What do I miss from living in New Jersey, you ask?  If you’ve never lived there, you are probably thinking – absolutely nothing.  But, there are many, many fabulous things in Jersey and what is referred to as the Tri-State area – New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.    So, here goes:  Wawa (the only convenience store, in my opinion), the beach and boardwalk at North Wildwood, the close proximity to Philadelphia and New York City, my friends,  Jersey girls don’t pump gas…and, of course, Jersey Tomatoes.  

The soil in Jersey makes these better than anywhere I’ve ever lived.  When I would visit friends who moved from Jersey, if in season, Jersey Tomatoes, along with a Wawa Soft Pretzel,  would be their request.

Well, Southeast Georgia, where I live now, has other great things going for it – but I still miss those tomatoes.

Last year, I made a concerted effort to grow delicious tomatoes here.  I did everything my green-thumb friend told me – put them in a container – used Tums for calcium in the soil  – used Miracle Gro potting soil.  I babied those things.  I talked to them.  And, then the big day arrived when the first tomato came off the vine.  With great anticipation I made the first juicy slice.  And, what was my reward, finally, for all that effort?  Have you heard Meghan Trainor?- “My name is NO.’  The taste was ‘NO’ good.  Quite possibly the worst tasting tomato ever.

So, this year I wasn’t interested in growing tomatoes.  But my husband snuck a tomato plant in my cart when I was buying herbs.  I literally threw it in the ground, staked it up and refused to pay one second of attention to it.  Well, the plant grew big and beautiful and the first ripe tomatoes came off the plant yesterday and they are amazing.  Is there a moral to this story?  Hmmm?

So, I’ve been thinking about this Tomato Pie for a few months now and it’s time has come.  Fresh home-grown tomatoes layered with scallions and fresh basil in a pre-baked gluten free pie shell.  Find the recipe for the pie shell here.  The topping is super simple – shredded provolone or mozzarella, cheddar cheese and your favorite mayo (mine is Hellman’s) and don’t forget the fresh basil and scallions here as well.  Slather that topping over the tomatoes, pop it in the oven for 30 minutes and you are on your way to heaven.

Just one caution.  Don’t skip the step where the tomato slices are salted, drained and patted dry.  If you do, your pie will be soupy!

So, here’s to JERSEY TOMATOES!!

Buon Appetito!

Deb Farina

Yields One 9″ pie or tart

Gluten Free Tomato Pie

The best of summer – vine-ripened tomatoes – layered with fresh basil and scallions and topped with a cheesy herbed mayonnaise.

1 hr, 30 Prep Time

30 minCook Time

2 hrTotal Time




  • 4 medium sized vine-ripened tomatoes, cut in 1/4″ thick slices
  • 10 Fresh basil leaves, chiffonade*, divided
  • 1/2 cup (about 3) chopped scallions – white and green parts, divided
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) provolone, shredded
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup (7.5 ounces) good quality mayonnaise (I use Hellman’s or home-made)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • What is chiffonade, you ask? It’s an easy way to cut long, thin strips of an herb. You simply stack your basil leaves one on top of the other, roll them up and make thin cuts.


  1. Prepare 9″ blind-baked pie shell. Can also use a 9″ tart pan with a removeable bottom.
  2. Core tomatoes and slice into 1/4″ thick slices. Lay out on two layers of paper towel. Lightly salt and let sit for 20 minutes. Rinse tomatoes and pat dry. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. If you do, your pie will end up soupy.
  3. Preheat oven to 350F.
  4. Combine the cheeses. Take 1/4 cup and sprinkle on the bottom of the cool, blind-baked pie shell.
  5. Using half of the basil and scallions, layer the tomatoes, basil and scallions on the bottom of the pie shell.
  6. Combine the remaining cheese, the remaining basil and scallions, mayonnaise and black pepper.
  7. Spread this mixture over the top of the layered tomatoes, being sure to cover the entire top.
  8. Place pie pan into the pre-heated oven and bake the pie for 30 minutes or until the cheese on top is melted and a beautiful golden brown.
  9. Let cool 5 to 10 minutes before cutting.
Cuisine: American | Recipe Type: Brunch


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