We are a couple weeks out from our garden tomatoes growing, but once ours start growing, it will be all tomato recipes all the time here. Luckily, we have a huge list of budget-friendly fresh tomato recipes to choose from.
If you don’t have a garden, don’t worry. You can just go to your local grocery store and pick up fresh tomatoes there for these recipes.
Fresh is best for these recipes. We do use canned tomatoes a lot, but that’s a whole different recipe list. When we get that one posted, we’ll link it here.
20+ Budget-Friendly Fresh Tomato Recipes
We broke this list into two sections: Fresh tomato recipes with meat and vegetarian fresh tomatoes recipes.
Vegetarian Fresh Tomatoes Recipes
The fresh tomatoes really shine in these vegetarian fresh tomatoes recipes. A few of them are vegan too.
1. Vegetarian Couscous with Zucchini, Chickpeas, and Tomatoes
I’m such a big fan of couscous. It’s a really simple base to build delicious recipes from. And it works perfectly in this Vegetarian Couscous with Zucchini, Chickpeas, and Tomatoes.
Don’t let the long list of ingredients in the name imply that this recipe is difficult. It’s so simple. You make the couscous, roast the other ingredients, and combine them. That’s about it.
2. Pasta alla Norma
Pasta alla Norma is one of the best ways to use fresh tomatoes. You build a sauce using tomatoes and eggplant, then use that to top pasta.
The sauce is really easy to make and a great idea for the nights you want a red sauce but don’t feel like making a full marinara sauce.
3. Garden Tomato Caprese Tart
One of the tastiest and lightest ways to use fresh garden tomatoes is in this Garden Tomato Caprese Tart. If you only have store-bought tomatoes, those work fine too.
This tart combines mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and basil (all the components of a caprese salad) in a flaky crust. Bake it and serve.
Your family may love this so much that you might want to make two.
4. Baked Fried Green Tomatoes
Fried Green Tomatoes are best made with garden tomatoes because you use tomatoes that are not completely ripe. When you have a garden, you can pick your tomatoes early.
Stores don’t generally sell green tomatoes. Stores do carry tomatillos (which are used in salsa verde), but those aren’t right for this recipe.
5. Mini Tomato Pies
These Mini Tomato Pies are basically the one-bite version of the Garden Tomato Caprese Tart above.
That tart is made as one large portion to be split amongst people. This is a mini version, made in individual portions.
Both are delicious. It just depends on how you want to serve it.
6. Grilled Tomatoes
If you’re making dinner on the grill, it makes sense to make sides on the grill too. And this Grilled Tomatoes is one of the easiest sides to throw on the grill with your proteins.
We are huge fans of this recipe and make it all grilling season long.
7. Baked Tomatoes with Panko
If it’s not grilling season, Baked Tomatoes is a good alternative to the side dish above.
This Baked Tomatoes recipe takes garden tomatoes and sprinkles them with Panko bread crumbs, giving you a really great crunch and breading taste without having to dredge and coat the tomatoes in breadcrumbs.
8. Stuffed Tomatoes
A really fun dinner side dish is this Stuffed Tomatoes recipe.
They take a little bit of work because you do stuff each fresh tomato individually, but it’s totally worth the effort. Just be sure to make more than you expect your family to eat. These are poppable and easy to eat quickly.
9. Avocado Toast Bruschetta
Avocado Toast is still really popular. So lean into the skid, as they say, with this Avocado Toast Bruschetta.
It’s everything you like in avocado toast, plus the addition of fresh tomato, but in a bite-sized, appetizer form. Every time I make these, they’re eaten so quickly and are definitely the hit of the party.
10. Vegan Pasta Salad
We generally have one vegan item at every one of our backyard barbecues, so our friend, who is vegan, has something she can eat.
This Vegan Pasta Salad, which has fresh tomatoes chopped up and added to the rest of the ingredients, is perfect. We do often have a container of Feta cheese next to it, because it’s tasty that way, but it’s vegan without it.
11. White Pizza
Although you can top White Pizza with anything, we often choose fresh tomatoes.
See, White Pizza means the “sauce” is ricotta cheese, not a marinara sauce. So you don’t have any tomato on it, even though most tomatoes traditionally have tomatoes in some capacity. So that’s why we love topping White Pizza with fresh tomatoes.
12. Weight Watchers Salsa
It’s so incredibly easy to make homemade salsa. And it’s so good too. After I started making this, we completely stopped buying salsa at the store.
This is listed as a Weight Watchers recipe, mostly because a lot of people come to Drugstore Divas looking for Weight Watchers options. But even if you’re not following the WW program, you can still enjoy this salsa.
13. Orzo Greek Salad
If you’re s fan of Greek salad, you’ll love this Orzo Greek Salad. It’s a Greek salad, but instead of a lettuce base, it’s an orzo base.
So if you’re making a pasta salad, and you want one with a twist, this is the perfect recipe for that. It’s good hot or cold too, so you can make it ahead of time.
14. Kale Pesto Bruschetta
Kale Pesto is, without question, my favorite condiment. It goes well with bread — especially when you add fresh tomatoes and turn it into a bruschetta.
We love making bruschetta for parties and no matter what type we make, or how much we make, it always goes quickly. So if you’re looking for the hit of your party, this Kale Pesto Bruschetta will be it.
15. Caprese Grilled Cheese
There’s a whole restaurant in Wilmington geared towards grown up grilled cheese. Because honestly, everyone likes grilled cheese.
This Caprese Grilled Cheese is a delicious grown up grilled cheese, filled with mozzarella cheese, fresh tomato, and pesto.
16. Vegan Taco Pasta Salad
There’s a whole pint of fresh grape tomatoes in this vegan Taco Pasta Salad. The recipe is the perfect side dish for a backyard barbecue … for vegans and meat eaters alike.
This pasta salad has all the flavors of tacos, just no meat in it, although, if you weren’t worried about keeping it vegan, you could add meat. We don’t feel like it needs it, but you do you.
17. Easy Garden Tomato Salad
Garden tomatoes are the star of this easy Garden Tomato Salad. It’s really the only ingredient besides liquids and seasoning.
What’s great about this tomato salad is you make it ahead of time and let it sit an marinate overnight. When you’re ready for it the next day, it’s ready to go.
18. Lentil And Cauliflower Vegan Tacos
Fresh tomatoes are only a garnish in this Lentil And Cauliflower Vegan Tacos, but the tacos would be incomplete without them.
The whole recipe is fresh, but the tomatoes lighten up what could be a potentially heavy lentil/cauliflower base.
Fresh Tomato Recipes with meat
These fresh tomatoes recipes with meat let the fresh tomatoes shine while still appealing to your carnivore side.
19. Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats
Fresh tomatoes are diced, then added to the mixture used to stuff these zucchini boats.
The fresh tomatoes add a nice pop of color to this recipe too, and everyone knows, you eat with your eyes first.
20. Bacon Tomato Jam
Bacon Tomato Jam is the perfect way to use a lot of garden tomatoes, if your garden is overflowing with them. Of course, you could also use store-bought tomatoes.
You can make the jam then use it to top chicken, steak, meatloaf, or just use it as a dip for crackers. It’s so good, you might want to drink it with a straw. But don’t. Those bacon chunks will probably get stuck.
21. Bacon, Spinach And Tomato Sandwich
This Bacon, Spinach And Tomato Sandwich is a really fun twist on a BLT. Instead of lettuce, this sandwich substitutes in spinach.
It also shows you how to make a bacon weave, which is a great way to assure there’s a bit of bacon in every bite.
22. Caprese Chicken
Caprese Chicken is such a good weeknight dinner meal that feels fancy. I think it’s all the gooey, melty cheese on top of the chicken.
The fresh tomatoes add a little bit of sweetness to the dinner too, which is a welcome flavor to the mild chicken and cheese.
Which of these budget-friendly fresh tomatoes recipes have you tried? Be sure to let us know in the comments.