Roasted tomatoes



Even the least enthusiastic vegetable gardener is likely to have tomatoes in their garden. And even the least enthusiastic tomato is likely to produce many fruits.  In fact even a sickly plant will vomit up more tomatoes than the most maniacal tomato eater can consume.

That’s just the way it is.  It’s nature, man.

So the enthusiastic gardener is really in a boat load of trouble come tomato harvesting time.  I, personally, planted 37 tomato plants.  37.  There’s one of me.  37 plants.  One of me.

So far this season I’ve seen my complexion go from a shade of somewhat normal, to pink, to bordering on beefsteak.  I’ve harvested 5 bushels of tomatoes from my community plot and a whole bunch (which is a technical term reserved only for tomatoes) from my front yard vegetable garden.

I’ve pressed them, sautéed them, made salads out of them, given them away, juggled with them and thrown them at anyone even remotely suspicious looking.  Like the new letter carrier who I wasn’t warned about.    I may hoard my potatoes, but I make up for it with my tomatoes.

My most recent venture into tomato hacking is roasting whatever ones I can find on the vines and then freezing them so I can have a roasted tomato sauce later in the winter when fresh tomatoes are all but a distant memory.  For myself and the temporary letter carrier.

The short version of the recipe is throw some tomatoes on a baking sheet and fling them in the oven until they’re roasted.

The long version goes something like this …

Pick and wash all the tomatoes you can find.  Plum and cherry tomatoes are best for this because they’re the driest, but any tomato will work.

Cut them in half and place them on an oiled baking sheet.

Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper, olive oil and 2 cloves of garlic (each cut in half) per baking sheet.  If you like, toss in whatever fresh herbs you have on hand.  Basil, oregano, rosemary … anything like that.  I liked.

Roast them in the oven at whatever temperature you want.  Seriously.   It. Does. Not. Matter.  But if you insist on a temperature you can do them at 400 for 30 minutes.  That will get nice colour and caramelization on the tomato.  Or, you can cook them at 325 for an hour or more.  See?  Doesn’t matter.

Update:  I’ve found personally, I get the best flavour from slowwwww roasting them at 275 F for around 4 hours.

When it comes time to make these roasted tomatoes, you can revel in the glorious fact that the temperature does NOT matter.  You know how you can never remember what temperature to cook stuff at? For this, it doesn’t matter.

The tomatoes are done whenever you want them to be.  The longer they cook the more concentrated and sweeter the flavours will be. And that’s what you’re looking for in a roasted tomato.

When they’re done and cooled off you can just pop them into a freezer bag and save them for a a dark and stormy night.   When that dark and stormy night comes, pull the roasted tomatoes out of the freezer, do that bizarre tomato dance I know you do and start cooking.

You can spread them on toasted sourdough brushed with olive oil, and top with some feta or goat’s cheese.  You can warm them up, sprinkle them with paremesan cheese, stick them under the broiler for a second and serve them as a side dish with a nice roast beef or chicken.  Or you can do the obvious and throw them at the letter carrier.

I mean turn them into a pasta sauce (which though delicious is way harder to throw).


  1. Leslie Zuroski says:

    I came home from the local Farmer’s market with 2 pounds of tomatoes today and was so happy about it. But when I was cutting them up I noticed that they just don’t seem like homegrown tomatoes at all. They actually look and taste like the crummy ones from the grocery store in wintertime. Do you think someone grows hothouse tomatoes here in Summer to sell to people not paying attention like me?

  2. Becky says:

    Yay for this post! I was in the garden today looking at my 15 tomato plants (which I thought were a lot for one person) and wondering what I’m going to do with them all–especially when they all ripen at once. Even factoring in the squirrels, I think I’m gonna have a good harvest this year. Roasting and freezing…I am so psyched.

  3. Shaelee says:

    I planted 48 tomato plants this year. For two people. Not quite as drastic as your 37 for one, but still.
    Oh and I love that you have and use a Pampered Chef Bar Pan.
    I’m a consultant and I do my happy tomato dance whenever I see that people actually do use our products. 🙂

  4. Heather (mtl) says:

    I’ve been roasting my Toms for years – they make the best pizza, quesadilla, etc than anything else! Oh, and I use naan bread for my pizzas. Try roasted yellow toms as a base for salmon (or shrimp) & veggie pizza. Also, after I roast and cook the toms, I place the whole sheet in the freezer. The next morning I peel off the toms then place in a bag, stacking them (like a roll of cookies- takes up a lot less space in the freezer!). Five minutes out of the freezer, I peel off the skins before use.
    They make the best roasted tomato tart on phyllo (sometimes with herb boursin, too)-yum!
    I had only a dozen plants, but those darned San Marzano are still at it!

  5. SarahP says:

    I have hundreds of grape tomatoes still on my plants. I always wondered if I could freeze them.

  6. Laura M says:

    I’ve been roasting tomatoes @ 200 degrees for over 2 hours…love the dark chewy sweetness they become. They’re almost like candy!

  7. Beverly, zone 6 eastern PA says:

    I dehydrated baskets-full of my own tomatoes, all kinds, tiny to large, in my Excaliber 5-tray Dehydrator. The cherry tomatoes get sliced in thirds, others are sliced to about 1/4 inch. The extra juice gets blotted with a towel if necessary before slices are positioned on the trays. It takes about 12 hours at 145 degrees. I freeze the results and later add them to winter salads, pasta dishes and wraps.
    While I still had lots of my own basil, I used the freshly dehydrated tomatoes and made pesto. The recipe is from Barbara Kingsolver’s book, Animal,Vegetable,Miracle. It was a divine experience reading her personal family adventure of a year of eating locally and growing as much as they could. I devoured every word. Here’s a link to the recipe keeping in mind I substituted 2 large handfuls of fresh basil for the dried basil.

    I also roasted several trays of my own tomatoes in the oven along with LOTS of my own onions and garlic. Olive oil is applied as is balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. A touch of sugar increases carmelization. I think it was 45 minutes at 375 degrees but I’m not totally sure about that. The results are frozen to be used as pasta sauces- but before I froze them I DRAINED THE LIQUID AND USED IT AS SALAD DRESSING! It was magnificent. There was still ample flavoring in the veggies themselves that went into the freezer bags.

  8. Jeanine says:

    I just tried this recipe, because I had some tomatoes I needed to do something with ASAP. It is delicious, and I don’t even like tomatoes all that much! I added Italian seasoning to mine along with your other suggestions. Thank you so much for this recipe!

  9. Maria G. says:

    Hehe, read some comments here. I’ll agree with Nancy. Me too, I also can’t grow tomatoes but I’ve tried to do that hundred times… Simply not lucky. But, I’d use your recipe to some other vegetables 🙂 I guess I’d try to do aubergines. Anyway thanks a lot. Tomatoes on the photo look sooo tasty…

  10. Ellen says:

    Thank you thank you thank you…… it’s just me and I have 42 tomato plants. Now I know I’m not alone in desiring numerous plants. A 6-pack of plants just looks too measly to me.

  11. Chau says:

    Hey Karen, I don’t have tomato but I do have a tree full of apples which I don’t really know which kind. It’s larger than golf ball, smaller than tennis and tastes sweet and tart at the same time. My crockpot is only big enough to make one batch of apple butter at one time which yields about two 8-oz jars. It took 12 hours to make one batch, so you can see my reluctant to pursuit further with the apple butter. Two batches of apple butter and giving to neighbors we’ve hardly made a dent on one branch. There are 10-15 more branches to go. Do you think I can roast the apples? And what do I do with roasted apples? If I don’t have any idea what to do, the rest of the apples will be donated to the local zoo.

    • Pam'a says:

      WWKD? (What would Karen do?) I daresay that with such a huge bounty, she’d give it the old college try. What’s the worst that could happen?

      Er, don’t answer that…!!

    • Linda S in NE says:

      Chau, Have you ever thought of donating some apples to your local homeless shelter? I bet they would have plenty of uses for them, and they are probably equipped with the sizes of cookware to handle your donation. By all means, if you sort out apples that appear inedible for humans, please share with the animals at the zoo. I bet they would enjoy a treat as well.

  12. I *gave* all of my tomatoes to an opossum and a groundhog. I think they threw them at each other. Luckily my mom has lots. If you add a layer of onions under your tomatoes, and throw in some capers and more garlic, you will have a pasta-ready sauce that tastes like summer. Our family jars that for year-round use – easiest sauce ever. Even the old Italians use this recipe now.

    • SK Farm Girl says:

      Dani, do you puree once roasted? Do you process them in jars or just freeze in ziplocks? Am I asking too many questions? I’m a very inquisitive person who asks a lot of questions! Do you sense that? LOL! But seriously, I would love to know your tomato process! Thanks!

      • NP, I’m a big question-asker too! If you puree, it becomes an orange colour, so I like to mash with a fork real quick – the texture is beautiful. I roast until the tops of the tomatoes are a little brown, and then the skins just peel off. Garlic under the tomatoes so it doesn’t burn, and definitely lots of oregano and basil. If I’m lazy, I freeze some, but if I have time I process the jars. My family does about 60 jars or so this way – easy to do a few trays at a time. Summer in a jar!

    • SeaDee says:

      Dani: I’m just finishing baking up a batch as you suggested with the onions and garlic (didn’t have capers). Smells so good! Can’t wait to make sauce. Thanks for the info (you too Karen)!

  13. Barbie says:

    THANK YOU! I have this plethora of tomatoes at this very moment staring at me and sitting on my back porch!~! I have canned, canned and canned everything I can think of using my tomatoes….salsa, pasta sauce, whole, etc. etc. I will now roast them! Thanks so much! A wonderful wonderful idea!! Also a beautiful picture I might add….a foodies delight to the eye indeed.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Barbie! I’m actually also going to try everyone else’s suggest of a roasted tomato soup. Even though I don’t like tomato soup, LOL. ~ karen!

  14. Agnes says:

    WTF! I just roasted a whole batch last night before even reading your post. Weird!! I found a blog that said to broil them for about 20 mins. I kept about half of the charred skins to give it the authentic fire roasted look. I didn’t even add any oil or seasoning so I’ll have to do that when it’s time to make soup!

  15. Meg says:

    I did sundried in the oven with some of mine – delicious!
    Roasting is a great idea, I still have armfulls…

  16. Rondina says:

    All this sounds tasty and overwhelming with the number of pounds. I had three plants and couldn’t keep up with them. No one seems to be grilling their tomatoes. There are trays we use to grill veggies with holes in them. A slow roast on the grill adds to the taste.

  17. Carol says:

    Our garden is too shady to grown our own but I did buy a bushel of plum tomatoes a few weeks ago. It seemed like far too many tomatoes so I split it with my neighbour. I then roasted my share and froze them in little freezer bags. They are so good that I find myself thawing a bag out every day and at this rate they will be all gone by mid-October. Next year I’ll know to do the whole bushel or maybe two.

  18. toekneetoni says:

    i am jealous because there’s nothing quite like a homegrown tomato . But 37??? Honestly, you might need a support group at this point.

  19. Patti says:

    Okay. So, there are lots of tomatoes out there, but we’re getting frost! What do I do with all the green tomatoes, Karen? Will the brown paper bag trick work?

  20. jojo says:

    Just wondering – with 37 tomato plants, how do you deal with the horribly nasty tomoato horn-worm? I only have 3 plants this year (after Sandy, I said I wasn’t planting anything in the soil for a full year, but had to get some tomators in containers)… and we still got tomato works. Ick!

    • Karen says:

      My plants didn’t get any of those. In fact I’ve never actually seen the gross thing. (the horn-worm) They all got blight however. But they were strong enough to make it through the blight. The bigger problem for me would be slugs! ~ karen

  21. Jane says:

    I had my first successful vegetable garden this year….thanks to your blog Karen. Made a roasted cherry tomatoe soup and yep, it was fantastic!! My problem isn’t the squirrels….it is my silly (or some might say smart) little dog…..everytime I let him out he heads straight to my tomatoe plants…lol… far just eats the ones that are on the ground! Cannot wait for next spring….thank you Karen!

  22. Robyn says:

    I normally skin and freeze my tomatoes whole, but last year I thought I’d add some roasted tomatoes to my winter stash. I’m not sure why, but I made the bone-headed decision to slice them. After my first batch practically disappeared on the baking sheet, I thought I would just cut them thicker (I never said I was clever)so I ended up with a few baggies of tasty (albeit mangled) roasted tomatoes. This year I was determined not to curse nearly as much so I cut them in half…what a difference! I even reduced the number of whole tomatoes I normally do, the roasted ones take up a lot less freezer space and pack more flavour. Now I’m looking forward to tasty concentrated tomato loveliness in February! Bottom line: where was this post last year!

  23. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    I could chow down on those tomatoes just the way they look in the have your garden and a community plot?

  24. Erin says:

    I had to laugh about the temperature and timing thing. I came to that conclusion recently also. I just look at how much time I have and adjust temp. accordingly. After roasting, I sometimes leave them in the oven overnight for a more “sun-dried” texture. I like to add them to a black bean and sweet potato burrito we make in the winter.

    With our kitchen in mid-renovation, I had turned my back on any more food preservation. You’ve inspired be to roast a couple more trays…maybe today after the electricians leave! Thanks, I think.

  25. Corinna says:

    I’m not the least enthusiastic gardener.. but we only fot 3 tomatoes from our 4 plants. The feathered thugs got the rest.

  26. ……Also I am pinning this! Cheers again.

  27. This is awesome! You posted this at the perfect time as all my cherry tomatoes are ripening like crazy and I was thinking, what am I going to do with them all? Now I know what I will be doing tomorrow! Thanks Karen. Cheers.

  28. magali says:

    what a minute, you have a community plot on top of having your front yard vegetable garden?!

  29. ~JackieVB says:

    Hope you’re doing all your canning/preserving before you rip your kitchen apart. I can’t imagine 37 plants worth of tomatoes!
    Nancy – I put out lots of bird seed which the squirrels love, keeps them away from the tomatoes.

  30. Anita says:

    I thought I was crazy planting 18 plants for just me-you my dear have me beat. I have ended up with 50 jars of sauce. tomato salad every day since August and roasted tomato soup. I only eat fresh tomatoes this time of year.

  31. Louise says:

    I love starting my mornings by reading your blog. Thank you Karen for sending me off with a smile… And saliva drooling from my mouth. Roasted tomatoes – yum! Hopefully your letter carrier will develop some smarts (& catching abilities) and arm him/herself with Tupperware to contain all the goodness you throw at him/her.

  32. Marti says:

    “even the least enthusiastic tomato is likely to produce many fruits.”

    The last time I tried to grow tomatoes (in Southern California), I planted 5 plants and got 8 tomatoes.

    And you are giving me a complex.

    I feel so incompetent!

  33. Bre Quantrill says:

    With the right spoon, pasta sauce can be very easy to throw. The smaller the better I’d say. Just ask any toddler. Not that a toddler should be allowed to throw pasta sauce. Unless you’re armed and ready to throw it back. That’s fun on dark and stormy nights, too. And if you can coerce the wee one to be your ally, with say promises of a puppy or a pony, that temp postal carrier won’t know what hit him. I think this “roasting of tomatoes” shall be great fun, and we might even eat some!

  34. gabrielle says:

    you love the temporary letter carrier! you luv-luv-LOVE him!

  35. Therese Bourne says:

    37 tomato plants! I’m planting out my tomatoes right now, as it’s Spring here in Australia – hurrah! I’m already up to 12 plants and I was starting to worry, as I have quite a few more varieties that I’m planning. Do you have the Tigerella variety in your neck of the woods? Worth a go if you haven’t tried before. I had 24 kilos from one plant last year!
    I’m no stranger to the wonders of roast tomatoes, but had no idea you could freeze them. Thanks for the tip. I can hardly wait now.

  36. Pam'a says:

    Last year at the end of the season I put a batch in a very slow oven for hours and let them cook down to ugly, gnarly, dried-out/carmelized things. Really, there was hardly anything left. But I scraped them up anyway, stuck them in a bag, and tossed them in the freezer. And…they are awesomely tasty and concentrated. Great for tossing in with anything tomato-ey when the fresh ones are long gone.

  37. Nancy says:

    I cannot grow tomatoes although I have tried many times. The squirrels in my current yard love to pull tiny green tomatoes off the vines and take one bite. They then throw it in the yard. I have tried everything to keep them from doing it short of sitting out with the bushes. We’re getting ready to move and I’m gonna figure out how to grow them at them new house. Stupid squirrels.

    • sue says:

      Nancy, I should be all sympathetic, since deer would SLEEP in my yard and then graze on my flowers, especially the hydrangeas. I hope you have bountiful bushels of tomatoes in your new home. Thanks for the image of crazy squirrels eating little green tomatoes and then throwing them around. I enjoy squirrels and think they are adorable, athletic animals. Little devils, for sure.

    • Tara says:

      I’m with Nancy – I could grow a hundred tomato plants and still be left with a thousand one-bite-taken green tomatoes littered all over my yard and nothing on the vine. I gave up this year and let my local farmers market growers do the job now – I still get tasty tomatoes and I don’t have to sit on my front porch with a mason jar of hooch in one hand and my BB gun in the other!

    • cheryl says:

      Tara I love the visual ! Darn squirrels ! And you an me could be sisters with our BB toting ways !Hers a visual for you all, we put layers of deer netting around our tomato plants an others, pain in bum ! B ut one morning I heaard hubby yell come out here he was laughing, well well that goofy squirrel was all hung up in netting an couldnt get out, I’m never cruel 2 animal but we did leave him there for a few more hours it was more intertaining then the tv ! By the way for those of you who have deer in your yard as we do an we live in town, they do not like onions at all so all my plants have onions or chives growing in them actually pretty with flowers. They will not eat them also can hang onion halfs in trees to keep um outaa your fall apple pie supplies ! or spray with mixture of onion juice..hope this helps…

  38. Jill says:

    How did you know about my bizarre tomato dance?

    Roasted tomatoes also make a near-orgasmic tomato soup. Puree them, add some chicken broth and shallots, simmer for as long as you can stand it, and stir in some cream. Season to taste with salt & pepper and indulge.

    I have a different dance for the roasted tomato soup, complete with closed eyes and happy sounds.

    • jojo says:

      Oh, Jill – we ALL know about your bizarre tomato dance. It is the latest internet sensation.

    • cheryl says:

      Hello fellow followers, Jill the roasted tomato soup sounds yummmie ! Makes me wish for a winter storm right now so I can whip up some..Was delighted to know about the roasted tomato recipe and you can freeze them, i’m a canner gal from way back but don’t do hardly at all now but i’ve had this urge to start again…And really does any one girl need 37 tomato plants ? So now that we know about tomatos an roasting her’s one for you roast all that extra zucchini the same way an freeze to make the most delish zucchini an tomato casserole ! Yes the zucchini will be wierd after froze but thats the beauty when its i a casserole you dont see that ! Or make a zucchini,potato,mushroom casserole hubby’s favorite no recipe needed you all know how to layer, put in fav spices, mushroom soup or in my case a gravy like rue i make with mushrms since the can stuff has MSG bake..this has been fun u all..

  39. Um, I’m really hoping that you’re massively overstating the amount of tomato plants… good night! I planted seven and I’m up to my neck in them! Good luck with that.

  40. kate-v says:

    wonderful. roasted. tomatoes. almost makes me wish for winter – but only almost. now that fall is here I will be roasting the tomatoes – and storing them for that rainy night when I can do that roasted tomato dance.

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