Tomato Sandwich

Y’all nothing hits during the summer like a Tomato Sandwich. And this one is the very best boos. This heirloom tomato sandwich recipe with smoky bacon is the best way to get into summer vibes, and don’t even think about skipping the lemony-garlic aioli because it hits so hard! Pull this recipe together in minutes and enjoy the best of what summer has to give ya.

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A close up of a tomato sandwich with heirloom tomatoes and bacon slices ready to enjoy.

If you are from the South, you know a good tomato sandwich when you taste one. It’s the simplicity and darn great tomatoes that make all the difference. During the summer, you won’t taste anything better. This tomato sandwich recipe can be pared down to bare bones (mayo, bread and tomatoes) or dressed up to the nines (bacon, etc.). The choice is yours! Do you boo.

What is a Tomato Sandwich?

In its truest form, a tomato sandwich is tomato slapped between two slices of bread. Period. It’s considered a staple in the South because fresh ripe tomatoes are prime during the summer. It’s also a super affordable way to enjoy the summer delicacies. The classic recipe usually includes a spread of mayo giving a bit of creamy texture to the juicy sandwich.

This recipe uses heirloom tomatoes which are a jewel in summer produce. They are a variety of tomatoes whose seeds have been handed down to farmers from generation to generation selected from each year’s harvest.

The Lowdown on this Tomato Sandwich Recipe

  • Cuisine Inspiration: Southern Summertime Classic with a Gourmet Remix
  • Primary Cooking Method: Just assembling
  • Dietary Info: Can be made Vegan or Gluten-Free with a few substitutions
  • Key Flavor: Fresh, Juicy, Smoky, Tangy, and Garlicky
  • Skill Level: Easy as easy can be boos!

Ingredients Needed to Make this Heirloom Tomato Sandwich Recipe

Slices of heirloom tomatoes on a white platter with aioli and bacon slices ready to build a sandwich
  • Heirloom Tomatoes: Slices of juicy heirloom tomatoes are the foundation for this sandwich. Make sure you pick ones with skin that is shiny, with no bruises or splits. They should have a bit of firmness when you squeeze.
  • Mayonnaise: This gives our lemon garlic aioli its creamy and rich base. I’m a big fan of Duke’s or Hellman’s Mayo.
  • Lemon Juice: This brightens up that aioli with a little citrus and acidity.
  • Garlic: Just one clove will add that fantastic aromatic savory flavor. Grate it up to get a bit in each bite.
  • Black Pepper: Freshly cracked hits best and adds a touch of heat.
  • Sourdough: This is my bread of choice here because it feels super rustic and hearty and has a slightly sour taste that balances out that tomato sweetness.
  • Bacon: Nothing adds smoky, crunchy, peppery goodness like bacon y’all.
  • Lettuce: This adds a fresh, crunchy bite to this tomato sandwich!
Two bacon and tomato sandwiches stacked on top of each other ready to eat

How to Make a Tomato Sandwich

Step 1: Get to Prepping

  1. Get your bacon ready. I personally bake mine to get it super crisp. Preheat your oven to 400 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add your slices of bacon and bake for 15-20 minutes until super crispy and golden. It can take longer based on how thick your bacon is.
  2. Make your Aioli. In a small bowl, mix up the mayo, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, some black pepper and minced garlic.
  3. Toast the Bread and Spread: Toast up your sourdough bread and spread on the aioli.
A collage of making a tomato sandwich recipe where bacon is being baked baked on a sheet pan and garlic aioli is being spread on toasted bread.

Step 2: Layer it Up

  1. Season your heirloom tomatoes with salt and pepper then add to the aioli spread bread.
  2. Next add your bacon and lettuce then finally close up that sandwich, cut it up and serve it up.
A collage of making a tomato sandwich with bacon and tomatoes being added to bread and then it is closed up to serve

How to Serve this Heirloom Tomato Sandwich

Recipe Substitutions

  • Tomatoes: If heirlooms aren’t around, grab early girl, beefsteak, roma or even black krim tomatoes.
  • Bread: No sourdough? French bread, whole grain or ciabatta are great options. Just select something hearty since the tomatoes are so juicy and can drench the bread a bit. We don’t want a soggy sandwich boos.
  • Aioli: Swap out the mayo for sour cream or greek yogurt. You will get some additional tang for extra flavor. Replace lemon juice with lime or even orange juice if you have it lying around. And finally use some garlic powder in place of minced garlic if you don’t have a clove around.

Recipe Variations and Additions

  • Gluten Free: Swap in your fave gluten free bread variety to make this perfect for any dietary restrictions.
  • Vegan: Just make sure your bread is vegan friendly and also sub the mayo for a vegan mayonnaise brand as well. And of course, toss out the bacon boos.
  • Caramelize those Tomatoes! Grill those tomatoes for that smoky flavor elevation especially during the summer when you are tossing other amazing items on the grill. Or caramelize them up by roasting them to release more flavors.
  • Fried Green Tomatoes: Ever had a tomato sandwich with fried green tomatoes? If not, you are missing out. That crunch is undeniable! And if you want to lighten it up, use my air fried green tomatoes recipe.
  • Spice it Up! Add a little hot sauce, sriracha or cayenne to that aioli for a nice kick y’all. Or better up, spread on some remoulade.

Expert Tips and Tricks

  • Get the Right Tomatoes: Go as ripe as you can find boos. If you see a bruised or mushy tomato, go in the opposite direction.
  • Season those Tomatoes: Before you add those tomatoes to your sandwich, season em’ up! Salt and pepper are going to enhance the flavor and juiciness of those tomatoes.
  • Toast the bread: One way you can keep the bread from getting too soggy from all the wet ingredients and juicy tomatoes is to toast up that bread. It dries it out a bit.
  • Keep it simple: Don’t overdo this sandwich. It ain’t necessary. Keep the ingredients and flavors clean. Let the tomatoes do the talking.
  • Cut with a Serrated Knife: This will help you cut through those thick tomatoes and bread without squashing and ruining your beauty of a sandwich.

How to Store

This sandwich is honestly best enjoyed as soon as you make it. And since it takes mere minutes to throw together, no need to store it up or make ahead y’all.

Also tomatoes are some juicy babies so they will weigh down a sandwich with moisture in a second. If you store any leftovers, that sandwich will be pretty soggy at the end of the day so I suggest not doing it. If you absolutely must store, store it in the fridge completely wrapped in foil or plastic wrap and eat it within a day.

Frequently Asked Questions

When are heirloom tomatoes in season?

Heirlooms are grown seasonally rather than year-round, and their gorgeous appearance and wide range of shapes, colors, and sizes, make them quite unique. Heirloom tomatoes also have a much more robust and sweeter taste; they are generally in season from late Summer into early Fall, with local heirlooms popping up around late July. 

What’s the best way to select tomatoes for this tomato sandwich?

Make sure you select tomatoes that have reached their full color. Give it a gentle squeeze. It should have a bit of firmness but not be rock hard. If its too mushy or soft, that’s a no no. If you notice a bunch of bruising or spots, you definitely want to avoid. Ripe tomatoes also feel a bit heavier too as opposed to unripe ones.

My tomato sandwich is soggy! What did I do wrong?

Tomatoes can make a sandwich pretty wet y’all. It’s because of all that juicy flavor. The aioli is going to help keep those tomatoes from wetting down that bread. Also toasting the bread is going to prevent the sogginess from developing too.

Can you make this tomato sandwich recipe ahead?

Honestly it’s best not to make ahead. If you want to save some time, just make the aioli and slice up the tomatoes ahead of time for quicker assembly.

More Sandwich Recipes

Love this recipe? Check out a few more of my FAVORITE savory bites below!  

A bacon and tomato sandwich with garlic aioli on sourdough bread with small tomatoes in white background

The BEST Tomato Sandwich

An Heirloom Tomato Sandwich is the perfect way to celebrate summer tomatoes, and don’t even think about skipping the lemony-garlic aioli, it’s necessary!
5 from 17 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course: Main Course
Servings: 2 sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove finely minced or grated
  • 4 slices of sourdough or french bread can also use thick-cut white sandwich bread
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 large Heirloom tomatoes cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
  • bacon and lettuce optional

Instructions

  • Combine mayo, lemon juice, black pepper and garlic.
  • Lightly toast the bread and spread on aioli.
  • Layer on tomatoes (bacon and lettuce as well, if using) and close up the sandwich. Enjoy!

Notes

Expert Tips and Tricks
    • Get the Right Tomatoes: Go as ripe as you can find boos. If you see a bruised or mushy tomato, go in the opposite direction.
    • Season those Tomatoes: Before you add those tomatoes to your sandwich, season em’ up! Salt and pepper are going to enhance the flavor and juiciness of those tomatoes.
    • Toast the bread: One way you can keep the bread from getting too soggy from all the wet ingredients and juicy tomatoes is to toast up that bread. It dries it out a bit.
    • Keep it simple: Don’t overdo this sandwich. It ain’t necessary. Keep the ingredients and flavors clean. Let the tomatoes do the talking.
    • Cut with a Serrated Knife: This will help you cut through those thick tomatoes and bread without squashing and ruining your beauty of a sandwich.
Storage
This sandwich is honestly best enjoyed as soon as you make it. And since it takes mere minutes to throw together, no need to store it up or make ahead y’all.
Also tomatoes are some juicy babies so they will weigh down a sandwich with moisture in a second. If you store any leftovers, that sandwich will be pretty soggy at the end of the day so I suggest not doing it. If you absolutely must store, store it in the fridge completely wrapped in foil or plastic wrap and eat it within a day.

Nutrition

Calories: 2530kcal | Carbohydrates: 458g | Protein: 96g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 19g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 4288mg | Potassium: 1341mg | Fiber: 21g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 1046IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 372mg | Iron: 30mg
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Filed Under:  Lunch, No-Cook, Seasonal Recipes, Summer Recipes, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Comments

  1. What a great sandwich! We’re growing our own tomatoes this year. I’m definitely going to make this with the first one!

  2. This is my favorite meal in the summertime. Everything about this is perfect. Sometimes I add a little arugula. I love it.

  3. This is my kind of sandwich!! I am so excited to give it a go today, thank you so much for sharing this recipe 🙂

  4. Thisss is one of the million reasons I love tomato season. And why I stocked up on bacon at Costco. Thank you for another perfect way to enjoy heirlooms.

  5. Oh my… this is such a good tomato sandwich recipe! The photos and tips are helpful, too. Thanks for the recipe!

  6. Oh I absolutely agree! A tomato sandwich is perfect for picnics and light outdoor meals. I cannot wait for our garden tomatoes to come in..this looks delish!

  7. This is one of our favorite sandwiches and we just planted our tomatoes. I’ll be making these all summer. Thanks for sharing.

5 from 17 votes

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