Saturday, August 7, 2010

Cherry Tomato Surplus

Though zucchini has been a common item of overabundance for gardeners and CSA-ers alike, my real problem is cherry tomatoes. As of Tuesday, I had 8 containers of them, staring up from my veggie drawer. Salad isn't my thing and I can only throw so many into a smoothie before it becomes V8.

So I had to figure out how to deal with the little menaces. As far as I'm concerned, tomatoes of larger sizes do their best work as sauce. Can cherry tomatoes be sauce? It turns out that they can!

As I anticipated a load of squash, I decided to make roasted vegetable lasagna, but alas, I ended up with too few to be of use. So the filling was a brick of frozen spinach and silken tofu.

For the sauce, I wanted it to be a little spicy, since the cherry tomatoes are so sweet. But otherwise, I kept it pretty basic.

The sauce was a little too liquid. Next time, I'll reduce the oil and let it simmer for a longer time. I did get a little out of control with the immersion blender, so it was totally liquefied before applied to the lasagna. But I don't like tomato chunks.

It did thicken upon baking and soaked the lasagna noodles (which I left a little al dente) and the tofu mix really well. I think it would do fine as a pasta sauce as well. I'll have to experiment more, and thanks to another gift of cherry tomatoes from Mr. Miller, I don't think that will be an issue.

Here's the recipe with the tweaks I think I need. I used dry and fresh herbs b/c that's what I had, but of course, you can use either. Also, it turned out pretty spicy, so you may want to start with less red pepper.

Spicy Sweet Cherry Tomato Sauce
2 T olive oil
1 small onion
3 large cloves garlic, minced
8 cups cherry tomatoes
2 tsp red pepper flakes
3 T dried basil
4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

Sauté onion in oil until soft. Add garlic and cook for about a minute. Add cherry tomatoes and herbs. Allow to simmer until desired thickness is achieved. If you want smooth sauce, go to town with an immersion blender, or allow sauce to cool to room temperature and run it through a blender or food processor in batches.

After using 8 cups of cherry tomatoes, I still had plenty. In fact, 8 cups was only half of my supply.

Again, I wanted to make sauce. So I turned to the internet and found Pasta with Baked Tomato Sauce. I liked the idea, so I set about veganizing it. I haven't eaten cheese in years, so I can't even fathom what the cheeses mentioned should taste like, but their presence signals Nutritional Yeast to me.

Baked Cherry Tomato Sauce
2 to 3 T extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
4 slices bread toasted and processed into crumbs
1-3 gloves garlic minced
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/3 cup almond meal
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a 13-by-9-inch baking dish.

Place the tomatoes cut side up in the dish.

Combine the bread crumbs, nutritional yeast, almond meal, garlic, salt, and pepper with your hands. Sprinkle the bread-crumb mixture over the tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes or until brown on top.

I ate this mixed with vegetable bow tie noodles and was really happy with how it turned out. My next task is to deal with the cucumbers!


  1. mm this looks great! Never thought of using cherry tomatoes as a sauce because they are so expensive but I am sure the taste is wonderful. I love that you added red pepper flakes to your sauce..I love anything with spice!

  2. Thank you! I had never thought of it before either, but they were taking over my fridge. I also am a spice lover :)

  3. I'm totally jealous of this tomato bounty, and of that lasagna! Beautiful :)