July 8, 2015

Quinoa Stuffed Tomatoes

Okay, this is another long-pending item going off my list. Stuffed tomatoes (or stuffed veggies) has been on my bucket list ever since I started blogging. But, I was very hesitant as I wasn't sure how it would turn out or if my family would like it, especially the kids.

But, with a dozen ripe tomatoes in my pantry waiting to be used and with a recipe for "Stuffed Tomatoes" from Giada herself (co-incidentally I had this book on "Everyday Italian Cooking" by Giada), I thought it would be a crime to let the recipe go.

And, I am so glad that I tried the recipe. It was hit among us.. myself and VJ just loved it. However the kids, being "tomato-haters", obviously did not enjoy this recipe much. Though they liked the stuffing, they did not like the tomatoes. 

Note to self: Try the stuffing next time with other vegetables like bell-pepper/zucchini/eggplant etc.

You must also try this recipe for two reasons. First, this recipe is so easy to make - you can prep the tomatoes & the stuffing well ahead; just assemble & bake whenever needed. Also, this is one great fancy dish, which is also nutritious & filling by the way, that you can bring to a party / get-together as an entree or a side.

Though, my recipe has freshly cooked quinoa, sautéed with onion, peppers & tomatoes, you could also use left-over quinoa, rice (original recipe uses rice), couscous, orzo etc. Key to nail this recipe - Big/ripe tomatoes that is also firm, like beef-steak tomatoes.

Feel free to replace bell-peppers in the recipe with zucchini, squash and the like.

Basic Info
Complexity - Medium
Prep time - 20 mins
Cook time - 30 mins
Serves - 6 side-dish servings

adapted from "Everyday Italian Cooking" by Giada

2/3 cup quinoa

6 ripe but firm beefsteak tomatoes

1-2 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, about 1/2 cup chopped shallots
1 garlic clove
3-4 mini peppers (mix of orange, red & yellow peppers), about 1/2 cup chopped peppers

3 tbsp chopped basil
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/8 cup mozzarella cheese
1/8 cup parmesan cheese

Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 deg F. Lightly coat an 8 inch square baking dish with a tsp of oil. Cut a 1/2 inch thick slice off the top of each tomato. Reserve the tops. Scoop and reserve the pulp and juice from each into a small bowl. Place the hollowed tomatoes in the prepared dish.

Wash quinoa, cook with double the quantity of water and let it cool. When cold, fluff up quinoa using a fork.

Heat a tbsp of oil. When hot, add chopped onion, garlic, chopped bell pepper, dried basil & dried oregano. When onion and bell peppers turns soft, add the reserved tomato pulp & juice and cook until the mixture thickens, about 10 mins.

To this, add fluffed up quinoa, salt, pepper, chopped basil, mozzarella & parmesan cheese and give it a good toss. Taste to adjust salt & pepper.

Spoon the quinoa mixture into the hollowed tomatoes mounding slightly. Replace the reserved tops and bake until the quinoa is heated through, about 20-25 mins. Serve hot or at room temperature.

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