I hope you are not buying tomatoes at supermarket in September. OK, if you are, I hope you are making sure they are not from Mexico, in September. Because right now is prime tomato harvest season near you. Actually, ALL fruits and veggies coming down with a blasting speed, making me completely mad woman because I want to buy them ALL, and in fact I seem to be doing just that – see my last farmers market haul. I keep ordering produce by boxes in advance, out of fear I might be left out, and last one was of taxi tomatoes, “because they are yellow, mom”. Right, makes sense and just like that I’m not “mommy” anymore. They do grow up fast, and I’m just fine with that.
Rice stuffed tomatoes is entirely European concept. Born in North America, I’m not sure what kind of stuffed tomatoes (if any) you have tried, but it is my immigrant’s duty to convince you that stuffing tomatoes is easier than stuffing peppers, and for sure cabbage rolls (solution => lazy cabbage rolls). Stuffed tomatoes with brown rice, black beans, homemade enchilada sauce and melted cheese on top, make healthy vegetarian budget friendly dinner. If eating less meat is your goal (and it should be, as traditional Western diet is heavy on animal products), rice stuffed tomatoes are for you; I served them along pre-made falafel from Costco (which was OK), and quick sauce made with Greek yogurt, parsley and garlic. It is definitely kid friendly dinner, depending what your kids are “friends” with, which we made clear before depends entirely on you (not your kids) => 5 ways to make kids eat healthy.
And if you feel like stuffing, check out my chicken stuffed peppers, quinoa stuffed eggplant, and stuffed portobellos. And if you went a little cray-cray with tomatoes
at the supermarket, make this chicken breast with tomatoes and garlic.
How to Make Rice Stuffed Tomatoes
Any kind of tomatoes work. If you happen to use roma tomatoes that are elongated rather than round, just cut bottoms off to make them stand, and pack tightly in the dish. Giant heirloom and beefsteak are no problem too.
Using sharp (serrated) paring knife, cut the tops off, then the middle (without cutting through the bottom), and scoop out the seeds and flesh into the blender.
Along with a can of tomato paste, garlic, taco seasoning, cumin, salt and pepper, it will become your healthy homemade enchilada sauce.
Combine half of enchilada sauce with cooked brown rice (which cooks while you work on tomatoes), black beans (I added frozen to a pot with hot rice and covered for 2 minutes => how to cook dried beans), and cilantro.
Stuff tomato shells to the brim and over the top, even spread remaining stuffing in between combined with remaining enchilada sauce. Think of a delicious stuffed pepper hot mess on your plate, maybe with some Greek yogurt, and whole wheat toast. Mmmmmm.
Bake for 30 minutes, sprinkle with cheese, melt it and voila.
Rice stuffed tomatoes. Kids usually like stuffed food, and these are very mild, and with cheese on top. Should go well! Enjoy!
- 1 cup brown rice
- 4 lbs medium-large tomatoes
- 14 oz can beans, rinsed & drained
- 6 oz can tomato paste
- 1 tbsp organic taco seasoning
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tiny garlic clove
- 1 tsp salt
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 small bunch cilantro, finely chopped
- 4 oz (1 cup) Tex Mex, marble or sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- Cooking spray (I use Misto)
- Cook rice as per package instructions. Spray large (9” x 13”) baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- While rice is cooking, prepare tomatoes. Using sharp (serrated) paring knife, cut tops off (placing in the blender), then middle around the circle (without cutting through the bottom), and scoop out seeds and flesh into the blender. Place tomatoes, facing cut side upright, into previously prepared baking dish.
- To the blender, add tomato paste, taco seasoning, cumin, garlic clove, salt and pepper. Process until smooth enchilada sauce forms.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. To the pot with cooked brown rice, add beans, almost all of cilantro, and half of enchilada sauce; mix to combine. Stuff tomatoes as much as you can (over the top), and if you have any leftover stuffing (more likely) mix it with remaining enchilada sauce, and pour in between stuffed tomatoes.
- Bake for 30 minutes, sprinkle with cheese and bake for a few more minutes until cheese is melted; sprinkle with remaining cilantro. You can serve warm immediately with a side of meat or falafel, Greek yogurt and whole wheat toast. If you let rice stuffed tomatoes to sit covered for at least an hour, they will be more flavourful and rice will expand even more. But that’s optional.
You can add a pound of pre-browned ground meat to the stuffing, or even shredded cooked chicken.