I grew up in the Midwest but have lived in North Carolina for over 20 years. This has given me time to become well acquainted with the summer tomato sandwich made with a slice or two of a locally grown tomato, white bread, and mayonnaise. I have a confession, I have never acquired a taste for one of these sandwiches. The fact that I did not develop a craving for them may be because I don’t have sweet memories of a parent or grandparent, lovingly making me one and eating it together. However, in my defense, I do love a fresh grown tomato on a summer sandwich, it’s just that I like my sandwich paired a little differently. So, whether, you crave the traditional, beloved tomato sandwich and want more ways to eat those summer tomatoes or if you want a different twist on one, I hope that you will grow to love some of my adaptations on an old Southern favorite! These sandwiches are flavorful, higher in protein and have a boost of other things that are good for you. You can easily make them vegan, gluten free or low fodmap with a few little changes.

Here is my 3 Best Tomato Sandwiches Line Up:

  1. Oven Fried Tomato Sandwich with Pecan and Panko Crust
  2. Open Faced Tomato, Grilled Eggplant, Fresh Mozzarella and Pesto Sandwich
  3. Grilled Cheese with Tomato, Pesto, and Avocado

Not only do tomatoes taste delicious but they are also so good for you too! They are rich in vitamin C and fiber.  Here is a recent guest post that I shared with Slow Food Asheville about the benefits of the phytonutrient lycopene in tomatoes. It is what gives tomatoes their beautiful red color!

Lycopene

In addition to lycopene, tomatoes also include some additional powerful antioxidants and phytonutrients which will vary a little based on their color which includes the purple pigment anthocyanin which benefits heart health especially blood pressure and lowers cancer risk, the yellow and orange pigments alpha-carotene and beta-crptoxathin which are protective for our vision, cancer prevention, blood sugar regulation and anti-inflammatory effects and the green pigment llutein and zeaxanthin which are beneficial to eye health. There is also more research is being done to learn more about the tomatine which is found in green tomatoes and its role as an antifungal and its anticancer properties. Here is another article about the color of tomatoes.

Eat the Colors of Health

There are so many reasons to eat tomatoes because of health reasons but let’s face it, we all know the real reason that we love to eat these jewels of summer and that is because they melt in our mouth. I hope you enjoy these 3 tomato sandwich recipe ideas!

Crunchy Green Tomatoes without Frying

Oven Fried Tomato Sandwich with Pecan and Panko Crust

Some people have more tomatoes in their garden than they can eat so they have a few green tomatoes to spare. I never have to many tomatoes in my garden because I can eat them for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. If you are like me and have to go to the local tailgate market to get your green tomatoes that will work also!

Makes 2 servings

1-2 large green tomatoes

1/3 cup crushed pecans

1/3 cup crushed panko crumbs

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Pinch cayenne

Salt and pepper to taste

1 egg (for vegan version substitute 1-2 tablespoons ground flax seeds)

1/2 cup milk (can also substitute plant milk)

1 tablespoon olive oil

Tempeh Bacon (optional) try my recipe at the end of the directions)

Red pepper pesto (see recipe after the tempeh bacon recipe)

2 slices of pita bread cut in two and split open

Soft goat cheese to spread if desired

Directions:

Fix tempeh bacon ahead of time using directions below. Heat oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl, break and beat an egg, then add milk to make an egg wash. Mix crushed panko and pecan crumbs, garlic powder, cayenne, salt and pepper on a plate. Slice green tomatoes about half an inch thick. Brush olive oil on a non-stick cookie sheet. Take slices of tomato and dip them in egg wash and then roll in panko crumb mixture. Place tomatoes on cookie sheet drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil on top of them. Bake about 15-20 minutes until the tomatoes get slightly soft to touch and the topping gets a little brown. While the tomatoes are cooking, make the red bell pepper pesto. Take out of oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Add a a small amount of goat cheese to the pita, carefully place breaded tomatoes in there along with tempeh bacon. Drizzle red pepper pesto on top for a little color and flavor.

Tempeh Bacon Sandwich

Red Pepper Pesto

2  cups roasted red peppers

1-2 cloves of garlic

1/2 cup basil

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon olive oil

(optional-2 tablespoons of nuts and 2 tablespoon Parmesan cheese)

Blend all of the ingredients together in a food processor until smooth.

Open Faced Tomato, Grilled Eggplant, Fresh Mozzarella and Pesto Sandwich

To make this sandwich vegan, substitute grilled tofu for the mozzarella cheese and skip cheese in the pesto.

Take Your Lunch to Work Month: 3 Vegetarian Open Faced Sandwiches

Grilled Cheese with Tomato, Pesto, and Avocado

To make this sandwich vegan use a vegan cheese that melts or substitute grilled tofu or tempeh for the cheese.Grilled Cheese with Tomato, Pesto, and Avocado

Take Your Lunch to Work Challenge: Grown-Up Grilled Cheese and Homemade Tomato Soup

I hope that you grow to love these 3 tomato sandwich recipes that I created and it gives you a few more great reasons to eat tomatoes. Thank you for coming by and reading my blog and I hope you stop by again soon. I will be transitioning in the next few weeks into more fall recipes and what’s in season during that time! As a registered dietitian Nutritionist in Asheville, I love helping folks find recipes that they love to help them east healthy! Would love for you to check out the rest of my recipes on the Vine Ripe Nutrition blog and please share if you are inspired to give some a try! You can also find additional tasty ideas on Vine Ripe Nutrition’s social media pages too!

If you are in the Asheville area or other places near Western North Carolina, you might be interested in an upcoming event that is happening on August 27, as a member of Slow Food Asheville, I would love for you to join in with the fun! All you have to do is show up! You can find more details by checking out the link below!

Tomato Tasting: A Slow Food Celebration

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