favourite san marzano, as well as meaty ribbed and beefsteak varieties such as red pear, visit seedsofitaly.com.

Explore a wide selection of cherry and baby plums in various colours, including apero and orange fizz, at chilternseeds.co.uk.

Stripy-skinned tomatoes include the striking green zebra from mr-fothergills.co.uk and tiger red from thompson-morgan.com.

Recipe by Annie Bell. Food styling by Clare Lewis. Styling by Sue Radcliffe.