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Tomato, thyme and lemon brown betty

Diana Henry / 20 August 2015

This baked tomato recipe from Diana Henry can be served as a vegetarian main or as a side dish.

Tomato brown betty
This tomato brown betty can be served as a main or a side

Cooking time

40-45 minutes




  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 550g plum tomatoes, finely sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 fat clove garlic
  • 2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • Leaves of 8, sprigs lemon thyme
  • 120g breadcrumbs (something with a good flavour, such as sourdough bread, is best)
  • 75g goats cheese, crumbled
  • 25g Parmesan*, grated

*Or vegetarian alternative if catering for vegetarians.


Drizzle a little olive oil over the base of an ovenproof dish and lay half the tomatoes on top. Drizzle with a little more oil.

Season, grate half of the garlic on top, sprinkle with half the lemon, half the thyme and half the breadcrumbs. Drizzle with more oil, scatter on all the goat’s cheese, then build another layer of tomatoes, garlic, herbs and lemon, seasoning and drizzling with oil as you go.

Put the rest of the breadcrumbs on top and scatter with the parmesan. Bake in an oven preheated to 200 C for 40-45 minutes. The top will be golden, with the tomato juices just starting to bubble through to the surface.


This is a good side dish to go with lamb but I also make it as a main course for a light supper or lunch. The tomato juices soak the breadcrumbs and mix with the olive oil making a lovely, heady, surprisingly rich dish (it only uses simple ingredients, after all). 

It’s great reheated the following day and topped with a poached egg.

This recipe serves two as a main course or four as a side dish.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.