Stuffed Tomatoes – Easy Recipe
As the summer fades and days get shorter, one of the consolations is the abundance of fruit and vegetables available. Although tomatoes are available all year round, local tomatoes are usually the best when in season. We are used now to having tomatoes available all year round, but usually they are bland and unexciting that it is easy to forget what really rip, freshly picked tomatoes taste like!
This easy vegetarian stuffed tomato recipe is great for a midweek supper and is a great way to get the sweet flavour of tomatoes
Tomatoes – Are They Fruit Or Vegetables?
Let me say here too that a tomato is scientifically a fruit, but is often referred to as a vegetable because of the way it is generally treated in cooking. Anything that has seeds inside it is a fruit. Surprisingly this makes beans, squash, courgette and cucumber all fruits. Like tomatoes, we tend to refer to them as vegetables because of they way they are used or cooked, as a savoury food rather than as a sweet food.
There are literally thousands of varieties of tomatoes of different shapes, sizes and colours. This year I have grown some yellow cherry tomatoes, which are wonderfully delicious! Sweet cherry tomatoes are great for salads or picnics as they are so easy to eat whole and larger tomatoes are great for slicing for salads or sandwiches
Home Grown Tomatoes
As a child I was lucky enough to live near someone who had a greenhouse full of tomatoes. Just the delightful smell of the ripe fruit takes me back to those days, being allowed to pick them from the vine and eat them there and then, probably with juice dribbling down my chin!
Eating tomatoes raw is probably the best way to get the most from them, but if you have a surplus, cooking them can be a joy too! And research has shown that cooked tomatoes, are better for us than raw ones!
When it comes to cooking I often tend to use packaged chopped tomatoes in stews and for pizzas. For concentrated tomato flavour, I use tomato puree. However there are some excellent ways to make the most of the tomato harvest. Stuffed tomatoes uses the whole tomato and brings out its flavour by baking in the oven.
Easy Vegetarian Stuffed Tomato Recipe
The recipe I used is based on one from a vegetarian book first published in the late 1960s but that still has much praise and quite a following today. It is possibly the American equivalent of the Cranks cookbook in that it was quite revolutionary in its day. It also shares the brown colours which seem to be indicative of both vegetarian books and restaurants of the day (and it has to be said, of some of the food!)
This book does however seem to be ahead of its time and I look forward to delving deeper into its pages. It was loaned to me by an American friend of mine, who bought it in the 1970s and has cooked with it ever since. Inside the front cover I think I have never seen a more succinct reason for vegetarianism. To quote:-
Why vegetarian cookery? Because it yields zestful meals, high in nutrition, modest in cost and mindful of the sanctity of life and of the food needs of the whole planet‘
I am not a vegetarian but have a leaning towards it and if I ever need to explain why, I think that outlines the reason.
To make this recipe, you will need to choose firm ripe tomatoes and a size that can reasonably be stuffed! So long as they are firm, average size tomatoes will be fine. You will just need two per person. If you can find some lovely beefsteak tomatoes, these are ideal and you will just need one per person.
You can vary the vegetables in the stuffing mix. Mushrooms, diced squash or chopped courgette are all possibilities, so experiment and ring the changes!
This recipe goes well with baked potatoes, which can be started off in the oven 30 minutes or so before you begin preparing this recipe – or cook in microwave and place in with tomatoes to finish off.
Easy Vegetarian Stuffed Tomato Recipe
- 4 large or 8 medium tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion peeled and chopped
- 1 small green pepper, deseeded and chopped
- 1 small can (198g or similar) sweetcorn, drained
- 2 tablespoons frozen peas
- 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
- 75g cheddar cheese, grated
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C
- Slice off the tops of the tomatoes and cut out the pulp with a sharp knife
- Chop up the pulp and put to one side with all juice and seeds
- Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan
- Add the onions and fry gently for a few minutes
- Add the peppers and cook until soft
- Add the corn, peas and tomato pulp and heat through
- Add the breadcrumbs and half the cheese
- Place the tomato cases on a baking dish
- Spoon the vegetable mixture into the tomato cases
- Place any remaining vegetable mixture around the base of the tomatoes
- Sprinkle with the remaining cheese
- Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft
- Serve hot with baked potatoes
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