Tomato Casserole

Cook and activist Mable Clarke serves this craveable side dish at the monthly fish fry she started to save the Soapstone Baptist Church in South Carolina. While the cheese crackers may draw you in, it's the baked tomatoes that keep you coming back for more. When she's cooking for hundreds of guests at the fish fry, Clarke uses canned tomatoes and green chiles for this dish. Since you're likely not cooking for 400, we adapted the recipe to use fresh tomatoes.


    • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    • 2 medium onions, very thinly sliced
    • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
    • 6 cups chopped tomatoes (about 2 pounds)
    • ¼ cup chopped pickled jalapeños
    • 2 cups crushed cheese-flavored crackers, such as Cheez-Its, divided
    • 1 ¼ cups mayonnaise
    • ¾ cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
    • ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until golden, about 10 minutes. Season with pepper.
  3. Combine tomatoes and jalapeños in a large bowl. Spread 1 cup cracker crumbs in the prepared baking dish. Top with half the tomato mixture. Layer on the onions. Top with the remaining tomato mixture. Combine mayonnaise, Cheddar, Parmesan and basil in a medium bowl; spread on top of the casserole. Top with the remaining 1 cup cracker crumbs.
  4. Bake until bubbling and the cheese has melted, 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.