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The Ultimate ‘Mater Sandwich

This major southern classic is actually The Ultimate Tomato Sandwich – a kicked up version celebrating gorgeous garden tomatoes.

The Ultimate Tomato sandwich

DISCLAIMER: I am not southern enough to pull off the word “mater”. And my other half? The guy with a deep southern drawl like you would not even believe? He can’t really pull it off either, if only in the interest of proper pronunciation.

But! We where we live, the ‘mater sandwich is a very real thing.

If you live below the Mason-Dixon line you probably know what I mean.

Before I moved here I was never much interested in tomatoes. A few slices on a sandwich? Okay. Cherry tomatoes in my salad? Sure. Margherita Pizza? DUH. But revolving an entire sandwich around a tomato? Unheard of.

Garden tomatoes are like a cultural staple of summer – I do get that. And once you’ve have a really really REALLY good, fresh, garden tomato? There is no turning back. We stopped at a little produce stand the other day and I spied these insanely gorgeous tomatoes and knew exactly where they were headed as soon as I picked them up.

The Best Tomato Sandwich Ever

Tomato sandwich purists use Duke’s mayo on white Wonderbread.

Sorry guys. I can’t get down with the Wonderbread. I need bread with heft.

I also don’t love regular mayo. I can use it sparingly, but that’s it. So for my ultimate ‘mater sandwiches, I made a quick pesto mayo. The basil really does the trick.

How to Make the Ultimate Tomato Sandwich

Also there’s bacon. BIG THICK SLICES of bacon.

The balsamic glaze happens really quickly on the stove and add a depth of flavor plus some sticky sweetness that I adore.

I am in love with these sandwiches! And I even got my oldest tomato-hating kid to devour one. #tomatowin

Oh! And if you wanted to do a smaller, open-faced version? Wouldn’t these be the best summer appetizers? Doing it.

The Ultimate Tomato sandwich
Yield: 2 large sandwiches

The Ultimate 'Mater Sandwich

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

A southern summer tradition! This recipe is for the most ultimate tomato sandwich you will ever have! Thick cut bacon, pesto mayo, and a balsamic glaze dress up this perfect summer produce into a sandwich that will have you craving garden tomatoes for years to come!


  • 4 thick slices of bread **see note**
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons prepared pesto
  • 1 large garden tomato, cut into thick slices
  • 4 slices thick cut bacon, cooked and excess grease drained off on paper towels
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • torn basil leaves to garnish


  1. Lightly toast the bread so that the outside has a little crunch, but the inside is still warm and soft. I like to just put my bread in the oven for a few minutes at 350F.
  2. Mix together the mayonnaise and pesto and spread the mixture on each sandwich.
  3. Pile the bacon on top of the pesto mayo. Then add your thick tomato slices.
  4. Pour the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan. Cook it over medium to medium high heat until it simmers and the liquid reduces by half. This usually takes me less than 5 minutes.
  5. Drizzle the balsamic glaze over the tomatoes, sprinkle them with salt and pepper, and top with fresh torn basil.
  6. Add the top piece of bread, grab a napkin, and enjoy!


1. This Crusty Herbed Dinner Loaf is PERFECT for making these Ultimate Tomato Sandwiches.
2. Serve a smaller open-faced version for awesome little appetizers!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 493Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 1169mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 3gSugar: 11gProtein: 16g


The Best Tomato Sandwich


Saturday 3rd of July 2021

Sounds great and is on my list to try. Sounds like you need a paper towel instead of a napkin, and may want to eat it over the sink!

Heather Tullos

Tuesday 6th of July 2021

YASSS. that's exactly how you do it!

Barbara Carter

Tuesday 1st of October 2019

How do I print this recipe or others on your site. looks great


Wednesday 1st of August 2018

How do you make your Pesto? Can't wait to try!

Heather Tullos

Saturday 4th of August 2018

Hi Jan! To make the pesto mayo I use for this sandwich I usually just use prepared pesto ala what's in a jar. But! If you are making your own I have a super simple recipe here:


Tuesday 23rd of June 2015

The preparation is simple but the sandwich looks divine! Tomato with basil and pesto? Wow! Looks like a found a new way to enjoy my tomatoes. Yummy!

Heather Tullos

Wednesday 24th of June 2015

Thanks so much Maureen! I think you'll love it!


Tuesday 16th of June 2015

I used to think garden tomatoes only needed a sprinkling of salt before being devoured, now I think they need pesto may, a balsamic glaze, bacon and bread with heft. Best sandwich ever!

Heather Tullos

Tuesday 16th of June 2015

Thanks Tanya! and yes. Bread with heft is so important!

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