Since I’m tired of tomatoes taking over my counter, I’ve decided that this week will be TOMATO WEEK!
Today’s dish is Cheesy Stuffed Tomatoes; a new family favorite thanks to my sister, Lisa, who discovered a version of this recipe a few years back. Savory and filling, these tasty bites make the perfect summer dinner or appetizer.
What I love about this recipe is that it’s so versatile! Here are just a few of the combination possibilities with these cheesy stuffed tomatoes:
- Greek: ground lamb,quinoa, dried oregano and feta cheese
- Mexican: ground beef, brown rice, cumin and Monterrey Jack
- Italian: ground Italian sausage, orzo, basil and Romano cheese
- Whatever: ground turkey, barley, parsley and cheddar
Cheesy Stuffed Tomatoes
Step 1: First, choose your favorite grain and let it cook while you prepare the tomatoes. Prepare enough to make one cup.
Step 2: Prep your tomatoes. Any size will do. Since the tomatoes in my garden are now on the smallish side, I used about 20 palm-sized tomatoes. You could also use about 10 extra-large beefsteak tomatoes, as well.
Slice about a quarter to a half inch off the tops. Carefully scoop the pulp and juices into a bowl and set aside; you’ll use this later. Place the tomato shells in a greased 9×13 glass baking dish and set aside.
Step 3: Prepare the filling.
In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat and add one medium, diced onion. Saute for 5 minutes and then add 1 large, minced garlic clove and 1 pound of ground meat (I chose 90% lean turkey). Stir in 2 teaspoons of dried basil or your favorite dried herb along with a teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon of pepper.
Cook’s Note: If you prefer to use stronger herbs like thyme or oregano use only 1 teaspoon. For rosemary, use only 1/4-1/2 teaspoon.
Once the meat is browned, add 1 cup cooked quinoa or your favorite cooked grain and 1 cup of the reserved tomato pulp. Cook one minute.
In a small bowl, lightly beat one large egg and add it to the skillet along with 1/2 cup your favorite cheese. (I used an Italian blend of Parmesan, pecorino and mozzarella.) Stir and turn off heat.
Preheat your oven to 350˚
Carefully spoon the meat mixture into the tomato shells (I like mine nice and full) and bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle the tops with an additional 1/2 cup of cheese and bake another 5 minutes.
Allow tomatoes to sit 5 minutes before serving.
Stuffed bell peppers and stuffed squash are tasty, but these cheesy stuffed tomatoes top them both!
What are some ways you enjoy preparing tomatoes?
- 10 extra-large tomatoes or 20 medium-sized tomatoes
- 1 cup prepared quinoa or your favorite grain
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound ground beef or turkey (90% lean)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 2 teaspoons dried basil (if using thyme or oregano, use only 1 tsp.)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 cup shredded cheddar or your favorite cheese, divided
- Cut about one-half inch off the tops of the tomatoes and carefully scoop the pulp and juices into a bowl. Reserve the juice and pulp! Place tomato shells in a greased 9×13 pan and set aside. (If you’d like, do this step while your quinoa/grain is cooking.)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat and add the onion. Saute 5 minutes and add the garlic and ground meat. Stir and add the basil, salt and pepper.
- Brown the meat until no longer pink and then add 1 cup of the reserved tomato pulp and juices and the cup of cooked quinoa/grain. Stir and cook 1 minute.Pour in egg and only 1/2 cup of the cheese and stir well.
- Fill the tomato shells with the meat mixture and bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
- Sprinkle the tops of the tomatoes with the rest of the cheese and bake another 5 minutes. Allow tomatoes to sit for 5 minutes before serving.