Summer. The heat and humidity of July and August make my hair approach “almost afro stage” and I honestly don’t enjoy doing much outdoors in the sweltering mid-Atlantic afternoons and early evenings. But this is definitely peak time for tomatoes! We used to plant three or four varieties, but we couldn’t consume them fast enough.

In November 2014 I posted an interview with female blues artist Barbara Blue (aka BB) found here. Barbara has made a career as an international performer based in Memphis, TN (BB’s website is here), but this woman is a fabulous cook, too.  One of her specialties is tomato pie. Now that I am harvesting baskets of them, I decided to use her recipe as a base and made my own version the other night.


Tomato Pie Recipe

Pie Crust

This is Barbara’s preferred crust, which she credits to Mrs. T.M. Briggs, of Houston, TX.

  • 3 c flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 c shortening (BB uses butter)
  • 1 egg plus enough milk added to it to make 1/2 c

Mix dry ingredients. Cut in shortening. Add egg/milk and mix. This makes two large double crust pies or 3-4 single ones which can be frozen until needed. (I had worked all day, so I took the easy way out and bought a 2-pack of Pillsbury crusts on my way home.)


This is my version. At the bottom of this post I will put Barbara’s suggested filling, although she has many variations. NOTE: I made two pies, so ingredients reflect that. I decided to go lean with the meat, since crust and cheese add calories. Other protein options could be crispy bacon, ground lamb or spicy ground sausage.

  • 1.25 lb ground turkey breast (which is a pack of Jenni-O)
  • 1 small onion
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 c roasted/grilled red pepper
  • Salt & coarse black pepper to taste
  • Drizzle of olive oil (for pan)

Chop the onion and add it along with the garlic to a frying pan drizzled with olive oil. Once the onion gets a bit translucent, add the ground turkey. Mix until meat is cooked through, then add the peppers—these add a little bit of sweet, and you can get the jarred ones to keep on hand if you don’t plan ahead to grill them yourself. Stir a few minutes to get the peppers incorporated and heated. Once done, place mixture into a bowl to cool a bit.

Ground turkey, garlic, onion

Roasted red peppers

  • 16 oz ricotta (I used part skim)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 c shredded mozzarella
  • 3/4 c grated parmesan
  • 1 t dried oregano

Whisk/break up egg in a large bowl, then add ricotta, salt, mozzarella, parmesan and oregano. Mix until fully incorporated. Set aside. At this point you can pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  • 5 or 6 tomatoes (can vary the type and size, just slice enough for two layers on each pie)
  • 1/4 c chopped fresh basil
  • 1 c shredded mozzarella (more or less, depending upon how much cheese you like!)
  • dried oregano, salt and pepper to taste

Cut tomatoes into about 1/4″-thick slices. Set aside. Chop the basil. Set aside. Place pie crusts into pie pans (I am not a fussy baker, so my crusts don’t look pretty).

Arrange all items to start assembling.

Assembly line for tomato pie

Now to build the pies: Once the meat mixture is no longer hot, start by spooning it into each of the crusts and spread it into somewhat even layers. Next, add the cheese mixture (half in each pie crust) as a big dollap on top of the meat, then carefully spread it around. Add a layer of sliced tomatoes, then sprinkle the fresh basil on top. Add shredded mozzarella on top of the tomatoes. Begin another layer of sliced tomatoes, more shredded mozzarella and top off the pies with some oregano, salt and pepper.

Place pies in oven (pre-heated to 350 degrees F) and cook for 25-30 minutes. Keep an eye on the crusts so they don’t get too brown.


Tomato pie

Finished tomato pie and slice

There are so many variations you can do with these pies. For instance, lightly saute some spinach or kale to add as a layer above the meat. Add some thin slices of summer squash, zucchini or eggplant along with the tomatoes. Either way, my carnivore-loving husband had two pieces. Dinner success! (I can’t really say the same for a quinoa recipe I tried earlier this summer….)

Barbara’s Filling (one pie)

  • 1/2 lb ground meat cooked in skillet with Mexican (taco) spices
  • Add layer of cheese
  • Add layer of sliced tomatoes
  • Add layer of cheese
  • Add layer of sliced tomatoes
  • Add layer of cheese
  • Sprinkle top with chili pepper, garlic, oregano powder, salt and pepper

She says this is good hot or even chilled the next day.