In this study, the lactic fermentation of immature tomatoes as a tool for food ingredient production was evaluated as a circular economy-oriented alternative for valorising industrial tomatoes that are unsuitable for processing and which have wasted away in large quantities in the field. Two lactic acid bacteria (LAB) were assessed as starter cultures in an immature tomato pulp fermentation to produce functional food ingredients with probiotic potential. The first trial evaluated the probiotic character of Lactiplantibacillus plantarum
(LAB97, isolated from immature tomato microbiota) and Weissella paramesenteroides
(C1090, from the INIAV collection) through in vitro gastrointestinal digestion simulation. The results showed that LAB97 and C1090 met the probiotic potential viability criterion by maintaining 6 log10
CFU/mL counts after in vitro simulation. The second trial assessed the LAB starters’ fermentative ability. Partially decontaminated (110 °C/2 min) immature tomato pulp was used to prepare the individually inoculated samples (Id: LAB97 and C1090). Non-inoculated samples, both with and without thermal treatment (Id: CTR-TT and CTR-NTT, respectively), were prepared as the controls. Fermentation was undertaken (25 °C, 100 rpm) for 14 days. Throughout storage (0, 24, 48, 72 h, 7, and 14 days), all the samples were tested for LAB and Y&M counts, titratable acidity (TA), solid soluble content (SSC), total phenolic content (TPC), antioxidant capacity (AOx), as well as for organic acids and phenolic profiles, and CIELab colour and sensory evaluation (14th day). The LAB growth reached ca. 9 log10
CFU/mL for all samples after 72 h. The LAB97 samples had an earlier and higher acidification rate than the remaining ones, and they were highly correlated to lactic acid increments. The inoculated samples showed a faster and higher decrease rate in their SSC levels when compared to the controls. A nearly two-fold increase (p
< 0.05) during the fermentation, over time, was observed in all samples’ AOx and TPC (p
< 0.05, r = 0.93; similar pattern). The LAB97 samples obtained the best sensory acceptance for flavour and overall appreciation scores when compared to the others. In conclusion, the L. plantarum
LAB97 starter culture was selected as a novel probiotic candidate to obtain a potential probiotic ingredient from immature tomato fruits.