Do you KNOW how many recipes there are in the world for stuffed tomatoes where the stuffing is nothing more than breadcrumbs and some salt and pepper? I’m sure it’s delicious, really. You could put bread product in basically any food and I’d eat it for days. But I feel like I couldn’t quite get away with serving mostly breadcrumbs to Mike for dinner.
Besides – there are so many awesome ways to stuff a tomato, right? I was going to do quinoa and kale for this recipe, but got to thinking about other grains and other dishes and remembered suddenly how much I loved Spanish Rice when my mother would make it when I was a kid. (If my mother is reading this, I want to be candid that I do realize I could be remembering this incorrectly and perhaps I did not love it as a kid, but I certainly consider it a food that I recall eating as a kid and enjoy eating today. So same thing, right?)
I also wanted to share this adorable farm stand that I discovered while running to work one day. (These are the perks of not driving – I tend to pay more attention to what’s going on around me). Check this out:
This person keeps a little bucket near the veggies for your money and it’s completely an honors-system operation. I love it. So I got a few of the tomatoes for this meal from this little stop on my way home.
This dish is super yummy and has the added benefit of providing probably all the lycopenes a person needs for a successful week! The rice you use is completely up to you. I used Jasmine because as I have mentioned it is by far my favorite type of rice, but I imagine a wild or brown rice would also be spectacular in this dish.
What You Need:
- 5-7 medium red tomatoes or heirloom tomatoes if you can get your hands on them
- 1 small onion, chopped OR 1/2 of a medium-large onion, chopped
- 2 small garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped (optional)
- 1 small or 1/2 of a large red or green bell pepper, chopped
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup rice
- 1-8oz can diced tomatoes in their juices
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground pepper
- 1 tsp cilantro (finely chopped fresh or ground)
- 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/8 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
What You Do:
Preheat your oven to 350F.
Bring the vegetable broth to boiling in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the rice. Cover and let simmer for 10-15 minutes or until liquid is gone and rice is cooked.
While the rice is cooking, heat a 2 tsp olive oil in a medium skillet and add the chopped onion, garlic, jalapeno (if using) and bell peppers.
Let simmer, stirring frequently, until softened and cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside.
Take your tomatoes and using a small paring knife, slice off just the very top to remove the stem area.
Cut in a circle around the perimeter of the inside of the tomato, basically hulling out the middle stem part and goopy insides, being careful not to slice into the body of the tomato or through the bottom.
Using a spoon, scoop out the insides and carefully clean around the inside to open up a nice space for filling, still being careful not to cut into or damage the body of the tomato.
Arrange the hollowed-out tomatoes in a large baking dish with a small amount (1/4 cup) of water in the bottom.
Combine the onion mixture with the rice mixture, and add the diced tomatoes and chopped cilantro, and stir up well to make the stuffing. Add salt and pepper and mix again.
Using a tablespoon, scoop the stuffing into the hollowed-out insides of each tomato, packing it down and letting extra stuffing flow out the top of the tomatoes.
Combing the panko breadcrumbs and shredded Parmesan cheese and sprinkle over each tomato.
Bake for about 45 minutes or until the tomatoes are pinched and the breadcrumbs begin to brown.
Add more water to the bottom of the baking dish if necessary after about 20 minutes.
Pro Tip: As noted above, I think this would be marvelous with another rice such as wild or brown! Also, in a pinch you can use salsa instead of diced tomatoes and just add less garlic and probably nix the cilantro.