Saturday, October 15, 2011

Scalloped Tomatoes - Old Fashioned Breaded (Stewed) Tomatoes

Old fashioned breaded tomatoes, or scalloped tomatoes, stewed down with a little onion, thickened with flour, lightly sweetened and tossed with toasted squares of bread, topped with cheese and baked. Great served with fried fish and mashed potatoes.

Old Fashioned Breaded Tomatoes

Ahh sadly, it's October and the time of year where we lament the passing of summer tomatoes, because even if you have a few still producing plants in your garden, they will all soon be gone. I'm starting to see less roadside stands and more hot-house tomatoes showing up in the store, so that's a sure sign. Winter tomatoes are just not the same, sigh, but.. I'm gonna try to squeeze in a few more recipes while I can. This recipe is not going to appeal to all of you, even for those of you who love tomatoes, because of the texture issue with combining a stewed tomato with bread. Still, I know that some of you will probably have memories of your mamas and grandmas serving up a dish of these.

The primary focus of my site from the beginning has always been to focus more on homemade, from scratch, southern cooking, rather than quick fix, 5 ingredient, convenience cooking - not that there's anything wrong with that. Those recipes all have their place in southern cooking, and often we southerners are very endeared to some of them, so of course, I have some of those here too! But mostly, when I opened the door to my website, I wanted to feature and highlight some of the old fashioned, scratch cooking recipes that have been pushed aside by convenience and hurry up lives.

My main mission statement from the beginning has also been to recover some of those old recipes that are fast becoming lost recipes - things like Old Fashioned Boiled Salad Dressing, Lazy Daisy Cake, 5 Cup Salad, Copper Pennies, and Pineapple Casserole. This dish of Stewed Tomatoes is definitely one of those and you just don't hear much about it these days. Often served over mashed potatoes or rice, or even grits, it's an old fashioned side dish that dates back many years, to a time where it was important to cheaply, but nutritionally, feed a family, but still fill them up.

Often called tomato pudding, and basically a homestyle tomato gravy, but with a much smaller roux and bread added into it, it was sometimes also simply called stewed tomatoes since that essentially is exactly how it starts off. I am certain the recipe, as many of the older ones do by design, had to have come from a need to use up food. Nothing went to waste in those days, and this recipe was a great way to feed a family, using an over-abundance of often over-ripened tomatoes, leftover tomatoes from canning, and some day old bread. It would be great with some of those tomatoes you canned over the summer, or even with good ole canned grocery store tomatoes.

Sugar, sometimes white granulated, sometimes brown, sometimes a little, sometimes quite a lot, seems to have been a traditional ingredient, probably because sugar usually does enhance tomatoes. There are some who believe there is no place for sweetness in this old standby dish however. Back in the early days of my blogging, a reader once mentioned these breaded tomatoes, though she said her grandmother never included the sugar. Best test for that will be your taste - taste them and see if you think they would benefit from the sugar.

I also kept these breaded stewed tomatoes pretty much unadorned, but once you try them, you'll probably want to experiment with some seasonings and herbs. A little fresh oregano, basil or flat leaf parsley are all good, as are a wide variety of seasoning mixes, including those intended for dry rubs believe it or not. They add a bit of a smokey flavor to the tomatoes. A couple slices of cooked, chopped bacon added just before you toss in the bread will only make these all the better.

Let's make some!

Heat 2 tablespoons of fat in a large skillet and saute a cup of chopped onion until tender, but not browned. You can use olive oil, vegetable oil, canola oil, butter or even bacon fat.

Add 2 tablespoons of butter - yes, 2 more if you used butter for your onions.

Whisk in 2 tablespoons of flour.

Cooking and stirring the flour in the onion for about 3 minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes. I used a pound of fresh tomatoes, skinned then chopped, juices retained, but you can substitute canned for this dish also. If you haven't yet run across one of my favorite summertime kitchen gadgets, what a breeze skinning tomatoes (and peaches) becomes with this one little tool. You'll want about one large can of whole tomatoes that you'll cut up - I just stick the kitchen shears right in the can to chop them - or use two small cans diced. Pour the tomatoes into the onion mixture, juices and all.

Add a tablespoon of granulated or brown sugar, or add it to taste, if you like. If you don't, just leave the sugar out. I'd say taste the tomatoes first and see if it needs a bit of sweetness. Stir that in.

Cook mixture on a low simmer, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, taste and adjust. It's not traditional, but add in some chopped fresh parsley, or other herbs, if you like. Season them how you like.

Toast three slices of plain ole white bread. Leftover stale rolls or biscuits (is there really any such thing?) are also a good stand-in here. To be honest, this also makes a great side dish with the stewed tomatoes cooked strictly on the stovetop all on their own, so omit the bread altogether if you prefer.

Cut the bread into cubes.

Stir the bread squares into the tomato mixture - I forgot to season earlier so I added it here.

Transfer to a buttered baking dish, top with about a cup of shredded cheddar cheese if you like, and bake uncovered at 350 degrees F for about 1 hour. Serve immediately, alone as a vegetable side dish or served over rice or mashed potatoes. You can also serve this simply stewed right out of the skillet and skip the cheese and the baking step. Goes wonderfully with a variety of casseroles, or with fried fish and mashed potatoes.

Check out more of my recipes with tomatoes on Pinterest!

If you make this or any of my recipes, I'd love to see your results! Just snap a photo and hashtag it #DeepSouthDish on social media or tag me @deepsouthdish on Instagram!


Recipe: Scalloped Tomatoes - Old Fashioned Breaded (Stewed) Tomatoes

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 25 min | Yield: About 4 servings

  • 2 tablespoons butter, bacon fat, olive, vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 cup of chopped Vidalia or yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour
  • 1 pound of tomatoes, skinned, chopped, juices retained
  • 1 tablespoon of light brown or granulated sugar, or to taste, optional
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 5 turns of the pepper grinder
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh herbs (basil, flat leaf parsley, etc.), optional
  • 3 slices of toasted white bread, cut into 1-inch squares
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese, optional
  • Extra butter, for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat the fat in a large skillet and saute the onion until tender but not browned. Add butter and melt; stir in the flour, cooking and stirring for about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and sugar and low simmer, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes. Add the bread cubes, season with salt, pepper and herbs; taste and adjust as needed. Transfer to a buttered baking dish, top with about a cup of shredded cheddar cheese and bake uncovered at 350 degrees F for about 1 hour. Top individual servings with a pat of butter and serve immediately, alone as a vegetable side dish or served over rice or mashed potatoes. Goes wonderfully with fried fish and mashed potatoes.

Classic Stewed Tomatoes: Omit the toast and serve from the stovetop - no baking needed! Add a splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar.

Tomato Dumplings: Prepare as above for stewed tomatoes. Mix together 1/2 cup baking mix with 2 tablespoons milk, adding up to one additional tablespoon to make a sticky dough. Drop on top of tomatoes, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until dumplings are cooked through.

Cook's Notes: May also serve this dish right out of the skillet without baking. Just before ready to serve, stir in the toasted bread squares, or place the bread into individual serving dishes and spoon tomatoes over the top. If you have day old rolls or biscuits, use them for this recipe, but break them apart into chunks and toast them first; may also substitute fresh, toasted bread crumbs if preferred.

Okay to substitute 1 large (28 ounce) can of whole tomatoes, chopped, juices retained (use your kitchen shears to chop them right in the can) or 2 (14-1/2 ounce) cans of undrained, diced tomatoes. Omit bread for basic stewed tomatoes.

Experiment with additional seasonings blends, including those intended for dry rubs. They add a bit of a smokey flavor to the tomatoes. A couple slices of cooked, chopped bacon added just before you toss in the bread will only make these all the better.


Requires Adobe Reader - download it free!
©Deep South Dish
Are you on Facebook? If you haven't already, come and join the party! We have a lot of fun & there's always room for one more at the table.
Check These Recipes Out Too Y'all!

Homemade Fresh Tomato Soup
Broiled Tomatoes
12 Ways to Enjoy Summer Tomatoes

Posted by on October 15, 2011
Images and Full Post Content including Recipe ©Deep South Dish. Recipes are offered for your own personal use only and while pinning and sharing links is welcomed and encouraged, please do not copy and paste to repost or republish elsewhere such as other Facebook pages, blogs, websites, or forums without explicit prior permission. All rights reserved.

Material Disclosure: Unless otherwise noted, you should assume that post links to the providers of goods and services mentioned, establish an affiliate relationship and/or other material connection and that I may be compensated when you purchase from a provider. You are never under any obligation to purchase anything when using my recipes and you should always perform due diligence before buying goods or services from anyone via the Internet or offline.

Bookmark and Share


  1. My grandmother used to make something like this!

  2. This reaches down into a long-forgotten culinary experience from the 40's or 50's (which was my growning up time). I can see this being just a version of stewed tomatoes. Thank you for the nostalgia.

  3. LOL Eva, love ya doll!

    I had a feeling there'd be a few folks who recalled memories of this simple tomato dish Pam and Stephen! It really is just a version of stewed tomatoes that had bread stirred into them - usually served on mashed potatoes or cooked rice to fill up the masses!

  4. This reminds me of my mother. She still makes this basic recipe with jarred tomatoes for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. It is not a holiday without them.

  5. When I was a kid, Mom served stewed tomatoes which I believe were just tomatoes, bread, salt and pepper, with enough bread that they were pretty thick. Since I liked them, I know I'd love these - thanks for sharing it.

  6. My mother used to make something like this. To this day, if I come home starving and tired, I will throw a can of stewed tomatoes into a bowl, add a little sugar, and microwave, while toasting a slice of bread. And don't forget the pat of butter - it's a seasoning!

  7. Hi this is Nicole from Colie’s Kitchen I just discovered your blog and wanted to drop by and say hi. I am now a new follower. I would love to have you stop by Colie’s Kitchen if you get a chance.

  8. I wanted to comment on your "about me" page but it wouldn't let me. First, I found you by way of Debz Delicious Meals and so glad I did. I've been wandering around your site and I love it! Thank you for taking the time to mention manners on-line. Living in Georgia, I love that our young people still automatically answer with yes ma'am and no sir. I think with on-line communications, manners are going out the window. Hopefully I'm teaching my children to respect everyone no matter where they are coming in contact with them. Off to find you on FB so I can keep up with all your posts!

  9. I grew up eating breaded tomatoes and I still make them for my family using canned stewed tomatoes - but never thought to toast the bread first! Thanks for this great flavor- and texture-enhancing idea!

  10. It does add a bit of texture Karen - let me know what you think of the difference between the two!

  11. My mom made bread and tomatoes quite a lot when I was a kid. Haven't had them for a long time but now I am craving them after reading your recipe. The only thing she did different was she would cube the bread then add them to a skillet with melted butter and brown them that way then pour her cooked tomatoes over them. The bread was so yummy with that cast iron skillet grilled flavor.

  12. I like that idea Linda - may I add it as a variation?

  13. I love stewed tomatoes and grew up eating tham over mac and cheese, but with bread, how simple and very comforting. Now that it is getting cold- perfect! How are you doing Mary?

  14. Doing well Robin Sue - thanks so much for stopping by!

  15. I had tomato gravy when I was in Asheville, but theirs did not have bread..maybe because it was served over grit cakes: so good!

    But I think that your tomatoes over mashed potatoes sound quite amazing too.

  16. Mama used to make these and called them Scalloped Tomatoes (something with bread like this is supposed to be "scalloped") and they were my favorite sidedish! Thanks for a lovely memory....they are delicious!

  17. I make these...and have tomato gravy for breakfast ...made with tomato juice over biscuits...either way delish...and serve your version with pan seared pork chops and mashed potatoes...I live in middle Tennessee..Can you explain the difference in cajun and creole cooking?

  18. Hi Jan! Cajun and Creole cooking have pretty much melded together these days, but in a nutshell, Cajun cooking is more of a one pot country style of cooking, made with ingredients readily available from the land and sea - wild game, fish, seafood & such. Creole is more culturally varied - French, Spanish, African, and German being the heaviest influences - and is an overall "fancier" type of multi-course cooking, with the use of a wide variety of sauces, often including tomato and rich, butter cream sauces in the meals. Of course there is much more to the history of each, but that's a short story version!

  19. YUM, YUM...had this tonight with fried catfish and coleslaw. What a delight! My family loved every bite. Thanks again for another wonderful recipe!

    Love all your recipes and stories....keep up the GREAT work Mary!

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend and sure hope it isn't as hot there as it is here....we are almost at 100 degrees!

    1. Oh mercy it is HOT - well, I'm not sure about the actual temperature to be honest, but I can tell you the humidity is THICK! Have a great weekend Becky & thanks so much for letting me know you enjoyed this & my bantering LOL!! :)

  20. Sounds so yummy! Just one question do you supposed it could be made with canned tomatoes?? Just beginning to have blossoms on my tomatoes but do have some canned ones I put up last year.

    1. You sure can La June! You probably just didn't read far enough but it's down in the Cook's Notes at the bottom of the recipe. Enjoy!

  21. These look yummy! Just one question ... do you suppose you could used canned tomatoes? Don't have fresh ones yet.

  22. I know this is an older post but it isn't for me...:-) It's so ironic, a friend of mine was visiting from out of town this past weekend and we were actually talking about these....I remember my grandmother making this and now I've got a guide to make it for myself. Thanks so much....:-)

  23. My mother made this dish as well...It was part of our traditional New Years dinner for the black eyed peas..I've adjusted it to my taste, but its sweet and spicy..I add Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce...yummy side dish especially with any beans and rice..try it,you'll like

  24. This recipe has my gramma written all over it! Only she was Italian......... small world.

    1. Not surprised! There's a good bit of all cultures intertwined into the southern kitchen.

  25. This is delicious. I didn't bake as long as stated and I used Parmesan cheese. Nice change from the potato/rice/noodle side.

  26. If you ever get down south to N.C.,get to a K/W or a C/H Cafeteria. They have the best Scalloped Tomatoes ever,in a restaurant. My Nanny Ebert had them on her table every Sunday for dinner!

  27. Loved these all my life but never had the courage to try making them, since only the "best old-timer cooks" made them and I thought it would be hard to do. Used sharp cheddar. Didn't notice it called for toast before pulsing it into bread crumbs, because the old gentleman who cooked for Shaw University made his out of bread crumbs and I didn't doublecheck your recipe. my crew is saying "this is wonderful Mom" (smiling)

  28. I remember these from my childhood. My sisters apparently were not as fond of them as I was, so couldn't find a recipe! Thanks!!


Thanks for taking the time to comment - I love hearing from readers and I read every single comment and try to respond to them right here on the site, so stop back by!

From time to time, anonymous restrictions and/or comment moderation may be activated due to comment spam. I also reserve the right to edit, delete or otherwise exercise total editorial discretion over any comments left on this blog. If your comment serves only to be snarky, mean-spirited or argumentative, it will be deleted. Please mind your manners.

Related Posts with Thumbnails