The tomato mayo sandwich is a ridiculously simple southern classic.
Updated February, 2020. When I first moved to the South, the thought of things like sweet tea and tomato mayo sandwiches were a big NOPE for me. I enjoyed my “regular” lemony iced teas and preferred ham and cheese heroes.
But the thing about living in the south is that after a while it starts to chip away at your original food habits bit by bit, and before you know it, you’re ordering a sweet tea to go with your hoagie.
It only took a couple of years before summer time = tomato mayo sandwiches for us. It has a special place in my frugal heart because during lean times, this bad boy was a constant in our meal plan, and it’s still my favorite way to stretch our grocery budget.
These are definitely a summer staple for us because not only are they dirt cheap to make, you can have dinner ready in five minutes and there are no dishes to clean.
If you aren’t familiar with it, it may sound a bit strange. And the ingredient list will probably leave you thinking, “uh, did you forget to add a few things to your sandwich?” But the simplicity is the beauty of it!
If you try to get fancy with it, it turns into something it’s not. Just accept your sandwich for who it really is and let it be a no-frills tomato sandwich on 99¢ bread.
Get the largest, ripest beefsteak tomatoes you can find. And use cheap white bread, nothing else will do! Also, salt the heck out of your tomatoes, it’ll make the sandwich nice and juicy.
It’s hard to believe how quickly and easily you can make this incredible tomato mayonnaise sandwich. You seriously only need four ingredients, and you will be in food heaven.
Tomatoes: I find the best tomatoes to add to the sandwich are beefsteak tomatoes. They are the perfect size to fit on the white bread, and they’re loaded with flavor and nutrients.
White Bread: While traditional Southern tomato and mayonnaise sandwiches use white bread, you could also swap it out for wheat bread if you prefer. Sometimes I just get in the mood for some yummy white bread, and it’s perfect with a big fat slice of tomato.
Mayonnaise, Salt, and Pepper: When it comes to the mayonnaise, salt, and pepper, you just add as much or as little as you like. It’s all about preference when it comes to these three ingredients.
Where Did the Tomato and Mayo Sandwich Originate?
It’s a battle of the mayonnaises when it comes down to saying who started making this frugal sandwich first. It’s been reported to have been started in New York, South Carolina, and even Louisiana. But if you ask me, it started because someone was looking for a super simple way to save some money and have a hearty and tasty meal for their family.
What is the Best Tomato for a Sandwich?
There are so many great options when it comes to the perfect tomato for a sandwich. The best choice for me is a beefsteak, but you could easily use any type of variety honestly and they would all taste great. The beefsteak is a larger tomato (perfect for sandwich sized slices) and is on the sweet side. I noticed a big difference with the ones I bought from the farmer’s markets.
How Do You Slice a Tomato for Sandwiches?
The easiest way to cut a tomato in half through the stem and then lay the cut side on the cutting board to make slices. Putting the cut side on the cutting board provides a nice, secure surface for making additional slices. With my klutzy kitchen skills, it has probably saved me from accidents! 🤣
Are Roma Tomatoes Good for Sandwiches?
Typically, Roma tomatoes are used more for sauces and salads. They’re a smaller tomato with more pulp so they reduce better and cut up into dishes nicely. However, they will work well in a pinch. Just know that they’re going to have a little bit different taste and texture than some of the other tomato choices out there.
You can also make your sandwich low carb by swapping out the bread for lettuce wraps. The versatility of this recipe is what keeps it great and so simple.
Tips for Making a Tomato Mayo Sandwich
To add a little bit more taste and flavor, sprinkle on some salt and pepper to your tomatoes. It’s a subtle addition that really can bring out the flavor.
Try different types of tomatoes and see which is your favorite. Definitely grow your own or get them from the farmer’s market. The organically grown ones have a lot more flavor than the ones from the store.
To make this Vegan, replace mayonnaise with a Vegan-Friendly variety.
Tomato Mayo Sandwich
- 1 each Large Beefsteak Tomato Ripe
- 4 slices Slices White Bread
- tbsp Mayonnaise to taste
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Slice tomatoes into chunky slices. Each tomato should yield 2 to 3 slices, with ends removed. Season liberally with salt and pepper.
- Spread mayonnaise on each slice of bread. Add a tomato slice to bread, and top with an additional slice of bread. You get the gist. I’m sure you know how to make a sandwich. 😉
This is already a messy, drippy, two-hand sandwich, so I like to use the biggest tomatoes I can find, so just one chunky slice is enough to cover the entire piece of bread… it keeps things a little less messy.
Looking for a side for your tomato mayo sandwich? My tomato cucumber and onion salad recipe will go great with it!
If You Like This Tomato Recipe, Try These Summer Ideas:
Tomato Cucumber Salad – This refreshing summer salad is packed full of flavor and is remarkably crisp and delicious! I am not always a fan of red onions, so I use them sparingly.
Creamy Cucumber Salad – I love this cucumber salad. It has just a hint of a sauce that keeps it light and delish!
Vegan Buddha Bowl – I add leftover tomatoes to this Vegan Buddha Bowl. It is definitely a mix-and-match recipe where a lot of my leftovers end up! Give it a try!