Pan con tomate is a simple and delicious recipe from the Catalan tradition. The recipe showcases the flavors and simplicity of Mediterranean food.

You can have pan con tomate for breakfast, a quick lunch, or an afternoon snack. It’s excellent when ripe tomatoes are at their best during the hot summer season.

Spanish pan con tomato with grated tomatoes
pan con tomate three ways

Pan con tomate (bread with tomato) is also known as Pa amb tomàquet in Catalonia, pan tumaca in the rest of Spain, and pane al pomodoro in Italy.

It’s a simple recipe from the peasant tradition, with a slice of rustic bread topped with ripe fresh tomatoes, sea salt, and plenty of good quality extra virgin olive oil.

The beauty of this recipe is the use of simple ingredients of the highest quality, the cornerstone of Mediterranean cooking.

So while pan con tomate is one of the simplest recipes on our blog, its success will be determined by your ability to find fresh, ripe, and tasty tomatoes, good artisanal bread, and good quality extra virgin olive oil.

If you are in for the challenge, get ready to be surprised by the wholesome, fresh, and genuine flavors of pan con tomate.

Here I’ll show you the classic recipe – as my nonna would make it – and the modern one that you can find in tapas bars in Barcelona.

traditional Pan con tomate on white bread

Pan con tomate video

Ingredients & Substitutions for Spanish tomato bread

Pan con Tomate ingredients

Tomatoes

Get ripe sun-kissed summer tomatoes. Vine tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, and other varieties of tomatoes are all good as long as the tomatoes are tasty and juicy, preferably from a farmer’s market.

Bread

Artisanal bread from your local bakery is best. Avoid bread that comes in a plastic package.

We use Tuscan bread, but you can also get your local sourdough loaf, ciabatta bread, and even a rustic baguette.

It’s best if the bread has a compact crumb with small holes that prevent the tomato and the oil from falling through.

Also, opt for lighter loaves of bread and avoid German-style, dark bread made from rye flour and with seeds. Their intense flavor will overpower the delicate taste of tomato olive oil flavor.

Olive oil

It must be extra virgin olive oil, best if cold pressed and made from olives of the Mediterranean (Italy, Spain, Greece).

Sea salt

Opt for sea salt or kosher salt, and avoid table salt.

Garlic (optional)

Garlic is optional; rub it on the bread before adding the tomato. This recipe shouldn’t be overly garlicky. A quick garlic rub is plenty.

Pan con tomate with heirloom tomatoes and garlic

How to make pan con tomate

Prepare the bread

Cut the bread into 1/3 inch (about 1 cm) thick slices.

If you like, you can lightly toast the bread in the oven, grill, or air fryer, but this is optional.

You can also rub the bread with garlic, which is also optional. Cut the garlic clove in half without peeling it, then rub the cut side on the crusty bread.

Hands with garlic on white bread and tomatoes

Classic pan con tomate

Rinse, dry, and cut the tomatoes in half.

Rub the cut side of the tomato on the bread until you are left with the peel.

Tip: use ripe tomatoes. You can discard the skin of the tomatoes or chop them up and add it on top of the bread.

rubbing ripe tomatoes on bread slices

Season Spanish tomato bread with a generous drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of sea salt.

Pan con tomate on white bread

Modern pan con tomate

Rinse and dry the tomatoes, then grate them into a bowl with the large holes of a box grater.

Hands with grater and tomatoes

Season the tomato pulp with extra virgin olive oil and salt and toss to combine.

Pan con tomate grated tomatoes

With a spoon, arrange the tomato mixture on the bread, drizzle with some tomato juices and olive oil, and sprinkle a pinch of flaky sea salt.

Pan con tomate with heirloom tomatoes on a white platter

Variations

Pan con tomate and white beans

Pan con tomate with white beans and parsley

Add cannellini beans to turn pan con tomate into a wholesome and fulfilling meal.

Toss the beans with olive oil, basil, salt, and black pepper and arrange them on the tomato.

Tomato Bruschetta

Bruschetta on a white cutting board

Tomato bruschetta is similar to pan con tomate, using the same ingredients.

In bruschetta, the tomatoes are chopped into dice and marinated in olive oil, salt, black pepper, basil, and crushed garlic before they are added to toasted bread.

Check out our tomato bruschetta recipe.

Serving suggestions

Breakfast

In Spain, pan con tomate is often served for breakfast.

Travel to Spain’s Southern and Eastern Mediterranean coast, and you’ll find it a delicious breakfast option in most hotels and cafes.

traditional Pan con tomate on white bread

Appetizer or side dish

Tired of bruschetta? Try this pan con tomate instead. Serve it next to crostini with:

Storage

Make ahead: pan con tomate does not store well because the bread quickly becomes soggy. However, you can make the tomato mixture up to 2 days early but only put it on the bread shortly before eating.

Refrigerator: keep the tomato mixture in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Freezer: this recipe is not suitable for freezing.

More tomato recipes

More appetizer ideas

Get more quick and easy appetizer inspiration from these colorful starters:

For many more starter ideas, check out our starters category page.

Pan con tomate on a white platter

Pan con Tomate (Spanish tomato bread)

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 4 votes
Pan con tomate is a simple and delicious recipe from the Catalan tradition. The recipe showcases the flavors and simplicity of Mediterranean food.
You can have pan con tomate for breakfast, a quick lunch, or an afternoon snack. It's excellent when ripe tomatoes are at their best during the hot summer season.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 4 slices
Course: Appetizer, Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: Mediterranean, Spanish

Ingredients

  • 4 slices crusty bread best if artisanal
  • 2 vine tomatoes ripe
  • extra virgin olive oil to taste
  • sea salt to taste
  • garlic rubbed on the bread, optional

Instructions 

  • Cut the bread into slices. Optionally, you can toast it and rub it with garlic.
    Hands with garlic on white bread and tomatoes

MODERN PAN CON TOMATE

  • Grate the tomatoes with the large holes of a box grater.
    Hands with grater and tomatoes
  • Season them with olive oil and salt.
    Pan con tomate grated tomatoes
  • Arrange tomato mixture on bread and serve.
    Pan con tomate with heirloom tomatoes on a white platter

TRADITIONAL PAN CON TOMATE

  • Cut the tomato in half and rub each half on a slice of bread until the tomato pulp is spread on the bread and you are left with the tomato peel.
    rubbing ripe tomatoes on bread slices
  • Season with olive oil and salt.
    Pan con tomate with mashed tomatoes

Video

My Nonna's Pan con Tomate

Notes

Nutrition information is an estimate for 1 slice of pan con tomate out of 4 slices.
STORAGE
Make ahead: pan con tomate does not store well because the bread quickly becomes soggy. However, you can make the tomato mixture up to 2 days early but only put it on the bread shortly before eating.
Refrigerator: keep the tomato mixture in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Freezer: this recipe is not suitable for freezing.
ALSO ON THIS PAGE

Nutrition

Calories: 247kcal, Carbohydrates: 36g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Potassium: 221mg, Dietary Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 512IU, Vitamin B6: 0.1mg, Vitamin C: 8mg, Vitamin E: 1mg, Vitamin K: 10µg, Calcium: 40mg, Folate: 88µg, Iron: 3mg, Manganese: 0.4mg, Magnesium: 27mg, Zinc: 1mg
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Nico and Louise in the kitchen

Hi! We are Nico & Louise

Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.

Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.

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5 from 4 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Made this and it brought back memories from my childhood. My Italian immigrant parents would make this with a good Italian bread and tomatoes from my dad’s garden. It is a heavenly snack or I would have it for lunch. I will try it with the beans for dinner. Love your recipes!!!

    1. Fantastic, Cindy. I’m so happy you were taken back to your childhood with this tomato bread 🙂
      Sounds like an excellent dinner with the added white beans. Enjoy.
      All the best,
      Nico & Louise