Student Suppers: Tomato & Cornbread Crumble

Savoury Tomato & Cornbread Crumble

This is only the second summer as long as I remember where I’ve not had more tomatoes than I know what to do with. At the house I grew up in, which my parents moved out of the beginning of last year we had an industrial sized greenhouse which was pretty much entirely planted with them and over the years we’ve made everything from soups to salads, from bruschettas to fried green tomatoes. While I don’t have access to quite as many beautiful tomatoes as I used to, I still get really excited when I come across a recipe that is perfect for a delicious seasonal glut. This Tomato & Cornbread Crumble, adapted from Food 52 does just that and with its crunchy, cornbread flavoured topping just screams summer. Serve it as a side or as a simple vegetarian supper with a green salad on the side, perhaps tossed with some of my Skinny Buttermilk Ranch Dressing?
Tomato & Cornbread Crumble
Tomato and Cornbread Crumble

Not only does this crumble fulfil at least one of my summertime need to eat all the tomatoes, all the corn on the cob and all the peaches, but it is great in the middle of this oppressive heatwave because it is delicious served hot, warm or at room temperature, so if your kitchen is not one you want to spend time in at the moment (I actually like being in mine, it gets freezing in the winter because it is so badly insulated and there is no radiator, but it is the coolest room at the moment!) you can make this either first thing in the morning when it is a little cooler, or last thing at night for the next day and take advantage of the times when turning on the oven is just about bearable. Pour yourself a tall glass of sparkling water with lots of ice and a couple of tablespoons of your favourite fruit vinegar (this will make you the most stupidly hydrating, instant shrub – thanks to the Mighty Fine Things team for this tip while I was tasting their amazing Faversham Raspberry Vinegar the other day!) and get the assembly work done, then just leave the oven to do its thing.
Tomato and Cornbread Crumble with Buttermilk Ranch Salad
Savoury Tomato and Cornbread Crumble

This crumble serves two as a main dish or a solo side (so with either salad as the main event, or as the only side to a piece of meat, sausages or similar), or up to four people with a different side or two in the picture. You may need a few more tomatoes depending on your dish; I’m using this Pyrex one which is pretty cheap if you don’t already have similar.

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Tomato & Cornbread Crumble

  • Author: Rachel Phipps
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 2-4 1x
  • Cuisine: American


An easy, delicious way to use some of the late summer tomato glug as a veggie main or a unique side inspired by the American South.


  • 420g (15 oz) Ripe Tomatoes, cut into rough chunks
  • 1 tbsp Cornflour
  • 1 tsp Dried Chilli Flakes
  • 2 Large Garlic Cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Picked Thyme Leaves
  • Sea Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 75g (2.5 oz) Plain (All Purpose) Flour
  • 75g (2.5 oz) Cornmeal or Polenta
  • 55g (2 oz) Unsalted Butter, cold from the fridge and cut into small chunks
  • 60ml (2 fl oz) Buttermilk


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees (375 Farenheit).
  2. Toss the tomato chunks together with the cornflour, chilli flakes, crushed garlic, thyme leaves and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Scatter across the bottom of a baking dish so that they form a single layer.
  3. To make the cornbread crumble topping combine the flour and cornmeal together with some more salt and pepper. Add the butter, and rub the flour mixture into the chunks until you’re left with a course sand.
  4. Stir in the buttermilk to form a loose dough, and scatter the chunks over the tomato mixture (see photos).
  5. Bake for 40 minutes and leave to stand for 10 minutes before serving.