Is there anything better than tomatoes in the summertime? I love tomatoes and tonight was the perfect night to make them since Jon wasn't home for dinner. He doesn't like tomatoes unless they are in my salsa ...how can you not like tomatoes?
Tonight's dish was tomatoes stuffed with a mixture of ground meat (I used the vegetarian recipe crumbles made by Morningstar Farms), rice, spinach, and spices. You could use any type of ground meat that you like. I don't eat it, but I imagine that seafood would work as well, such as ground shrimp. These are a great summer meal - just add a nice salad and crusty bread and you're set.
- I took 6 vine-ripened tomatoes and cleaned them out. To hollow them, start by making a hole in the top with a knife (keep your knife angled and only go halfway down so you don't break the tomato). Remove the lid and scoop out the insides with a spoon, keeping the juices in a separate bowl. Put the tomatoes in a baking dish that has been coated with olive oil. I rubbed the tomatoes in the oil too.
- Cook 1/2 c rice.
- Cook ground meat. I added 1/4 of a small onion, 2 cloves minced garlic, a few shakes of red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and oregano to the meat while it was cooking. I also added a few tablespoons of the tomato juice. If you use real meat, add more juice. You could also add tomato sauce instead of the tomato juices.
- Wilt a handful of fresh spinach. I used the microwave for this - 25 seconds on high does the trick.
- Combine the rice, meat, and chopped spinach (add rice slowly - you may not need to use all of it).
- Add some Parmesan cheese (just a few pinches).
- Spoon the mixture into the tomatoes being careful not to break them.
- Top with a little Parmesan cheese.
- Bake on 325 for about 15-20 minutes until tender, but not falling apart.
To change the flavor, change up your spices. For example, you could add chili powder, cilantro and cumin for Southwestern stuffed tomatoes (leave out the oregano, or use Mexican oregano). Be as creative as you'd like - that's the fun of cooking.
You could also make stuffed peppers using the same recipe. Tips if cooking peppers: coat the bottom of your baking dish with tomato sauce to keep them moist, add more juice/sauce to the meat mixture, and cook for about 25-30 minutes until tender. Print this post