The Last Plate of Summer

Say your final farewell to summer with this delicious plate of roasted cherry tomatoes, quinoa, greens and pesto.

Photos by Leah Lizarondo


“Clearly, the sun loosened morals and melted minds. Then the Germans got naked and changed everything.”

No, not a nudist biergarten. Close. An article in The Atlantic about the healing power of the beach. Doctors used to prescribe “sun, sand and surf” to cure ills. And rightly so. Who doesn’t feel better after a trip to the beach? There is something about the salty air, the hot sun and cool water. And there is something about seeing the great ocean* and its majestic waves that automatically gives me a readjustment of context. No doubt about it, the beach is healing.

Doctors should prescribe it again. Now that they are prescribing fruits and vegetables, why not a script for the sea? Imagine that. Instead of knee-jerk antibiotic and antidepressant prescriptions, we get beach and broccoli. Instead of pharmacies, we’d go to farmers markets and travel agents.

Doctor: “One week at the beach. Do you have your insurance card with you? Hmm, your plan only covers generic, so I can only give you a week in Myrtle Beach, not Maui. But you only have $400 in your deductible and when you reach that, your insurance will pay for 80 percent of brand prescriptions.”

Patient: “My CSA of fruits and vegetables will cover that deductible!”

Doctor: “Well, then, you can go to Maui next week if you like.”


See how much better that exchange sounded? Resorts and farmers should get with the program and hire pharmaceutical sales reps. I bet efficacy rates of these “drugs” will be off the charts.

What does all this have to do with this recipe? Nothing much — except the near-frosts we’ve had the past week are driving home the fact that the very last days of summer (and beach season) are here. There are only three more weeks in my CSAs. My drugs of choice are going to be harder to get, and I have to bid them hasta mañana. I know I have access to vegetables yearround — and I can always fly to the southern hemisphere to get to a beach anytime, but I still miss having my food come from places close to home and the beach being a weekend-drive away.

I’m thankful the tomatoes are saying a slow goodbye. This dish was born out of an oversupply of cherry tomatoes; between my plant and my two CSAs, I am having my fill of these little pops of summer love.

This treat was inspired by one of my favorite cookbook authors, Heidi Swanson. Her recipes are genius.

You are going to use a lot of cherry tomatoes, and slicing them can be a pain, so here’s an amazing veghack I learned online and captured on Instagram.

Tomatoes and pesto — two gifts of summer. In one dish that celebrates the season. Hasta mañana, summer!

NOT lake! Please don’t tell me it’s a “beach.”



  Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Toasted Quinoa, Pesto and Pumpkin Seeds

Yield: Serves 4-6


  • 1 quart cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • Olive oil for drizzling
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Brown sugar


  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T olive oil
  • ¼ cup pesto
  • 4 cups chopped greens such as spinach, kale or swiss chard
  • ⅓ cup pumpkin seeds


1.     Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.     Slice cherry tomatoes in half and place in one layer, cut side up, on a lightly greased cookie sheet.
3.     Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper and brown sugar.
4.     Roast for about 40-45 minutes, set aside.
5.     In a pan, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until onion is tender.
6.     Add quinoa and heat through. You can toast by spreading quinoa in a thin layer and allowing it to brown slightly, stirring to prevent sticking and burning.
7.     Add greens, and stir to heat through and wilt.
8.     Remove from heat and toss with pesto.
9.     Spread in a serving plate, top with cherry tomatoes and pumpkin seeds.
10.   Serve.

Categories: Brazen Kitchen