The girls and I were watching Food Network and they actually asked me to try this recipe by Ina Garten. It looked easy so I thought we’d give it a go!

Love that there are just a few ingredients in this dish. I have been making my own pesto for years so I eyeball the measurements, but I’ll include Ina’s recipe below. I made the pesto with spinach and almonds instead of the traditional basil and pine nuts this time, because that’s what I had on hand.

Then I sliced the tomatoes and laid them out on a baking sheet for the girls to “decorate”, as they put it! Olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano:

Then pesto and parmesan:

Yay we did it!

Roast the tomatoes in the oven until the cheese melts for 7-10 minutes and you’re done. We had this as a side dish with non-tomato-y pasta, and would also be yummy alongside a roast chicken. These tomatoes were so quick to make and look so pretty too, that we will probably make them for the next gathering we host.

A pre-dinner tasting.


  • Ina Garten’s recipe said to first add the olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper to the tomatoes first, roast for a while, then take out of the oven and add the pesto and parmesan. I thought the baking sheet and the tomatoes would be too hot for the girls, so I just had them add all the ingredients at once so we didn’t have to deal with potential burns. We ended up with tomatoes that are slightly undercooked on the inside (but still yummy). Roasting longer of course will produce much sweeter and softer tomatoes.
  • Feel free to adjust the pesto recipe below for kid palettes. My girls still don’t like spicy too much, so I used much less garlic and pepper.

Roasted Tomatoes with Pesto and Parmesan


  • 2 to 2 1/2 pounds large red tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup pesto, store-bought or homemade (recipe follows)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Core the tomatoes and then slice them across (not through the stem) in 1/2 inch-thick slices. Arrange the slices in a single layer on a sheet pan. Drizzle the tomatoes with the olive oil and sprinkle with the oregano, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and the pepper.

Bake the tomatoes for 10 minutes (Please see my note above on kid safety). Remove them from the oven, spread each slice with pesto, and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Return the tomatoes to the oven and continue baking for 7 to 10 minutes, until the Parmesan is melted and begins to brown. Using a flat metal spatula put the tomatoes on a serving platter, sprinkle with extra salt, and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.


  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons diced garlic (9 cloves)
  • 5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 11/2 cups good olive oil
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Place the walnuts, pine nuts and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process for 30 seconds. Add the basil, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is pureed. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Use immediately or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top. Makes 4 cups.

Let me know if you try this recipe!