In my garden, the tomatoes are still producing strong! I planted heritage varieties of Chadwick Cherry tomatoes, a sweet, plump, slightly larger cherry tomato size than the norm, as well as Black Seaman tomatoes, a large, bigger-than-your-hand, dark red-purple tomato. I found these tomatoes had trouble ripening evenly, with lots of cracking with our summer drought, and a few rotted on the vine before I could get to them. Even though I didn’t prune or stake them sufficiently, they were/are both highly prolific and the ones I did gobble down were meaty and delicious!
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Now I’ve seen many recipes marrying tomatoes and strawberries in various ways but I haven’t tried any, until now. This Tomato, Strawberry and Basil Sorbet comes from a cookbook called The Best Homemade Vegan Cheese & Ice Cream Recipes by Marie Laforêt, and it has galvanized me to make use of my garden tomatoes in a new and special way. I love trying new flavour combinations and of course it doesn’t hurt that it’s still pretty hot around here (with temperatures in the low and mid-30s for a good part of the summer).
This flavoursome two-fruit sorbet (tomatoes are, of course, also a fruit!) offers floral notes from the fruit, basil and vanilla. Tomatoes and basil are a classic match and I can see why tomatoes + strawberries are fast becoming a favourite themselves.
I recommend using organic and preferably local strawberries and tomatoes in this recipe for best freshness and flavour and because both appear on the Environmental Working Group’s 2016 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. Strawberries rank #1, while tomatoes rank #9 and cherry tomatoes rank #11. It is always worth seeking out organic versions as much as possible when it comes to these two crops.
This recipe includes a short list of ingredients and as a sorbet, it is also dairy-free. If you avoid cane sugar, you can also easily substitute for another sweetener of your choice. I tested this with maple syrup (in an amount slightly less than the recipe called for), but coconut sugar (for vegans) or honey (for non-vegans) are a few other options you might enjoy. A few notes: I would use less sweetener if you are using cherry tomatoes and if you want a very smooth sorbet, I recommend pureeing everything after step 1.
One thing to note is that this Tomato, Strawberry and Basil Sorbet recipe calls for peeled tomatoes. The best way to do this is to cut an “X” shape through the end of the fruit, using long strokes but not cutting too deeply into the flesh of the fruit. You’ll then blanch them quickly in boiling water, for a minute or so (depending on size – cherry tomatoes will require less time). Then remove to an ice bath. When cool, peel and use!
Here’s the recipe for you to enjoy:
Tomato, Strawberry and Basil Sorbet (from The Best Homemade Vegan Cheese & Ice Cream Recipes)
- Ice cream maker
- 10 oz tomatoes 280 g, peeled, seeded and chopped
- 8 oz strawberries 220 g, chopped
- 1 1/4 cups water 300 mL
- 1/2 cup light cane sugar 120 mL
- 2 tsp chopped fresh basil 10 mL
- 1/8 tsp vanilla extract 0.5 mL
In a large saucepan, combine tomatoes and strawberries. Add water and sugar and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes or until tomatoes are soft. Stir in basil. Let cool, then transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until chilled.
Churn in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions.
Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for at least 5 hours. Remove sorbet from freezer 15 minutes before serving, so that it is soft enough to scoop into balls.
Variations: Not a fan of basil? Replace it with fresh mint, which goes beautifully with tomatoes and strawberries. Hankering for an extra-thirst-quenching sorbet? Replace the tomato with the same weight of watermelon (but do not cook the watermelon in the saucepan).
Courtesy of The Best Homemade Vegan Cheese & Ice Cream Recipes by Marie Laforêt © 2016 www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold.
The Best Homemade Vegan Cheese & Ice Cream Recipes cookbook includes a wide array of 25 vegan cheese recipes, including fermented and specialty cheeses, and an equally enjoyable assortment of 25 recipes for ice creams, sorbets, ice pops, and truly unique frozen desserts. Included in those is also a homemade cone recipe.
And for my friends who don’t buy cookbooks that don’t include pictures, guess what? Every single recipe has a gorgeous full-page picture!
The ice cream bases include almond milk, coconut milk, rice cream, soy milk, soy yogurt and soy cream for the most part, although I suspect you could substitute for various allergies if needed. You would have to experiment though.
So go on, make use of your garden and local tomatoes before they’re gone… until next year!
Life is a plate… Eat up,
Environmental Working Group’s 2016 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce