Sandy’s Tomato Pie

By Ann Fulton

The unique ingredients in this seasonal favorite create a crusty base that's loaded with flavor and fabulous texture. (For those who need it, there's an excellent gluten-free option in the recipe notes.)
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Essentially a crustless pie, the unique ingredients in this seasonal favorite create a crusty base that’s loaded with flavor and fabulous texture. (For those who need it, there’s an excellent gluten-free option in the recipe notes.)

 

 

 

 

Soft foods like mashed potatoes, soup, Jell-O, and ice cream are normally on the menu the day someone gets her wisdom teeth pulled, but I have a clear memory of nibbling on hamburgers and tomato pie.

It was the summer after my junior year in college, and my cousin Sandy had invited my family over for a cookout the evening of my tooth extraction. Sandy is the eldest of four cousins on my dad’s side of the family; they’re all a little older than me, and I always looked up to them. There was no way I was going to let some sore gums keep me home.

Chewing the hamburger with my front teeth was somewhat challenging, but Sandy’s special side dish went down easily. It was my first introduction to tomato pie, and I left with recipe in hand.

A unique crust adds crisp crunch to this savory summer dish. Everyone always wants the recipe!

Over the years, I made this savory dish many times for family and friends, always to glowing reviews. Perhaps I was focusing too much on new recipe creation, because for the last few summers, this seasonal favorite went unmade. And then towards the end of last summer, I received an email from my old friend Nancy.

Nancy married just over 20 years ago, and at the time, we both volunteered for the Junior League. A fellow member had the clever idea of showering Nancy with tried-and-true recipes from the many volunteers. I chose one of my favorites, and it was tucked into a special box with all the others.

In her email, Nancy mentioned that she had recently sat down with this treasured keepsake to leisurely thumb through the recipes, and her eyes lit to my tomato pie recipe. She made the recipe (dating to 1996!) days later and proclaimed it a hit.

Nancy’s thoughtful email was all I needed to put Sandy’s tomato pie back into the rotation—yet my own recipe card was nowhere to be found. I was pretty sure I could recreate the dish but wanted to be true to the original. I knew just who to ask.

Nancy kindly photographed and emailed the front and back of the card I had written 21 years ago. The note I included said “Great side dish with anything from hamburgers to steak, fish or chicken. One of my favorites and can be prepared in advance. Enjoy!!” I hope you do, too!

Sandy's Tomato Pie
Yield: 6-8 servings
Essentially a crustless pie, the unique ingredients of this seasonal favorite create a crusty base that is loaded with flavor and fabulous texture. (For those who need it, there's an excellent gluten-free option in the recipe notes!)
Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 cups Pepperidge Farm dry herb seasoned dressing*
  • 5 small or 4 medium tomatoes, sliced**
  • 1 small (about 4 ounces) sweet onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces (1 lightly rounded cup) freshly grated American cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (I recommend 1/4 teaspoon less if using table salt)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Optional: 3 strips bacon, cut in half; fresh basil for sprinkling
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch pie plate and cover the bottom with dressing. (I use about 1 cup for the bottom layer; reserve the rest for later.)
  2. Fill the plate with alternating layers of tomato, onion, and cheese.*** In a small bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar, salt and pepper; pour the egg mixture evenly over layers in the pie plate. (I use a fork to gently help it sink in.) Sprinkle with the balance of the dressing. Arrange the optional uncooked bacon slices on top.
  3. Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until the top is lightly golden and the bacon, if using, is crisp. For easier cutting, let the pie sit for 10 or so minutes before serving. Leftovers taste great and can be enjoyed at room temperature or warmed in a low oven.
Notes

*Note that this is a dried stuffing mix, not soft bread cubes.  For a gluten-free option, I’ve tested Three Bakers herb seasoned whole grain cubed stuffing with excellent results.  I lightly crushed the mix, which I found at Lemon Street Market, as the pieces were somewhat larger than the Pepperidge Farm option.
**The original recipe called for peeling the tomatoes.  You may do this (simply submerge in boiling water for 30 seconds, and the peels will slip right off), but I have found the end result to be nearly as good without the added step.  Also, I don’t seed the tomatoes but do gently squeeze out a bit of the liquid if they seem especially watery.
***Two full layers will typically fill my pie plate.  If you slice everything very thinly, you may be able to fit three.  Evenly dispersing all of the ingredients in each layer is more important than whether you have 2 or 3 layers.  Feel free to chop a tomato slice or two to fill any big gaps.  If you have a little onion or a few tomato slices left over, don’t worry.  Simply save them for salad. J

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Comments

  1. Jean

    This is very good. I will go to great ends to avoid rolling dough, so it called my name. I did it for my now virtual cookbook club and there was much interest. Confess to changing out the cheese to a favorite goat cheddar. Just did another one for those tomatoes that were begging to be used soon. Thanks for sharing it.

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Jean, Rolling dough is not a task I particularly enjoy, so I can relate. I’m delighted this sparked interest from your book club (feel free to recommend any favorite reads!), and I give complete license to experiment with the cheese. Thank you for the suggestion.

      Reply
  2. Gail Post author

    Tried your tomato pie and I’ve made it 3 times on 2 weeks. I used a variety of fresh garden tomatoes and mixed jack cheddar mozzarella and parmigiano cheese as I didn’t have American cheese. Omg I am in love with this pie. Hot or cold…As I write this I just took one out of the oven to bring to our friends with a copy of the recipe. Thanks a bunch.

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Gail, I am thrilled this recipe has been such a success and truly appreciate your terrific feedback. The mix of cheeses sounds perfect, and I agree…cold leftovers do taste great. So thoughtful of you to share with a friend, too!

      Reply
  3. Becky

    This tomato pie recipe was a hit at our house. I’ve tried many tomato pie recipes over the years and this one was a winner. I should have known that my favorite recipe source -Fountain Avenue Kitchen-would produce a wonderful, tasty, easy to make tomato pie recipe. My 95 year old mother called to tell me it was the best tomato pie she had EVER had! I loved the addition of the bacon strips-used turkey bacon. This recipe is a keeper for sure!

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Your comment made my day, Becky! I’m especially delighted that it was a best ever (!!) for your 95-year-old mother. Many thanks for passing along the thoughtful feedback.

      Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Pam, Pepperidge Farm is a bread company with distribution throughout the US, and one of their products is a seasoned, dry bread dressing (also called stuffing). You could substitute a similar product that you may have in the UK, or perhaps try a seasoned dry crouton.

      Reply
  4. Jon Post author

    I made the tomato pie last last night and it turned out great. It immediately went into our make-again file.

    Reply