Simple, sweet, savory and succulent, these roasted tomatoes seasoned with the earthy flavors of olive oil, garlic, and herbs are a beautifully colorful and flavorful side dish to most any meal you serve.
Roasted Tomatoes, a Simple and Beautiful Side to Any Dish
While the best season for enjoying tomatoes is in the late spring through mid fall, when they are at their peak of sweetness and flavor, they are always abundantly available in our markets in a vast variety of sizes, shapes and colors, ready to be sliced and eaten fresh, or added into our favorite recipes.
And there are always tomatoes in my fridge, as I personally love to add them to my salads, sandwiches, or even slice them up as a topper for one of my favorite evening snacks—simple, buttery, garlic-rubbed toasts.
But there's another use for tomatoes that I really enjoy—one that is warm, succulent, juicy and flavorful—and that's preparing them as the vibrant side dish of roasted tomatoes.
During my days as a personal chef, I would prepare a delicious version of roasted tomatoes for my clients that was full of rich, earthy flavors and aroma, and rarely would there be one tomato left on the platter. They were a favorite side dish to so many things that I prepared.
I would prepare them drizzled with good olive oil and a liberal sprinkle of salt; I also added fresh garlic, herbs, cracked black pepper, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and a splash of balsamic vinegar. They were wonderful served with anything from roasted chicken, to pasta, to pan-seared halibut—the list goes on...
Roasted tomatoes easily partner with so many main dishes because of their complex flavors; they add that wonderful hint of savory-sweet tartness and zip, which is always a welcome surprise.
How to Roast Tomatoes
For having as gourmet a quality to them as they do, roasted tomatoes are actually very, very simple to prepare and serve.
I have found that Roma tomatoes are the best tomatoes to use for this particular preparation, as they are slightly firmer and hold their shape well during the roasting process.
And the seasoning that you use is entirely up to you, which makes a recipe like this a joy because you can play around a little with different flavor profiles. But I really prefer those seasonings and ingredients that compliment both the sweet and savory aspect of roasted tomatoes, and that bring out their natural flavors.
Here are the simple steps:
- Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper (you can also place a wire rack over the parchment lined baking sheet to allow for excess juice to drip away), and preheat your oven.
- Slice your tomatoes (Roma tomatoes work best) in half length-wise, and drizzle over a generous amount of good olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and your choice of seasonings: sea salt, cracked black pepper, red pepper flakes or cayenne, some dried herbs such as Italian herbs like basil, oregano, thyme or similar.
- Then add them (cut-side up) to the baking sheet, and roast for about 40 minutes until lightly golden, tender, and juicy
These roasted tomatoes are sure to be a hit with whatever you serve, in whatever season you choose to serve them!
Tips & Tidbits for Roasted Tomatoes:
- Roma tomatoes work best: I prefer Roma tomatoes for roasting because they are a bit firmer and hold up a little better during the cooking process.
- Get a little spicy: If you enjoy some spice to your food, these roasted tomatoes are an ideal canvas for that—just sprinkle over your desired amount of red pepper flakes or even cayenne pepper, and you've got instant kick.
- Use dried herbs during cooking, and fresh as a garnish: To keep fresh herbs (which are delicious with these roasted tomatoes!) from getting brown during the roasting, use dried herbs as part of the seasoning, and then finish/garnish the roasted tomatoes with fresh herbs such as parsley, thyme, or even basil.
- A little splash of vinegar: Both balsamic and red wine vinegar work wonderfully for roasted tomatoes; balsamic will add an additional note of sweetness, while red wine vinegar is cleaner and crisper.
Feast your eyes on these, or just jump to the recipe:
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
• 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (or your choice of dried herbs)
• 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
• 6 Roma tomatoes, halved length-wise and any loose seeds/membrane scooped out
• 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
• 1 tablespoon of olive oil (plus a tiny drizzle extra for finishing)
• 3 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• Cracked black pepper
• Fresh basil leaves, as garnish
• Shaved parmesan, as garnish
-Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (you can place a wire rack over that, if you'd like), and preheat your oven to 400°.
-Combine the Italian seasoning or dried herbs with the red pepper flakes in a small ramekin, and set aside.
-Add the halved Roma tomatoes to a bowl, and add in the balsamic vinegar and the 1 tablespoon of olive oil, plus the garlic, and toss gently to coat; then place the tomatoes, cut side up, onto the baking sheet.
-Sprinkle about half of the seasoning mixture (the dried herbs and red pepper flakes) over the tomatoes, along with a couple of good pinches of salt and cracked black pepper, and roast for 40 minutes, until tomatoes are tender, juicy and slightly browned.
-Allow them to slightly cool for a few minutes, then place them onto your serving platter and drizzle over a tiny bit of extra olive oil, and sprinkle over top the rest of the seasoning mixture; then, tear up a few basil leaves and sprinkle those over the tomatoes, along with some freshly shaved parmesan, as well. Serve hot or room temp.