What’s For Lunch? Roasted tomatoes with garlic and mozzarella

roasted tomatoes, recipe, garlic, olive oil, mozzerella

Is there anything better than a fresh, sweet, riper-than-ripe tomato?

I say this as somebody who thought I didn’t like tomatoes for the first 25 years of my life. I thought that because, up until then, I’d only ever had bland, mealy and out-of-season tomatoes.

The first time I had a fresh, ripe tomato on a BLT, it was a revelation. The first time I had a roasted tomato, I nearly cried with joy.

A few years back my friend Missy introduced me to a simple, and ridiculously easy, appetizer: sweet grape tomatoes, roasted with garlic, tossed with goat cheese and piled, bursting and juicy, on crusty bread. It’s been a go-to party dish for me ever since and never fails to please.

The other day, I picked up a bag of grape tomatoes at a farm stand, and was trying to think of a yummy way to make them for lunch. Missy’s party app popped into mind, but I didn’t have any goat cheese on hand – or crusty bread.

But then it occurred to me – why not sub in mozzarella and skip the bread? Kind of like a warm Caprese salad – perfect for a summer lunch, especially if you’re trying to eat low-carb or are simply fighting a bread addiction. (Guilty.)

So I did, and the tomatoes turned out delicious and totally satisfying.

It’s super simple, took about seven minutes to prepare, and you probably have the ingredients on-hand.

roasted tomato recipe

You’ll need:

  • Grape or cherry tomatoes. I used about a pint, make as many as you want to eat! You could probably substitute Roma or another sweet, smaller tomato variety in a pinch.
  • Olive oil. I happened to have some basil-lemongrass infused oil I got at a local specialty shop – it was perfect because basil and tomatoes go together!
  • A few cloves of garlic, to taste, peeled and cut in half or crushed.
  • Mozzarella cheese, however much you want to use. I used about a third cup.
  • A sprinkling of salt.

How to make it:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place tomatoes and garlic on a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and shake to coat. (For a pint of tomatoes, I used about two tablespoons of oil.)
  3. Sprinkle lightly with salt. You don’t need a lot, and if you want to skip this part it’ll still taste great.
  4. Put the cookie sheet in the oven and roast until the tomatoes start to split.
  5. Remove tomatoes from oven and turn off heat. With a spoon or spatula, scoop tomatoes into an oven-proof bowl or dish. Sprinkle mozzarella on top of tomatoes, then pop back into the oven for thirty seconds or so – just long enough to melt. 
  6. Get a fork and eat!

This is a really basic dish, delicious on its own or the base for dozens of new ideas. I could see serving the roasted tomatoes over spinach (while still warm, so the spinach wilts), tossing with bacon, or scooping it up with baguettes…but truly, it made for a hearty lunch by itself and was a nice alternative to a cold salad.

Try it and let me know what you think!

Want more lunch ideas? See all “What’s for lunch?” posts here!

About The Author


  1. Henna // HENNA BLOSSOM blog
  2. Susan