Plum Vs. Roma Tomatoes: Nutrition, Taste, And Homemade Recipes!

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Plum tomatoes are one of our favorite members of the paste tomato family. These easy-to-grow fruits have a unique oval or cylindrical shape, firm texture, thick skin, and fewer seed compartments than regular tomatoes. They are among the most delicious garden crops for homemade tomato sauces, pastes, soups, pizza toppings, and canning.

Red plum tomatoes sitting in a bowl atop a wooden table.

There’s much more to know about plum tomatoes, including how they differ from Roma tomatoes, another superb crop for homemade sauce and soups. (Yes. There is a significant distinction between Roma tomatoes and plum tomatoes. Do you know what it is?)

Let’s explore both tomato varieties in detail.

Sound good?

What Are Plum Tomatoes?

Plump red plum tomatoes growing on the vine.

Plum tomatoes is a broad term for many elongated tomato varieties of similar shape. They are always of the paste tomato family and are famous for their thick, robust flesh. Gardeners love growing them for homemade sauces, cooking, and yummy flavor. You can quickly identify plum tomatoes by their cylindrical and elongated shape.

Our favorite plum tomato varieties:

  • Yellow Pear
  • San Marzano
  • Ropreco Paste
  • Juliet
  • Amish Paste
  • Big Mama
  • Principe Borghese
  • Supremo
  • Speckled Roman

But our favorite plum tomato variety overall is the mighty Roma tomato.

Read More – How Many Tomato Seeds Per Hole + Tomato Seed Germination Tips!

What Are Roma Tomatoes?

Gardener holding massive roma tomatoes in hand.

Roma tomatoes, also of the tomato paste family, are among the most famous plum tomato varieties. They are delicious and have many nicknames, including the Italian plum tomato. No matter what you call them, these yummy tomatoes are open-pollinated with superb flavor and texture. They are easily recognizable by their oblong shape and deep red color.

Roma tomatoes are highly resistant to common plant diseases, such as fusarium wilt, which makes them a superb choice for small homestead gardeners or full-scale producers.

Roma tomatoes are especially popular in cooking due to their low seed and water content and firm texture. They are ideal for creating sauces and pastes because they produce less liquid and have a meaty texture that holds shape after cooking. Their meaty texture makes them perfect for adding flavor to dishes without diluting them. Roma tomatoes are also great for salads and sandwiches because they have a rich, sweet taste and a thicker skin that holds up well when sliced.

Vitamin Content Of Plum Tomatoes

Organic red plum tomatoes ready for chopping and baking or eating.

Many plum tomato cultivars pack loads of essential nutrients and vitamins for maintaining good health. They taste great and offer a range of health and nutritional benefits. Plum tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamins A and C. Both vitamins A and C are famous for helping maintain a healthy immune system, promoting healthy skin, and aiding tissue growth and repair. They are also rich in potassium, which many health advocates say helps maintain healthy blood pressure levels.

In addition to their nutrient content, plum tomatoes are rich in antioxidants like lycopene. These antioxidants help fight cellular damage and neutralize harmful free radicals in the body.

Taste Comparison

Yummy Italian plum tomatoes growing on the vine in the backyard garden.

When it comes to taste, plum and Roma tomatoes have distinctive flavors that set them apart. Many plum tomato cultivars are more savory but less sweet than Roma tomatoes. On the other hand, Roma tomatoes have a more pronounced sweetness profile balanced with a hardy, meaty texture. 

Both types of tomatoes are famous for their versatility in cooking, from sauces to salads. Their unique flavors make them a sought-after ingredient for many dishes.

Read More – How Many Tomato Plants Per 5-Gallon Bucket? And Tomato Spacing Tips!

Sweetness Of Plum Tomatoes

Red plum tomatoes ready for chopping and tossing into the frying pan.

Many plum tomato varieties are famous for their rich taste and natural sweetness. While they may not be as sweet as Roma tomatoes, they still provide a pleasant taste for cooked dishes.

Plum Tomato Cultivar Flavor Profiles:

  • San Marzano: These Italian plum tomatoes are famous for their world-class flavor. They’re zesty and sweet, perfect for classic homemade Italian tomato sauce. (They’re also one of our favorite Roma tomato cultivars.)
  • Ropreco Paste: Ropreco Paste tomatoes produce large, paste-like fruits with a unique sweet and zingy flavor. Their taste combines sweetness with a pleasant tanginess, making them ideal for various pasta, pizza, and Italian cuisine uses.
  • Amish Paste: The Amish Paste tomato boasts a tangier flavor. Its unique tangy aftertaste sets it apart from other plum tomatoes. Imagine a blend of sweetness and a subtle tanginess.
  • Big Mama: Big Mama tomatoes are known for their robust and rich flavor. They offer a classic tomato taste, slightly sweet with a hint of acidity.

All plum tomato flavor sweetness intensifies as they are heated, making them a great addition to soups and stews.

Read More – How To Make Your Tomato Plants Grow Faster For A Bumper Crop

Sweetness Of Roma Tomatoes

Roma tomatoes, or Italian plum tomatoes, are known for their sweetness and rich flavor. Compared to other famous tomatoes, they have a higher sweetness and lower acid content, giving them an intense and delicious taste. Their lower moisture content also allows them to concentrate their flavors further, making them ideal for use in dishes that require tomato paste or sauce.

Their sweetness, high sugar, and low acid levels make them famous for sauces and toppings on pizzas and pasta. Their firmer and meatier texture also holds up well when cooked, making them an excellent choice for slow-cooked stews, soups, and chili recipes.

Appearance Comparison

Lovely roma plum tomatoes growing in the garden.

Most plum tomato varieties are oval-shaped and come to a slight point at the end, while Roma tomatoes are more oblong and have a more pronounced point at their apex.

Size And Shape Of Plum Tomatoes

Like the Datterino tomato variety, petite plum tomatoes usually measure between one and two inches tall, while medium-sized plum tomatoes range from two to four inches. The size and shape of plum tomatoes vary, as many cultivars exist. But most plum tomatoes are cylindrical, oval, or pear-shaped.

San Marzano is a medium-sized variety with a long, skinny shape and a pointed end. Amish Paste is a harder-to-find cultivar famous for having a weird-looking acorn shape.

Other lesser-known varieties of plum tomatoes include the Hungarian Heart, which has a heart shape and is known for its sweet and savory flavor, and the Principe Borghese, a smaller-sized plum-shaped tomato often used for sun-dried tomatoes.

Size And Shape Of Roma Tomatoes

Roma tomatoes are easily distinguishable from other tomato varieties due to their elongated shape and oblong appearance. Their shape is narrower and more cylindrical, with a pointed end that sets them apart from the round shape of regular or cherry tomatoes.

As plum tomatoes, they are smaller than beefsteak tomatoes but larger than cherry tomatoes. They typically measure about three inches in length and two inches in width.

Due to their elongated shape, Roma tomatoes have advantages over rounder tomatoes for specific recipes. Their shape makes them easier to slice and dice. And their firmer texture allows them to hold their shape while cooking.

Their lower moisture content makes them an excellent choice for making tomato paste or sauce, as they cook down into a thick and flavorful sauce.

Read More – What Should I Plant With Tomatoes To Keep Bugs Away – 19 Fabulous Tomato Companion Plants!

Cooking With Roma And Plum Tomatoes

Fresh plum tomatoes make superior homemade pasta sauce, garden salad toppers, or sandwich fillers. The cultivar doesn’t matter! Let’s compare the best ways to prepare your Roma tomatoes or any plum tomato cultivar.

Shall we?

Roasted Plum Tomatoes

Roasting some yummy plum tomatoes in salt and olive oil.

Firstly, simple roasted plum tomatoes are a great addition to salads, sandwiches, and pasta dishes. The roasting process accentuates a natural sweetness and concentrates their flavor. It only takes a few minutes, and we’ve yet to find a better way to upgrade a toasted sandwich or fresh garden salad.

Recipe – Roasted Tomatoes Recipe

Garlic Pasta

Plum tomatoes with garlic and onions on a wooden table.

Garlicky pasta with fresh plum tomatoes is a classic Italian dish for a quick, yummy, and satisfying weeknight dinner. The juicy plum tomatoes add the perfect pop of freshness to the dish, and the freshly minced garlic will accentuate the plum tomatoes’ flavor tenfold.

Recipe – Angel Hair Pasta With Garlic, Tomatoes, And Basil

Mediterranean Rosemary Potatoes With Chicken

Delicious potato chicken and tomato dish with fresh garden herbs.

Mediterranean rosemary potatoes with chicken is a flavorful side dish that’s simple to make but tastes like you put in an overnight effort. The combination of tender potatoes and chicken with the fresh tomato and cucumber salad is a match made in food-lover heaven.

Recipe – Mediterranean Chicken With Potatoes And Tomato With Cucumber Salad

Slow-Roasted Plum Tomatoes

Roasted red plum tomatoes for a yummy appetizer or sidedish.

Slow-roasted plum tomatoes with garlic and oregano are a delicious way to enjoy the tomatoes’ intense flavors. The slow roasting process creates chewy tomato flesh with a rich flavor that’s perfect for topping toast or pizza.

Sometimes, I add a few chopped string beans into the mix. Slow-roasted string beans or sugar snap peas with plum tomatoes form a healthy, tasty side dish for a summer barbecue or cozy outdoor dinner. The plum tomatoes add a juicy flavor to the slightly crunchy beans.

Recipe – Slowly Roasted, Herbed Tomatoes

Roasted Roma Tomato Soup

Delicious hot homemade tomato soup with fresh garden garnish and herbs.

Here’s the ultimate sidekick for a toasted or grilled cheese sandwich. It also works well during chilly fall evenings. You can make it quickly with fresh garden tomatoes, garlic, and herbs. The tomatoes roast until caramelized, then puree with vegetable broth and seasonings to create a velvety smooth soup.

Recipe – Yummy Roasted Tomato Gazpacho Soup.

Roma Tomato Tart

Yummy tomato tart with fresh cheese and herbs.

Another popular Roma tomato-based dish is the classic tomato tart. This savory pastry features roasted Roma tomatoes, creamy goat cheese, and fragrant herbs like thyme and basil. You can quickly make the tart shell in advance. The finished dish is perfect for a summer lunch or brunch. It’s like pizza. But a little fancier!

Recipe – Anna’s Tomato Tart Recipe

Roasted Roma Tomatoes With Lemon

Grilled and fire roasted plum tomatoes.

Roma tomatoes are also great for roasting alongside lemons. You could use a similar recipe on the grill using Roma tomato skewers for a showstopping appetizer dish. Skewer the tomatoes and season them with lemon, garlic, and olive oil before grilling. The finished dish is a delicious and healthy snack perfect for outdoor dinner guests.

Recipe – Lemon With Herb Roasted Tomatoes

Plum Tomato Basil Risotto

Yummy risotto with plum tomatoes herbs and parmesan cheese.

If you want a quick and easy dinner dish, try making a Roma tomato and basil risotto. This creamy dish contains Arborio rice, white wine, a graded cheese, and fresh plum tomatoes with basil. It is filling, flavorful, and perfect for a cozy night in.

Recipe – Risotto With Tomatoes and Basil

Margherita Pizza

Delicious homemade pizza with salami cheese and plum tomatoes.

Finally, a list of popular Roma tomato recipes works best when mentioning the classic Margherita pizza. This simple pizza features a zesty tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil. It is light, fresh, and perfect for a summer evening with friends and family.

Recipe – Margherita Pizza

Growing Plum Tomatoes

The ideal growing conditions for plum tomatoes are direct sun exposure, well-drained soil, and moderate temperatures. Their growth period is usually 70 to 85 days. Most plum tomatoes require moderate water and fertilizer to thrive and prefer slightly acidic soil. They prefer at least six to eight hours of direct daily sunlight and nutrient-rich, well-drained soil with a pH between 6 and 6.8.

Plum tomatoes also vary in their growing style. Some are determinate, while others are indeterminate. Indeterminate varieties like Roma tomatoes need a sturdy support system to accommodate their vining growth habit. Determinate cultivars are far less fussy and can usually survive without staking or support.

Regarding climate requirements, nearly all plum tomato varieties thrive with temperatures between 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit during daylight hours and 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit at night.

What are plum tomatoes? Nutrition taste and homemade recipes.

Read More – Aphids On Tomato Plants – Complete Guide To Natural Aphid Prevention And Control


Thanks for reading our plum and Roma tomato guide! We grow tons of tomatoes yearly in raised garden beds, buckets, and anywhere else we can fit them!

We love growing plum tomatoes. But we also love other tomatoes. (And cherry tomatoes!)

What about you?

  • Are you growing tomatoes this year?
  • Do you prefer Roma tomatoes or another plum variety?
  • Have you ever grown cherry tomatoes?
  • Do you grow tomatoes primarily for homemade sauce, canning, cooking, or snacking?
  • What is your favorite plum tomato variety?

We spend hours each day in the summer tending to our tomato plants.

And we love brainstorming with like-minded tomato growers!

So, we hope to hear from you!

And we thank you for reading.

Have a great day.

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