It's tomato season, and boy oh boy, do I have a showstopper for you. This Heirloom Tomato Sandwich With Pesto Aioli is simple- meant to highlight the beauty of summer. The simplicity lies in the perfectly ripe heirloom tomatoes, lightly seasoned, and piled high on thick, crusty ciabatta with a generous spread of fresh pesto aioli. It's melt-in-your-mouth, juices running down your arms, delicious!
I'm here to tell you that heirloom tomatoes just taste better. Period. Their rustic look and meaty, juicy interior are why you should hunt them down at all costs.
And that pesto aioli? Enough said.
So yes, I'm sharing a recipe for tomatoes on bread, that's barely a recipe at all, and more like a PSA to honor thy tomato, and let it shine in all its summer glory.
🍅Heirloom tomato fun fact
Did you know that heirloom tomatoes get their name from the fact that their seeds have been passed down from generation to generation? Seeds from heirlooms are open-pollinated so you can save them and they will grow into new tomato plants.
Here is what you will need to make this heirloom tomato sandwich with pesto aioli.
- Heirloom tomatoes: - Heirlooms come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. You can mix up the colors if you would like. If you can't find heirlooms, use a ripe beefsteak tomato or look for plum varieties (on the vine) for the best taste.
- Olive oil- For seasoning the tomatoes and toasting the bread.
- Pesto- Store-bought or homemade to mix with mayo to make an aioli sauce (pesto mayo).
- Bread- You can use any bread you want, but make it a hearty one. Tomatoes are juicy and you want something thick and sturdy to hold up to the juiciness of the tomatoes. Italian ciabatta is my favorite for this.
- Salt and pepper to taste
See the recipe card for quantities.
Just some basic kitchen utensils and a pan to toast the bread is all you need.
Assembling the tomato sandwich
This heirloom tomato sandwich comes together in minutes and packs a ton of flavor. Below is a visual guide to assembling the sandwich. See the recipe card for full instructions.
Slice the tomatoes about a ¼ inch thick. Season with salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. Set aside.
Drizzle the bread with some olive oil, and place in a pan on medium heat. Toast until golden brown.
Prepare the pesto aioli by combining pesto sauce and mayo in a small bowl. Mix until combined. Spread evenly on both sides of the bread.
Add the tomatoes to the bread, overlapping if needed. Cover with the remaining bread.
Helpful hint: You can also toast the bread in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F, place the bread on a pan, drizzle with oil, and bake for about 10 minutes until golden brown and toasty.
Substitutions and variations
Heirloom tomatoes can be pricey, so if they are not readily available, look for other varieties such as beefsteak or plum tomatoes on the vine for the best taste.
You can omit the aioli if you prefer, and just use mayo. Or try drizzling the bread with a little sweet balsamic vinegar. You can add lettuce or microgreens if you want, but the more you add, the more it will take away from the tomatoes. Keeping it simple is best.
Storage and make ahead
These ciabatta tomato sandwiches make great picnic sandwiches. The heartier your bread, the more likely it will travel well. You can make these up to 4 hours in advance and they will still retain their bite. Otherwise, serve immediately after assembling.
The pesto aioli (mayo) can be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Leftover pesto aioli can be used as a dip, and to dress sandwiches, burgers, and other meats.
Don't skip seasoning the tomatoes. Salting them brings out their juices even more and adds a depth of flavor that shouldn't be missed.
Heirloom tomatoes are seasonal and are available from late July to early Fall. You can find them at farmer's markets and supermarkets. They have a shorter shelf-life, and often look "ugly" with deep, craggy edges, and vary in color from purple to brown to red.
Heirloom tomatoes are sweeter than other tomato varieties. Their tastes will also differ depending on the color, with yellow being the milder of all of them.
Me too. Give some of my other favorites a try:
🍳Did you make this recipe? I would love to hear about it! Please leave a recipe rating with comment right below the recipe card. If you snapped a photo of your creation, don't forget to tag me on Instagram @brunchandbatter.
Heirloom Tomato Sandwich with Pesto Aioli
- 1 medium pan for toasting the bread
- 1 large heirloom tomato, ripe 6-8 slices
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- olive oil, for drizzling
- 6 tablespoon mayo
- 2 teaspoon pesto store-bought or homemade
- 2 ciabatta rolls, sliced open or other heart bread
- Slice the tomatoes about ¼ thick. Drizzle with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Set aside.1 large heirloom tomato, ripe, Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- In a small bowl combine the pesto and mayo.6 tablespoon mayo, 2 teaspoon pesto
- Toast the bread. In a medium pan, drizzle the bread with a little olive oil, and toast, cut side down (if using ciabatta), on medium heat until lightly browned, about 3-5 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.2 ciabatta rolls, sliced open
- Assemble the sandwich. Spread the pesto mayo evenly over the bread. Add 3-4 slices of tomato (depending on the size of our bread). Top with the remaining bread. Serve immediately.