Awhile back, way back when, I made Slow Roasted Tomatoes, a technique I stole from Bon Appetit. They are more fabulous than words can say, but when I say slow-roasted, I mean six to eight hours in the oven slow. Something I don’t mind when it’s maybe minus 20 degrees outside (yanno I’m from Minnesoda, you betcha) but that can wear thin in our warmer weather. Then I had an aha moment. What if I made Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes? I figured I’d have all the flavor and a lot less time invested. Win. Win.
I gotta tell ya right off the bat, there’s still a good amount of time involved (about 2 hours for smaller types, maybe a little longer for larger ones) but most of it is just sitting in the oven time. And that’s really not so bad any time of the year because the oven isn’t on a high heat. I wouldn’t even hesitate to make these in the dead of August.
About Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes:
I want to mention when I say Slow Roasted, I do mean these are roasted, not sun-dried tomatoes. While they diminish in size as they cook and share some of that same, intense, concentrated flavor of sun-dried tomatoes they are a whole different animal. If you haven’t tried making these, or haven’t tasted these, I don’t even know if I have the words to describe how sweet, how luscious, and how happy, happy, happy these little flavor bombs are going to make you.
And unlike sun-dried tomatoes, you have a better opportunity to up your game with flavor. I always add just a sprinkle of vinegar (you will not believe how that makes the flavors pop) and a drizzle of olive oil, along with a few herbs and/or spices and what comes out of the oven…well you’d never believe a tomato could taste so good and true confession. I usually like tomatoes, I don’t love them, but I can’t stop nibbling on these!
I’m going to mention if you’re looking for a different option, you can check out my recipe for Oven Sun-Dried Tomatoes or for Oven Roasted Cherry Tomatoes. Unlike this recipe, those tomatoes are roasted for a short time under high heat. It’s amazing how different methods, even using similar ingredients, produce such different flavors! And pictured below, too, are my Slow Roasted Tomatoes (the full-sized ones) & Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette.
What Tomatoes Can I Use:
As with so many recipes, quality in quality out: these slow-roasted tomatoes are insane with any homegrown or farmer’s market cherry type tomatoes, any color, any size. But that being said, this recipe will transform even the most lackluster, out of season, common old cherry or grape tomato. Just feel free to use any small, cherry-type tomato and know that smaller ones will be done sooner and larger ones will take just a bit more time.
The method is a great save for any just past their prime, getting shriveled and have to be used right away cherry tomatoes. If they’re a little shriveled, I just figure they have a little headstart…and they’re going to shrivel more in the oven anyway! That’s a no-waste proposition, and I don’t know about you, but I can’t say how many times I’ve sorted through a carton of tomatoes, discarding some of them. No more!
Using the Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes:
For the most part, unless you need them “dry” for some reason, you can use these tomatoes just like you would sun-dried tomatoes (and they’re going to up your flavor game). First and foremost, you can just eat these! Snack on them like candy! But be aware that even when you’re making full sheet tray, these shrink, so if you need them for a recipe don’t go overboard! Speaking from experience, here!
You can use your tomatoes in dips, as appetizers on crostini, maybe fancied up, in a pasta sauce, in pasta salads like this Tortellini Antipasto Salad, in salads, sprinkled on pizza, in a sandwich or wrap. I even have a Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette on my site and these tomatoes would be a great option to use as a base. The list is almost endless! I love them in my Taphouse Salad, below. That salad is bit of work (and a good part of that is making these tomatoes) but the results are fabulous!
Flavoring Your Tomatoes:
The vinegar, in my opinion, is transformative, and just use a little, not so much for flavor but as an enhancement. Any vinegar will do but I particularly like red or white wine vinegar for these. There’s just a little vinegar so you will slightly taste it but probably not enough readily identify. Salt is key; it’s going to enhance the flavors too and help draw out some of the moisture. I like to use table salt but you can go fancier.
From there you can pick and choose. Just a little garlic and salt or garlic salt is delish. Very finely minced garlic with a little salt is fabulous. Minced garlic is “sticky” and hard to distribute; I mix the garlic in with the olive oil and spoon it over the tomatoes, so that’s a little fussier than just sprinkling some herbs and spices on. Garlic does have to be finely minced and you’ll want to be aware that if it isn’t it will def have a forward, raw garlic taste in the tomatoes, which isn’t always a bad thing.
If you’d like to go further down the road with flavor, think about any Italian or Greek herbs or blends, or any single herb. You could use tarragon, basil, oregano, marjoram, for instance. I haven’t tried these with flavors outside of those profiles but if you’re thinking of something different, why not think about something along the lines of Za’atar? Or maybe just use any other kind of seasoning you’d like.
Keep in mind that any seasoning will intensify and taste stronger as the tomatoes shrivel in the oven, so use a light hand.
Making Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes:
This recipe is drop-dead simple. Line a sheet pan with foil for easy cleanup. Cut the tomatoes in half, lay them cut side up on the pan. Sprinkle with a little vinegar, just a touch, a little olive oil and a few herbs or spices of choice. Roast slowly in the oven. You gotta know that all ovens roast differently and sometimes you might find the timing can be quite a bit different for you oven. Check them early and keep an eye on them. You may even need to rotate your pan or shuffle the tomatoes near the edge to the center of the tray if they’re cooking unevenly. After the first time making these you should have it down, so note the time for your oven…because you’re gonna want to make these again!
If anything can be a pain, it’s cutting a lot of small roundish items, whether it’s tomatoes or olives or baby potatoes. I always dump them into a lid, usually a yogurt, cottage cheese or sour cream lid, placed upside down on the counter; Use add another lid on top and use a long, sharp knife to cut horizontally through the center as you hold it together with your other hand. When I couldn’t keep track of the lids, I eventually just punched a hole in two and tied them together with a string and I keep it hung inside my cupboard! Sometimes I cut through the string and they get old, but it’s easy to replace and saves me hunting for appropriate lids to use.
When you cut this volume of tomatoes, it’s nice to have a little shortcut. When I take off that top lid, I dump the top layer of tomatoes on the sheet tray and turn them right side up; all the ones on the bottom lid are facing up, so I just replace that top lid, turn the whole works over so they are now upside down and quickly slap those tomatoes down on the sheet tray. Then they’re right-side up. That means I don’t have to fuss and turn 1/2 of those suckas over.
Do note that unlike sun-dried tomatoes, these tomatoes need to be refrigerated!
Saving Money on Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes:
There’s no doubt that cherry or grape tomatoes can be a little pricier than standard tomatoes. Watch for specials and know while this recipe will work on any of the varieties, it will transform even the cheapest old, everyday cherry tomatoes. It’s also a great no-effort way to use any cherry tomatoes that are getting a little shriveled and need to be used asap! It’s not only a great save but it isn’t going to matter at all if your tomatoes have started to go a bit past their prime – in the end, they’re all shriveled!
If you can grow your own, and many cherry tomatoes grow beautifully in pots, that’s usually a great way to go. For the most part, but do your research, cherry tomatoes have a high yield and produce tomatoes voraciously!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post; I urge you when you have a little time around the house to make this, stat! 🙂 And make extra so you have enough to snack on and to make something with them! We’re facing some trying times this weekend. Covid is spreading rampantly and riots are popping up all over the States. I don’t know that I’ve ever felt so helpless…but I’m not hopeless! I have to believe there’s more good in the world than bad, and I’m reminded of a quote Liz from Spades, Spatulas & Spoons left for me a few weeks ago. Stay safe, everyone!
“Times of scarcity need to be met with generosity, times of fear with comfort, times of uncertainty with presence. When we care for those around us, we create a field of love.” Thomas Hubl.
Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
- Total Time: 2 to 2 1/2 hours, approximate
- Yield: 2/3 cup 1x
- Category: Condiments
- Cuisine: Italian
- 1 pound cherry type tomatoes, cut in half
- about 1 tablespoon vinegar; red or white wine vinegar is nice, any will work
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of herbs of choice, see post
Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. Line a sheet tray with foil or parchment.
Arrange tomatoes, cut side up, on sheet tray. Sprinkle with vinegar. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, add herbs or herb blend if using.
Place the tomatoes in the center rack of oven and roast for about two hours for smaller tomatoes a little longer for larger ones, checking and rotating if needed. Watch closely towards the end. You may need to shuffle some of the tomatoes from the outside edges of the pan to the center if roasting unevenly.
Sore in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Keywords: Appetizer, Cherry Tomatoes, Condiments, Italian, Tomatoes, Vinegar
I’ll be sharing at Fiesta Friday #330 this week where I’m seeing bloggers from all over the world post their best recipes of the week. Stop by if you have a moment.