Fried Green Tomato Hornworms

Staff Writer
Would you dare to eat this bold and buggy appetizer?
Fried Green Tomato Hornworms
Chugrad McAndrews

What does a tomato hornworm taste like? Well, what would you taste like if you'd been stuffing yourself solely with tomato leaves for the better part of a month? Hornworms, which are ridiculously rich in chlorophyll, taste great with just about any summer vegetable, but my favorite recipe draws inspiration from the cuisine of the Whistle Stop Café, that fictitious Alabama diner made famous by novelist Fannie Flagg. 

Deliver Ingredients


  • 3 Tablespoons tomato hornworms
  • 4 medium green tomatoes, sliced into 16 1/4-inch rounds
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • White cornmeal, as needed
  • 16-20 small basil leaves


In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add the hornworms and fry lightly for about 4 minutes, taking care not to rupture the cuticles of each insect under high heat. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Season the tomato rounds with salt and pepper to taste, then coat with cornmeal on both sides.

In another large skillet or wok, heat the remaining oil and fry the tomatoes until lightly browned on both sides.

Top each tomato round with 2 fried tomato hornworms.

Garnish with basil leaves and serve immediately.

Fried Green Tomato Shopping Tip

Southern food is a mixture of Native American, Creole, and European influences. Staples of this comfort food include corn (in all its forms), honey, chicken, pork, and seafood, all easily found at any neighborhood grocery store.

Fried Green Tomato Cooking Tip

Southern and comfort food is often rich and heavy, be sure to include lots of greens and vegetables with these dishes.