March 6, 2024

Local tomatoes make this grilled crostini my summertime go-to recipe.

Warmer weather means tomato season is coming, and that means tomatoes will be plentiful at farmers markets, road-side stands and if you are lucky, in your own garden. This crostini recipe is one to save for all season long, and it’s the latest recipe that we’ve taken into the kitchen for our Cooking With Coach series, a collaboration between Vanderbilt Health and Vanderbilt University Athletics.

In this new Cooking With Coach video, we catch up with Vanderbilt Women’s Basketball Coach Shea Ralph to learn more about her (basketball runs in her family!) and what drives her in her work with the players on her team. 

This recipe that she helps prep in our Cooking With Coach series puts the focus on tomatoes, it is easy to make, and it looks beautiful on a party platter.

Not only are local summer tomatoes delicious beyond compare, they are also a nutrition-packed powerhouse. Tomatoes contain a healthy dose of lycopene, an antioxidant that may help reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol and may also reduce the risk of many cancers. Tomato juice, paste and sauce also have high amounts of lycopene. This recipe is also high in potassium, as well as vitamins A and C.

Put those fresh tomatoes to work this summer, add a green salad and you have a meal fit for a champion!

Summertime Grilled Tomato Crostini


4 1/2-inch-thick slices of ciabatta bread (or any dense crusty bread)
1 garlic clove, halved
grilled tomatoes (see recipe below)
2 tablespoon olive oil, for drizzling
fresh pepper
20 basil leaves


  1. Light the grill (or heat a pan if you don’t have a grill).
  2. Grill the bread until it is toasted, for about 1 minute on each side.
  3. Transfer it to a platter and rub with the garlic halves.
  4. Spoon the tomatoes and a bit of juice over the grilled bread and drizzle with olive oil.
  5. Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper and basil and serve.

Grilled Tomatoes


4 tomatoes (about 1 pound), quartered
1 pint red cherry tomatoes, halved if large
1 pint yellow cherry tomatoes, halved if large
1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
freshly ground pepper


  1. Light the grill. Arrange four 12-by-24-inch sheets of heavy-duty foil on a work surface. Mound the tomatoes in the center of each sheet, drizzle with the olive oil and season with pepper. Fold up the foil to create tight packets.
  2. Set the packets on the grill and cover. Grill over moderately high heat for about 15 minutes, until the tomatoes begin to soften and burst. Using scissors, carefully cut open the foil packets and serve as described above.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving for Summertime Grilled Tomato Crostini:
Serving Size: 2 pieces. Calories 268. Total Fat 14 grams. Saturated Fat 2.1 grams. Sodium 153 milligrams. Potassium 1475 milligrams. Carbohydrates 33 grams. Protein 7.0 grams.

Looking for another use for your garden’s bounty? Try this Cucumber and Tomato Salad Recipe.

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