|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 5g||6%|
|Saturated Fat 3g||14%|
|Total Carbohydrate 13g||5%|
|Dietary Fiber 2g||8%|
|Total Sugars 4g|
|Vitamin C 19mg||93%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
Stuffed tomatoes are a fantastic vegetarian side dish. While they're ideal for summer meals and barbecues because that's the peak of tomato season, they make a versatile and easy addition to the dinner table any day of the year.
Filled with a mixture of Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses, breadcrumbs, chopped tomatoes, garlic, and herbs, these stuffed tomatoes are absolutely delicious and fill the kitchen with an inviting aroma. It takes just a few minutes to prepare the dish, and they cook quickly in the oven, though you can also pop them on the grill. There are several ways to customize the filling with different cheeses and herbs, rice, or Italian sausage, or scale the recipe up or down as needed.
Several tomato varieties work well. Be sure to choose ones that are large enough to hollow out and stuff. Any firm tomato that you would slice for sandwiches is a good choice. The classic large, red tomato (e.g., beefsteak, on-the-vine, etc.) is ideal, and some meatier heirloom varieties are great options, though the cooking time may vary slightly. Petite plum and cherry tomatoes are generally too small to stuff and the softer flesh doesn't make the best bowl.
Serve the stuffed tomatoes as an appetizer or side. They're a hearty complement to beef and pork, as well as vegetarian kebabs or even a fresh green salad. Leftovers make a nice lunch and just need to be reheated.
4 medium to large tomatoes
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 400 F, placing the rack in the center.
Slightly below the stem, cut the top off each tomato and use a spoon to carefully scoop out the inside. Drain out all of the liquid and discard as many seeds as possible. Set the tomatoes upside down to continue draining as you prepare the filling.
Chop the tomato that you scooped out and add it to a medium mixing bowl with the breadcrumbs, 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, garlic, and herbs. Mix well to combine.
Set the hollow tomatoes upright in a baking dish and fill each with equal amounts of the stuffing.
Bake the tomatoes for 15 to 20 minutes, until the skin just begins to crack, the filling is bubbly, and the cheese is melted. If you like (and use a broiler-safe dish), finish them under the broiler for about 2 minutes.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with fresh parsley before serving.
- To make clean-up easier, line the baking dish with foil. You can also use a baking sheet as long as it has a rim to catch any juices.
- A small spoon works rather well to core the tomato; run the spoon around the edge and scoop out the flesh. You may find that the bottom needs a little more prying. If needed, use a paring knife to cut any stubborn pieces. Try to avoid piercing the outer flesh and skin as you work; the filling will seal any small holes, but you want a nice, strong bowl.
- Don't worry about removing all of the seeds, though you do want to drain the tomato pulp well so the filling isn't too liquidy. You can also discard any tougher white pieces of the core if you like.
- Prep the stuffed tomatoes up to a day in advance. Cover and refrigerate, then bake right before serving.
How to Store
The stuffed tomatoes are best when freshly baked but will keep well for a day or two when refrigerated in an air-tight container. Reheat them in the oven at 400 F for about 15 minutes; a little extra cheese on top freshens them up. While not ideal because they will be softer, you can freeze the tomatoes before or after stuffing; let them thaw before baking as usual.
- Grilled stuffed tomatoes get a great smoky flavor, and you'll want to cook them in a cast-iron pan. The time required may vary but should be similar to the oven if the grill is heated to around 400 F.
- Use 1 1/2 teaspoons of a store-bought or homemade Italian seasoning or 1/2 tablespoon each of finely chopped fresh herbs.
- Switch to your favorite style of breadcrumbs. Panko, gluten-free, and seasoned breadcrumbs are great options. Make sure fresh breadcrumbs are very fine.
- Instead of breadcrumbs, add 1/3 cup of cooked rice, quinoa, or a similar grain. Ground Italian sausage or beef or chopped pepperoni (split evenly with breadcrumbs or a grain) are tasty and almost transform the potatoes into a light one-dish meal. These additions should be precooked because the tomato's baking time is short.
- Have fun with different styles of cheese, and pair them with various herbs. For instance, go with a Caprese-style tomato and use basil alone with fresh mozzarella, or pair gruyere with thyme, or feta and oregano.
- For vegan stuffed tomatoes, use your favorite dairy-free cheese.