Learn Why Tomato Pie Is a Summertime Classic & How to Make It

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Any southerner will tell you that a classic summertime dish is tomato pie. For the rest of the country, you might be wondering what the heck is tomato pie? It is a pie or a tart with red and yellow tomatoes. It also generally has onions and a mixture of mayonnaise and cheese.

The dish became very popular in the South in the 1970s. Some believe that mayonnaise manufacturers came up with the recipe to sell their mayonnaise. Tomato pie recipes started popping up in cooking magazines in the late ’70s. These days you can find many versions of this dish because some people make it spicy and others use different cheeses or recipes. The idea is always the same though: make the tomatoes the star of the show.

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Get the recipe that has five stars

tiny tomatoes
Tomato Pie / Flickr

Paula Deen has a recipe on Food Network’s website that has a whopping perfect score of five stars. For the ingredients you will need, four tomatoes (different colors look the best) peeled and sliced, 10 freshly chopped basil leaves, 1/2 cup of chopped green onion, a 9-inch prebaked deep dish pie shell or you could make your own, one cup of grated mozzarella cheese, one cup of grated cheddar (many recommend extra sharp cheddar), one cup mayonnaise, and salt and pepper.

tomato pie
Tomato pie / Flickr

To make the dish, first, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Layer the tomatoes in a colander in the sink and sprinkle with salt. Allow draining for about 10 minutes. When they’re ready, layer the tomato slices, basil, and onion in the pie shell.

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Season to taste with salt and pepper. Next, you’ll combine the mayonnaise with the cheeses. Spread that mixture on top of your mixture and bake for about 30 minutes. You’ll know when it is ready because the pie will be lightly browned. Serve warm.

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Tomato pie is one of my all-time favorite summer recipes to make with my garden tomatoes — but most of them have so much mayonnaise and cheese in them that, while delicious, definitely have their fair share of fat and calories. I wanted to make a somewhat healthier version of this favorite Southern dish, so I replaced the mayo with @muunacottage cottage cheese to make a higher protein, lower fat version. It had all of the flavor, and I definitely didn’t miss the mayo! This pie is based on Vivian Howard’s recipe (@chefandthef) from her cookbook Deep Run Roots, which I have read cover to cover and absolutely love. My version of the recipe is up on the blog today! . . . . #homemade #tomato #pie #heirloomtomatoes #tomatopie #charleston #charlestonfood #charlestonsc #charlestonfoodie #healthyish #healthier #southernfood #southerncooking #homecooked #summercooking #cottagecheese #healthyfoodie #summerrecipes #foodblogger #foodblog #delicious #food #foodiegram #gardentoplate #gardentotable #farmtotable #foodstyling #baking #inthekitchen #recipeoftheday

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Some say that roasting the tomatoes before they go into the pie will make it even better! If you want to make it spicy, add some paprika or add Dijon mustard for a tangy kick. Have you ever made a tomato pie or tasted one? Or have you never heard of this classic southern summertime dish? If you prefer a video recipe to follow along with, watch the one below: 

Can you guess which Thanksgiving recipe southerners search for the most each year? The answer might surprise you! Find out here.

What do you think?

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