The Secret Ingredient You Should Add To Tomato Sandwiches (Hint: It's Not Salt)

Tomato sandwiches are a delicious, refreshing, and simple staple dish in the south. They can be made as quickly as slicing some nearby tomatoes and tossing them on bread. Or, with only a few extra minutes of your time, you can bring your tomato sandwich to the next level by toasting the bread and spreading and sprinkling a few extra flavorings, like in this easy toasted tomato sandwich recipe.


No matter how you prefer your tomato sandwiches, there is one extra ingredient that will elevate the dish beyond your wildest imagination, and it may not be an ingredient you would expect. Furikake is the seasoning that will give your tomato sandwich the magic touch you did not even realize it needed. A seasoning originating in Japan, furikake has been adding an irresistibly salty seafood flavor to Japanese food for centuries. Though it is most traditionally used on rice and stir-frys, it can also pair well with dishes beyond the scope of Asian cuisine. A tomato sandwich is the perfect example.

What makes the furikake and tomato combination work so well

In the American South, many people will swear that there is an art to making a tomato sandwich, and it involves white bread, ripe tomato, salt, black pepper and mayonnaise. Eric Kim of the New York Times challenged that notion though, revealing that he adds furikake seasoning to his tomato sandwiches in a TikTok video.



Add furikake to your tomato sandwiches 🗣️ #foodtok #tomatosandwich #furikake

♬ Two Summers – Sunbeam Sound Machine

A blend of sesame seeds, dried seaweed, dried fish, and salt or MSG, furikake offers a rich mix of umami flavors to complement the earthy flavors of a standard tomato sandwich. A good sprinkle of the umami seasoning will create a more complex flavor profile in every bite than salt and pepper would on their own. As Kim explains, the seaweed in the furikake "amplifies" the savoriness that's already in the tomato." Additionally, the saltiness of the furikake provides a delightful contrast to the sweet tanginess of the tomato.

Constructing a flawless furikake tomato sandwich

Though furikake does a lot of the heavy lifting in flavoring a tomato sandwich, it can only work in tandem with tomatoes that pull their weight too. The most classic Southern recipes call for plumper, juicier, riper tomatoes, like heirloom beefsteak tomatoes, ideally picked right from your garden. If picking tomatoes from a personal green space is not an option for you, consider investing in one of the fresher varieties at your grocery store or local market. Different colored tomatoes are best since they offer slightly different flavors, but it will not make or break your sandwich if you only have one color.


In the video, Kim seasons the tomato slices with salt and pepper, which you can do as well. However, you may want to be cautious of how much extra salt you add since most furikake seasonings come salted. Too much extra salt will overpower the other flavors that deserve your tastebuds' attention.

As for the secret ingredient that brings it all together, sprinkle a thin layer of furikake on each slice of toast after spreading mayonnaise. The mayonnaise acts as a glue that keeps the seasoning intact. Once your tomato sandwich is assembled, slice it in half so you can admire that beautiful cross-section. Enjoy your furikake-enhanced masterpiece!