What do tomatoes pair with? Of course, basil. A friendship made in marinara, their bond is the stuff of legends. But beyond the herb, here are some other ideas:

A quick lunch: Tiny Sweet 100 tomatoes with canned chickpeas, a sprinkle of dried thyme, black pepper, a splash of balsamic vinegar, and tuna. (I like Tonno Genova, available at my local Trader Joe's for $1.99 a can.)

A creamy partner: Any soft farmer's cheese is a delectable foil for  a ripe, fruity tomato, but I particularly like chèvre's goaty, chalky richness.

A surprising salad: Roasted golden beets, cut into cubes, plus thinly sliced red onions and big luscious chunks of Brandywine tomatoes. Dressed lightly with red wine vinegar and olive oil. Beets and tomatoes: sounds so weird, tastes so good.

A sassy side: Microwave green beans in a bit of water until they're cooked, then chop into bite-sized lengths. Toss with chunks of tomato and lots of chopped mint and oregano for a fragrant Mediterranean-inspired side dish.

by Elizabeth Jardina, Sunset researcher

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