How to eat tomatoes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Line ’em up.
Line ’em up.
Image: Annaliese Griffin
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A certain kind of person takes pride in announcing that they will only eat tomatoes when they’re in season. I’ll admit that I buy plenty of tomatoes in the winter too—to douse with lime and mix with onion and cilantro for pico de gallo, or roast to a shrunken, umami-rich mass to pile on toast or toss with pasta.

But these watery hothouse fruits never make me want to bite into them standing over the sink, seeds running down my forearms, or sprinkle flakey salt over thick slices to gobble up with no further adornment.

Here’s how to eat those luscious in-season tomatoes all day long—while you can. Summer might be winding down, but in much of the world, tomato season is just getting started.

Tomato sandwiches for breakfast

Whether smooshed in a sandwich or piled onto toast, tomatoes plus bread, with some extras, make an excellent breakfast. I like them on lightly toasted bread with salt and mayonnaise, like Food52’s Merrill Stubbs.

Indrani Sen, Quartzy editor and an opinionated eater, nods toward the UK with her tomato, butter, mayo and Marmite sandwiches.

If mayo is not your thing, look to Spain for pan con tomate, in which toasted bread is brushed with garlic and olive oil, and you use a box grater to make a tomato pulp to spoon on top (or simply rub a juicy tomato on the crispy toasted bread’s surface). Or channel a New York bagel shop and smooth scallion cream cheese onto seven-grain or toasted pumpernickel bread and then layer sliced tomatoes on top.

And as far as I’m concerned, BLTs are the perfect food and appropriate for any meal. If I can convince you of bacon, tomato, and lettuce between two slices of bread as a breakfast food, then I consider that a public service.

Cold tomato soup for lunch

Here at Quartzy, we are a tad obsessed with this gazpacho recipe from New York Times Cooking. “More of a drink than a soup,” is how Julia Moskin describes the recipe she discovered in Andalusia “when I was craving cold, craving salt and craving lunch all at the same time.”

I find it immensely fortifying on a hot day. It’s light and tangy thanks to the sherry vinegar (I sometimes substitute white wine vinegar), and the substantial amount of olive oil keeps everything very lush (“a mouth feel similar to that of whole milk,” as Moskin writes). For lunch I pair it with crackers and goat cheese, avocado toast, or, if I’m feeling ambitious, a simple salad.

Two caveats—this is a recipe that will make you think about upgrading your blender, definitely buzz it for longer than you think you need to, and do not skimp on the olive oil.

Tomatoes on pasta for dinner

Remember bruschetta, that very 1990s, very Italian-ish appetizer? It was good, right? It’s even better when you turn it into a pasta. This time of year my family eats spaghetti or linguini tossed with a sauce of fresh tomatoes, garlic, basil, salt, and a splash of red wine vinegar at least once a week.

My toddler loads grated parmesan on top and then slurps the noodles. You can toss in some fresh mozzarella, too, if you feel moved to. Francis Lam, a food writer and Splendid Table host, has been raving about this pasta for years now. Lynn Rosetta Kasper, the other host of the Splendid Table has, too. If you want to get a little crazy, try this version that adds brie to the mix, adapted from the Silver Palate Cookbook, by way of Food52.

May tomato season never end.