Stuffed tomatoes

It’s been a while since I’ve done a stuffed veggies dish and when I saw this one I had to try it immediately.  I love tomatoes, especially in the summertime, and the mix of goodies that went into this one looked amazing.  As you all know I have a slight obsession with chickpeas (really, almost all vegetarian recipes just taste better if you add chickpeas) and the combination of chickpeas with other healthy goodies like mushrooms and spinach is delicious.  Add basil and parsley and the juice of the tomatoes that you stuff and you get a mixture full of really fresh simple flavors.  I definitely got excited about the stuffing and cooked up too much for the available tomatoes I had, which is totally fine as you could just eat the stuffing with a spoon. Or, just get some extra tomatoes to stuff.

As with most recipes I post here, it’s quite easy to add your own variations.  Substitute spinach for kale, put in some different herbs, leave out mushrooms, add olives, maybe add in some diced carrots with the onion – leave it up to your tastes!

Stuffed tomatoes (adapted from Mari Jasmine)

Ingredients

  • 4 large tomatoes
  • Handful of mushrooms
  • Handful of pitted olives (optional)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic (or just squeeze some garlic out from a tube…I know, sacrilegious but so much easier)
  • 1/2 cup spinach, chopped (feel free to use more since spinach wilts down so much, or use kale!)
  • 1/4 cup mixed basil and parsley leaves, torn into small pieces
  • 1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • Sea salt and ground pepper
  • Shredded parmesan cheese (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 F / 180 C.  Cut the tops of the tomatoes off and scoop out all the flesh and seeds, but set them aside for use in the recipe.  Place them upside down on a plate to drain while you are preparing the other ingredients.

Crush and chop the garlic finely (or squeeze some out of your handy tube) and sauté it with the diced onion in a pan for 3-5 minutes, until they become soft.  Then add the insides of the tomatoes, the chickpeas, mushrooms, and olives (if using) to the pan.  Turn down the heat to low and simmer for another 5-7 minutes or until the liquid has significantly reduced.  Keep an eye on it and stir it frequently.

Once the mixture is tender, remove from heat and add the spinach, basil and parsley.  Season it with salt and pepper to taste.  Finally, stuff the tomatoes with the mixture.  Place them on a baking sheet covered in foil and bake for 10-15 minutes.  I chose to take mine out halfway through the baking time and sprinkle with shredded parmesan cheese, which browned nicely once the tomatoes were done.  Serve warm.

IMG_9120Mixing up the chickpeas, onions, and garlic

IMG_9121Adding the insides of the tomatoes and the mushrooms

IMG_9122Chopped spinach and scooped out tomatoes

IMG_9123Adding the greens to the pan after it’s been removed from the heat – they will wilt immediately

IMG_9124Stuffing the tomatoes with the mixture (My tomatoes were a bit small so I used five)

IMG_9125Finished product sprinkled with cheese that browned when the tomatoes were done

These are utterly delicious and make a perfect side to a piece of meat like chicken or fish (I actually served them with baked salmon).  Or, you could make them the main attraction of the meal and just serve with a nice green salad on the side.  I could have eaten the mixture by itself with a spoon from the pan (and in fact I did a little bit).  But it does look more attractive baked in these lovely tomato shells.  Particularly when tomatoes are in season, this is an amazing dish to try.  So great for summer!

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