Home » Tomato Love ~ Festive Dip

Tomato Love ~ Festive Dip

I usually make this dip around the Holidays with canned tomatoes, but I decided to shake it up reinvent the recipe so I could use fresh, off the vine tomatoes from my local farmers market.  I’m pretty sure the fresh tomato version blew the canned quicker version out of the water.  It is well worth the little bit of extra time, and a few extra dirty dishes!


I wanted to freshen up my Festive Dip so I could share in the #TOMATOLOVE  at Tomato Love Recipe Exchange, hosted by Gimme Some Oven & Bake Your Day, sponsored this week by Cuisinart.  You can also visit Recipe for Change to learn more about how to support tomato farmers.



I love tomatoes!  Especially in the Summer when they are ripe off the vine either from my own garden or purchased at the local farmers market.  However quite often when we buy tomatoes from our local grocery store they have traveled hundreds of miles and across many state lines and even from over the border to make it to our table.

Until recently I was completely oblivious the fact that the Florida (where 90% of our country’s off season tomatoes are grown) tomato industry has been considered “ground zero” for slavery with in the United States. Slavery today, yes it’s true, people are being enslaved to produce tomatoes that we can buy year round everyday in our local grocery stores!  Thanks to Cassie from Bake your Day and Ali of Gimme Some Oven I was made AWARE!  I am joining Cassie and Ali as well as other bloggers in the Recipe for a Change Campaign organized by IMJ.  If you have a blog and want to get involved in Recipe for a Change go here to find out how. 

Fair Food Program has been developed which establishes a zero tolerance policy for slavery, child labor and harassment in Florida tomato farms. Industry leaders, supermarket chains (so far, Whole Foods and Trader Joes), and fast food companies (McDonald’s, Subway, Taco Bell and more!) have signed on to the Fair Food Program to help ensure that the tomatoes that we love are harvested by farm workers in an environment of safety and basic dignity.

Life is busy, and sometimes I’m super overwhelmed with just the day to day tasks of keeping my household up and running, I just want to run into the grocery store and purchase what I need.  I never, or rarely take the time to think about where my fresh produce has been before it hits my table. Then to think that people are being treated like slaves so I can slice a big juicy mater on my BLT makes me want to loose my mind!  Seriously.  What is going on in this world?!  It’s easy in Michigan in the Summer months to find fresh local tomatoes….although you should ask, even at your local farmers markets if the produce you are buying is truly local, you might be surprised at the farmers answer.  I was.  Recently I asked, ” where are these tomatoes from”  meaning what town nearby, and the lady at the stand I was at said Tennessee.  I was shocked.  Why Tennessee?  Their season is longer, Michigan tomatoes are just beginning to be plentiful.  I thanked her for her honesty, bought her local blueberries,  and moved on until I found someone with local tomatoes.  My point is we need to also ask our local grocery stores  the same questions, where is the produce coming from, can you assure me that the people who are harvesting my food are being treated fairly.  I don’t care I’ll pay 2 cents more for that peace of mind!  I shop at Meijers, I sent them a quick message through Facebook, it took 5 minutes.  I’ll let you know if I hear back from them. I encourage you to ask your grocery store the same questions!



Festive Dip
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Garlic Clove, minced
2 cups Tomato, diced
1/2 teaspoon Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Basil, dried
4 ounces Feta Cheese or Goat Cheese
Pita Chips for dipping

In a skillet heat olive oil add minced garlic and heat through, do not let garlic turn brown. Add tomatoes, sugar, salt, and basil cook an medium to high heat for 10 minutes until liquids start to evaporate and thicken. Remove from heat if there still seems to be alot of liquid, pour tomatoes into a strainer and let liquids drain off. Empty into serving dish, immediately crumble cheese over top and serve with pita chips or crackers.

Note: This recipe can also be served at room temperature. Or if it’s winter and you are unable to find fresh local tomatoes you can use a 14 ounce can of diced olive oil and basil tomatoes.




If you want the super duper easy version of this recipe go here, below is the easy fresh version…it’s still pretty super duper easy if you ask me!

 Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a pan.


 Add 1 clove garlic minced to the oil, let the garlic cook for a minute, but don’t let it get brown.



Add 2 cups of diced tomatoes, sugar, salt, and basil.  Feel free to add more or less basil to your taste.  Cook this over medium-high heat for 10 minutes.  Just long enough for flavors to meld and excess liquid to evaporate.




 If it still seems like there is too much liquid, put tomatoes in a strainer over sink and let the excess run out.




 Then pour tomatoes into your serving dish crumble feta or goat cheese over top, and serve with pita chips or crackers.




 Voila!  So fresh and delicious!  This can also be served room temp, or cold.

I have a few more #tomatolove recipes up my sleeve that I can’t wait to share with you!

Thanks for stopping in!

Love, Sheila


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  1. Sheila,
    This sounds excellent – especially with fresh tomatoes! Thanks for bringing to our attention the conditions facing laborers. It truly is unacceptable. Happy summer, friend!

    1. Sara, Glad you made it home. Wish we lived closer so we could have coffee and I could hear all about your trip! Miss you, Sheila

  2. Yay for Farmer’s Market tomatoes!! This dip sounds amazing. Thanks for participating, Sheila, and for helping to raise awareness!!

  3. I heard a news story on NPR not too long ago talking about the horrible working conditions for laborers who grow and harvest tomatoes, and you’re right, it is deplorable. It also discussed how tomatoes are shipped green and then given chemicals to ripen and make them pretty and red for the grocery store. That ended my willingness to buy tomatoes out of season. Canned tomatoes are actually quite good when homegrown isn’t available. Thanks for the great recipe. Going to try it this week!

    1. Valerie, Oh my goodness I’ve heard that too, but kind of forgot about it. Ugh, chemically sprayed tomatoes! My mom used to can every jar of tomatoes we ate for the whole year. I need to get a fire under my butt and start canning! Thanks for stopping in today. Sheila