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20 recipes to make the most of peak tomato season

Don't let this fresh summer staple go to waste!
/ Source: TODAY

The undisputed standout of the stellar produce that comes with the summer season is juicy, firm, ripe tomatoes.

This versatile vegetable — well, technically, it's a fruit — can be used to make a variety of delicious dishes. Its rich flavor and bright acidity make the terrific tomato a perfect addition to soups, salads, pastas, sauces and much more.

Here are 20 easy and delicious tomato recipes that make the most of one of summer's greatest edible gifts.

Valerie Bertinelli's Fresh Tomato Sauce

Valerie Bertinelli proves that you don't have to spend hours stirring over a hot stove to make an amazing tomato sauce. This bright, fresh sauce comes together with just four ingredients in about five minutes.

Perfect Pasta Pomodoro

Chef Scott Conant's pasta pomodoro is like heaven on a plate. It's a truly unforgettable sensory experience for anyone who enjoys classic Italian cuisine. The only downside? No other pasta pomodoro will ever taste as good!

Anne Burrell's Heirloom Tomato Salad

Juicy, heirloom tomatoes are the crescendo of what mother nature has been working on all season long! Pairing the sweet and tart tomatoes with creamy and tangy goat cheese makes this salad really exceptional.

Gazpacho Soup

Gazpacho Soup

Natalie Morales

Gazpacho may be the ultimate summer refresher. In Spain, it's the first thing served at most meals — it's basically a salad in a soup. Sipping on this cold soup is a surefire way to cool down on a hot summer day.

Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes

Meredith Brokaw

A light cornmeal coating adds a pleasing crunch to this classic Southern dish of fried green tomatoes. The firm, tart green tomatoes soften slightly in the fryer resulting in the perfect, fork-tender texture.

Oprah's Basic Tomato Soup

"I've never met a tomato soup I didn't like," said Oprah Winfrey. "It looks rustic, it feels rich, and it tastes, well, honest. In the summer we take [the tomatoes] fresh off the vine, and in the winter we roast them to concentrate the flavor when good tomatoes are almost impossible to find."

This dish tastes like summer, with smoky and crispy grilled chicken, sweet tomatoes and creamy cheese. It’s an appetizer, salad and main course all in one.

Chopped Caprese Salad

Chopped Caprese Salad

Reed Alexander

Cucumbers and arugula are not part of a traditional caprese salad, but they add a crisp crunch and peppery flavor to this light and fresh salad.

Grilled Salmon with Roasted Green Tomatoes

"I love this dish because it is so versatile," chef Alex Guarnaschelli told TODAY Food. "You can serve it hot off the grill, cook it in advance and serve it at room temperature or chilled as a main course. It's also great for lunch; I have even taken this dish and put it on bread for a summery sandwich!"

Pan Con Tomate

Pan Con Tomate

José Andrés

This is Valerie Bertinelli's go-to recipe for warm-weather entertaining: "It's no-cook, full of flavor, only requires a few ingredients and so refreshing."

Burrata Caprese Salad

Burrata Caprese Salad

Valerie Bertinelli

Chef José Andrés shared his recipe for a classic Catalan dish that is both simple and delicious. The full flavor of the fresh tomatoes is showcased on top of crusty bread with just a drizzle of olive and a sprinkle of salt.

Tomato Zucchini Tart

Tomato Zucchini Tart

Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart's savory tart makes the most of summer tomatoes and squash. Since the veggies are baked into a pie crust, this dish can be served for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner.

Katherine Heigl's Brie Tomato Pasta

For a simple summer pasta dinner, actress Katherine Heigl tosses warm spaghetti with creamy brie cheese and juicy fresh chopped tomatoes. Chopped garlic and fresh basil pep up the decadent dish.

Giada's Checca Sauce

Giada's Checca Sauce

Giada De Laurentiis

"This sauce is easy to make, super fresh and light, and can be used in a number of different ways," Giada De Laurentiis told TODAY Food. "I like to serve it tossed with spaghettini or angel hair pasta."

Easy Tomato Sauce

Easy Tomato Sauce

Baldor Foods

Use up leftover vegetable scraps to make this super easy tomato sauce. It can also be made with whole vegetables, of course. Try it on pizza, pasta and more!

Sunday Tomato Eggs

Marcus Samuelsson

Serve up a flavorful, impressive and easy egg breakfast in no time with this shakshuka-inspired recipe from chef Marcus Samuelson. Just crack eggs into a spicy tomato sauce and serve it with your favorite type of toast to soak up all the sauce.

Chris Bianco's Pizza Margherita

It's impossible to talk about tomatoes without mentioning pizza. The iconic Italian food is universally loved and, arguably, one of the best uses for tomato sauce. Here, fresh, seasonal ingredients make this homemade version a true standout.

When tomatoes are ripe and in season, nothing could be simpler (or better!) than a fresh salsa. Dollop it onto tacos, serve it with grilled meat and fish or just scoop it up with chips.

This refreshing tomato salad is all about the freshest, ripest ingredients. Juicy tomatoes, cool watermelon and fresh herbs make this summery salad truly sing.

Pasta with Salsa Cruda

Cookbook author Grace Parisi brings together ripe juicy tomatoes, fresh basil, pecorino and lots of fruity olive oil to make a quintessential summer uncooked pasta sauce. The only heat comes from the hot pasta, which soaks up all the delicious juices.

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