South African Rainbow Bread

South African Rainbow Bread

South Africans has the weirdest taste in food. Great food, but sometimes the combinations that we concoct is a little bit too cultured for the Western civilisation’s tastebuds!

Take for example my mum’s rainbow bread. We serve rainbow bread every Christmas Eve as part of our snack selection. It doesn’t make sense, but it looks soooooo pretty! And it really does taste like Christmas.

I’m not sure if this truly is a South African dish or if it is just something that is a huge hit in my family as you will always find this at our Christmas table. It consist of three differently coloured breads. Most often, in our house, the red colour comes from tomatoes, the green from basil and the yellow from egg. It is served thinly sliced as part of a snack table or afternoon tea. Word of advice: this is so much easier with an electric knife!

Let me know in the comments what you think about our Rainbow bread (also known as reënboogtoebroodjies in Afrikaans).

Mum's Fancy Rainbow Bread

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1/2 unsliced loaf of bread
  • 100g butter, soft
  • ¼ cup tomato ketchup
  • ¼ basil pesto
  • 2 large eggs, hardboiled and mashed
  • 50g mayonnaise


  1. Split the butter evenly between two bowls with the mayonnaise in the third bowl.
  2. Mix the ketchup into one bowl of butter, the basil pesto into another bowl of butter and the eggs into the bowl of mayo. These are your three colours.
  3. Slice the bread length-wise into 12 equal slices. They should be longer than they are wide.
  4. Take three slices and spread a thin red layer evenly over all three. Take another three slices and spread over the egg mayo and again three slices of the pesto butter.
  5. Take one red slice, one yellow slice and one green slice and stack them on top of each other. Finish the sandwich with a plain slice of bread. Put this sandwich to one side. Start this process again until you have three completely layered sandwiches.
  6. Wrap each sandwich tightly in clingfilm and place in the freezer for an hour and a half.
  7. After an hour and a half take the sandwiches out of the freezer and remove the clingfilm. Carefully remove the crusts and slice into thin slices, revealing the three layers in each slice.

Fancy to discover some more South African recipes?

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3 Comments on “South African Rainbow Bread

  1. Pingback: Traditional South African Christmas (part 1) – Life, with Clotted Cream

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