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It’s tomato season! Tomatoes are part of the nightshade family and while we generally eat and prepare them like a vegetable, they are technically a fruit! Tomatoes come in a wide variety of colors, shapes and sizes, although we often associate tomatoes with the more traditional red color.

Tomatoes are full of lycopene—an antioxidant that is linked to a decreased risk of both heart disease and cancer. Tomatoes are also an excellent source of vitamin C (an essential nutrient and antioxidant), folate (a B vitamin), potassium (an essential mineral) and vitamin K (important for blood clotting and bone health). Tomatoes are so juicy because they are 95% water, and 5% carbohydrate and fiber.

Tomatoes are also delicious and extremely versatile to cook with. Often they don’t need a lot of preparation to create a simple and exquisite dish. Tomatoes can be found in cuisines and cultures all around the globe. What is your favorite way to enjoy tomatoes?

Tomato Panzanella with Fresh Herbs & Parmesan Recipe

Serves 4


  • 2 pounds                   ripe heirloom tomatoes, peeled, seeded & cut into wedges

  • ¼ cup                          red onion, finely chopped

  • 2 teaspoons              garlic, minced

  • ½ cup                          extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons          lemon juice

  • 2 tablespoons          chopped basil leaves

  • 1 tablespoon             chopped marjoram leaves

  • To taste                       kosher salt

  • To taste                       freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 cups                         baby arugula

  • 6 cups                         day old bread, crusts removed and cut into cubes

  • ¼ cup                          unsalted butter

  • 1 tablespoon             minced garlic

  • To taste                       kosher salt

  • To taste                       freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 wedge                      Parmesan cheese


  • Cutting board

  • Chefs knife

  • Large bowl

  • Strainer

  • Large sauté pan

  • Baking sheet

  • Vegetable peeler


  • Preheat the oven to 350˚.

  • Drain the tomatoes in a sieve to remove the excess liquid while you prep the rest of the ingredients.

  • To make the croutons, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  When it becomes foamy, add the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds, until the garlic becomes fragrant.  Cut the heat.

  • Add the bread cubes and toss to coat.  Season with salt and black pepper and spread out onto a baking sheet.

  • Bake for about 8-10 minutes, tossing once or twice during the bake time, until the croutons are lightly colored on the outside but soft on the inside. Cool completely.

  • Combine the tomatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, basil, marjoram, and salt and pepper to taste.

  • Add the croutons and toss well.

  • To serve, divide the mixture between four plates. Top each plate with an equal amount of arugula. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the Parmesan over the top of the salad, and serve immediately.