It is hard to believe we are halfway through September already. Time is just flying by. I do love this time of year. The leaves are starting to change in Tennessee, football has begun (Go Vols!) and the temperature is finally beginning to go down (kind of).
Today, I want to spotlight the humble tomato and the variety of ways to use them.
Tomatoes have a lot of nutrition for such a bite sized food. It is packed with Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and lycopene (an antioxidant). You also get a lot of them. One cup of cherry tomatoes has only 26 calories!
With football in mind, I thought I would share five ways to utilize the tomato at your next party or tailgate. (And there's never enough vegetables at a tailgate.)
This is a classic. And for good reason. Salsa is a great way to eat tomatoes. It is super simple to make. So pass on the store bought and make your own. This way you are in control of what goes in, how spicy (or not) it will be and it is a fantastic dish to make ahead. It gets better the longer it has time to marinate all those delicious flavors together. My favorite combination is simple: chopped tomatoes + chopped onion + lime juice + fresh cilantro +salt + pepper. You can get it roughly chopped or puree it until smooth. Make it yours.
You cannot go wrong with Bruschetta. It is a simple tomato mixture on top of crusty bread! YUM! Slice up a french baguette and toss in the oven or on the grill to toast. I make a similar tomato mixture as the salsa except I replace the cilantro with fresh basil. A crostini is a great vehicle for truly any mixture or spread. Plus, it is a great party food because it is easy to eat as you mingle and watch the game.
Caprese is a delicious salad of fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. To make it tailgate friendly: use cherry tomatoes, small mozzarella balls and a fresh basil leaf and skewer onto a toothpick. Drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar and done. Delicious, super simple and easy to eat.
Salads are always tough to serve and eat at a party. For some reason, they are just great party foods (as much as I want them to be.) A great way to serve a salad is to make a non-lettuce salad that can be made ahead and marinate and that won't get soggy. (Nobody likes that). Serve it up in small, clear plastic cups. This makes for a healthful salad on the go. For a recipe idea, check out Peas and Crayon's Healthy Tomato Cucumber Avocado Salad.
Let's be honest, most tailgates typically have some sort of alcoholic beverage(s). A Bloody Mary cocktail is a fun drink to serve at a party and its base is tomato juice. Turn it into a Bloody Mary bar. Set out the Bloody Mary mix, liquors, and then separate bowls for the mix-ins such as olives, celery, hot sauce and more. But, skip the store bought mix, which usually has a lot of salt and make your own. My Bloody Mary mix recipe is coming soon to the blog. Stay tuned.
What are your favorite ways to serve tomatoes (or any fruit or vegetable) at parties, tailgates or football games? Share with us below or by using the hashtag #MealPlanningMethod.