Tasty Tomatoes

Alabama Living Magazine

Food styling and photos: Brooke Echols

Cook of the Month:
Kathy Ledford Gledhill, Sand Mountain EC

Kathy Gledhill likes to describe her “Tomato Jam” as “a scaled-down version of tomato relish.” She was trying to think of a way to make the relish without cooking a large quantity, and she came up with this month’s winning recipe.  With July being a peak month for eating in-season fresh tomatoes, her jam is a different way to use the favorite summertime food. “I like to use fresh tomatoes and I prefer Roma tomatoes, but it doesn’t matter,” she says. The Roma variety have less seeds and their firm consistency just make them easier to chop. Kathy also uses brown sugar in this recipe, when normally she uses white sugar when she makes a relish. “I just try different things,” she adds. The tomato jam pairs well with any other vegetable and goes very nicely with cornbread, says Kathy.  While she doesn’t can her jam, it could be canned to last longer. “I just like to think of it as a way to preserve tomatoes.”  

Tomato Jam

  • 2 to 3 pounds tomatoes, seeded, cored and chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Put all ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer until thickened. Let cool. Put in jars and store in the refrigerator. Will keep for about 10 days.

Patriotic Tomato Tart

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut in pieces
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 8 ounces blue or purple potatoes
  • 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt. Add butter and mix it all into crumbs. Stir in the sour cream until you have a ball of dough. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours. Steam the potatoes, then thinly slice. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Roll the dough into a big circle and lay it on a baking sheet. Place potatoes, cheese, and tomatoes on the dough (bonus points if you make a flag design!). Fold edges of the dough in about an inch. Bake 25 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Cool 10 minutes, then slice. If you can’t find blue/purple potatoes, use small red potatoes. Serve the tart on a big blue platter for a patriotic look.

Robin O’Sullivan, Wiregrass EC


  • 1 quart tomatoes
  • ½ tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 15 diced jalapenos, from a jar
  • 1 package cilantro

Blend all ingredients together until smooth.

LaWanda Noonan, Joe Wheeler EMC

Easy Tomato Pie

  • 1 9-inch pie crust, prepared according to package directions
  • 3 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small bag cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 small bag mozzarella cheese, 
  • shredded
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise

Thinly slice tomatoes. Place on paper towels in a single layer. Sprinkle with sea salt. Allow to sit 10 minutes to draw out moisture. Blot tomatoes with dry paper towel. Arrange tomatoes in cooked and cooled pie crust. Mix mayonnaise with half the cheeses, minced garlic and chopped basil. Spread mixture over tomatoes. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbly, approximately 35 minutes. Let pie cool and enjoy!

Robbie Vantrease, Cullman EC

Joy’s Chili Mix

  • 5 pounds of tomatoes, peeled and cored
  • 3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 3 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper

Combine all the chopped vegetables, garlic, and apple cider vinegar in a pot and cook for 15 minutes, or the consistency that you prefer. Add to the dry seasonings and cook another 5-10 minutes. Pour your mix into warm Mason jars and leave ½-inch space at the top of the jar. Wipe the rims carefully. Place your lids and rings on the jars and place in a rolling water bath for 15 minutes. Check USDA recommended time according to your altitude. Place on counter and listen for the glorious sound of popping! 

Cook’s note: Add canned beans, a pound of meat and two tablespoons of chili powder, plus a jar or two of mix to make a meal.

Joy Griswold, Dixie EC

Real Simple Pico de Gallo

  • 2 large fresh and vine-ripened 
  • tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped finely
  • 1 large green pepper, pitted and chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, pitted and chopped (optional)
  • 1 fresh lime
  • Salt, a pinch
  • Fresh cracked pepper, to taste
  • Tortilla chips

Mix all ingredients together without mashing or squishing, toss lightly, and make sure all the veggies have lime juice on them to keep the color. 

Cook’s note: You can add salad shrimp to this recipe for ceviche or add roasted corn for a nice contrast!

Carla P. Norman, Covington EC

Roasted Tomato Soup

  • 6 Roma or vine-on tomatoes, cut in half, stem end trimmed
  • 1 or 1.5 pound container cherry or grape tomatoes, left whole
  • 1 large yellow or white onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 4 ribs celery (with leaves), diced into 1-inch pieces
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chicken soup base, see cook’s note
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream or 8 ounces 
  • evaporated milk
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Optional toppings: freshly shaved Parmesan cheese and croutons 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place prepared vegetables in 9×13-inch glass pan and add olive oil. Stir until vegetables are coated with oil. Do not cover pan; roast for 1.5 hours until celery and onions are tender, and vegetables are a bit caramelized. Remove pan from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Scoop vegetables and drippings into a 6-quart stockpot. (Use a stainless steel pot; avoid a pot with a non-stick surface.) Add 5 cups water, soup base and bay leaves; stir well until soup base is dissolved. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer; stir well and cover the pot with a lid; cook for 20 minutes. Fish out the 2 bay leaves and remove the pot from the heat. Using an immersion blender, blend to a rustic consistency, not totally smooth. Put pot back on the burner; add butter and cream or evaporated milk; stir until milk and butter are blended in. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes. Soup is ready to serve. 

Cook’s notes: The celery and celery leaves adds a deep savory dimension. It’s important to cut the celery and onions into small pieces so they become soft in the oven and are easier for the immersion blender to chop. Five cups of chicken broth can be substituted for the soup base and water. I prefer soup base because it’s more flavorful. This soup is delicious hot or cold.

Jane Alexander, Baldwin EMC

Quick Tomato, Basil and Bacon Tart

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 4 slices unsmoked bacon, diced
  • 1 puff pastry sheet, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons pesto, plus additional for garnish
  • 3 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 4-ounce package baby mozzarella
  • Fresh basil, cut plus additional for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet. Heat oil in frying pan and fry bacon pieces until crisp. Set aside. Lay out puff pastry on a baking sheet and score a 1/3-inch border around the edge, taking care not to cut all the way through. Spread pesto on the pastry. Top with bacon, tomatoes and mozzarella. Bake for 20 minutes until pastry is puffed around the edges and is golden in color. Serve with extra pesto drizzled and fresh basil on top. Serve with a salad.

Barbara Lawson, Baldwin EMC

Fredabelle’s Salsa

  • 8 cups fresh tomatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3-4 red bell peppers, diced
  • 1½ cups onion, diced
  • 2 green bell peppers, diced
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic salt
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2 6-ounce cans tomato paste
  • 2 8-ounce cans tomato sauce

Cook tomatoes and drain some liquid before adding other ingredients. Simmer together for 1 hour and seal in jars to store. Can be kept in the refrigerator as well. 

Nancy Sizemore, Baldwin EMC

The Buttered Home

Fried Green tomatoes hold a special place in the hearts of many. However, I have found as I grow older that some of my most beloved Southern fare no longer agrees with my waistline. It was this that led me on a quest to find healthier swaps for some of my favorite things. Made with almond flour, almond milk and parmesan cheese, and by baking them in the oven gives these Oven Fried Green Tomatoes all of the texture and flavor you expect but with a lot less guilt. Find more recipes at thebutteredhome.com.

Baked “Fried” Green Tomatoes

  • 3-4 medium green tomatoes, sliced
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon pink salt
  • Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Fit a sheet pan with a small amount of cooking spray or parchment paper.

Slice tomatoes to about ¼ inch thick. Mix almond milk and egg, whipping until combined in a small bowl.  In another bowl, mix almond flour, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne and salt.

Place tomato slices in egg mixture and remove with a fork. Dredge in dry mixture and set aside  on the prepared sheet pan until all are battered. Sprinkle with  parmesan cheese and bake for about 10-15 minutes until brown.  Carefully remove from the oven and turn tomatoes over and sprinkle with more parmesan cheese. Return to the oven and bake for another 5-10 minutes until done. Cool and serve.


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