Do you have an abundance of tomatoes from your garden? Hollow them out and make some stuffed tomatoes! Rather than share one recipe, I’ll give you three options – there’s something for everyone here!
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
We used Ace heirloom tomatoes for these recipes, but you can use any tomato variety that is round and has a nice bottom to sit on. Cut the tops off of each tomato and remove the guts. (I don’t think this is the proper term for tomato insides, but it’s what I call them.) Set tomatoes aside. Save the guts for making tomato sauce or soup. Be sure to dump out any liquid from the tomatoes right before filling.
I’m making three different fillings for the tomatoes: Caprese orzo, cheesy grits, and rice & beans. All three recipes are below.
CAPRESE ORZO STUFFED TOMATOES:
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add orzo pasta and cook according to pasta packaging.
Put cooked orzo in a bowl. Add a splash of olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Slice fresh mozzarella cheese and cut into bite-sized pieces.
Grab some fresh basil from your garden. Rinse and chop.
Add basil and mozzarella cheese to cooked orzo.
Spoon orzo mixture into prepared tomatoes. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Place filled tomatoes in the pan.
In a small bowl, mix together some dry breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan cheese. I like to use the Italian-style breadcrumbs. If you’re using plain breadcrumbs, season with some salt, pepper, garlic, and oregano.
Spoon the breadcrumb/Parmesan mixture over the tomatoes.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when the breadcrumbs are browned.
Drizzle with your favorite balsamic vinegar. We use an 18-year aged balsamic vinegar from Olive Oil Etcetera. It’s really thick and sweet. If you have a thin balsamic vinegar, reduce it in a saucepan to thicken.
CHEESY GRITS STUFFED TOMATOES:
Corn is one of my top three favorite foods, so it’s no surprise that I love grits! Two things that go perfectly with grits are sharp cheddar cheese and caramelized onions. This recipe brings these delicious flavors all together.
We use local, stone-ground grits from Castle Valley Mill, which we buy from The Market at Del Val. Note that this recipe is for stone-ground grits, and cooking directions will change with other types. To start, add 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of water to a saucepan. Bring to a boil.
Add 1/2 cup of grits to the saucepan. Add a dash of salt. Stir until well-combined.
Lower heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring often. If it gets too thick, add a splash of water. Once the grits are done, add 2 TB butter and stir until fully melted. Remove from heat and set aside.
If you have some corn in your garden, cut some off the cob and add it to your grits. It creates a nice texture and freshness.
Chop up a sweet onion.
Add a splash of olive oil to a pan. Bring to medium-high heat. Add the onions, a little salt, and some black pepper.
Cook until brown, stirring occasionally. If you stir too often, they won’t brown. If you don’t stir enough, they’ll burn. Here’s the evolution of caramelized onions:
Add 1/2 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese and the caramelized onions to the grits. Stir to combine.
Fill the hollow tomatoes with the grits mixture. Top with more sharp cheddar.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
RICE AND BEANS STUFFED TOMATOES:
Don’t tell the other tomatoes, but this one is our favorite! The combination of flavors is fantastic!
Cook 1/2 cup of white or brown rice, according to rice packaging. Scott prefers white rice, so that’s what I cook with.
Add fresh parsley, a little olive oil, salt, and pepper to the rice. (You can use cilantro instead of parsley – we just don’t have any in our garden. Don’t worry – Scott’s on it!)
Drain a can of black beans and put them in a small saucepan. You can rinse the beans, but be sure to add a little water to the pan, or else the beans will be too dry. You can also use steak, chicken, ground beef, ground turkey, etc., instead of the black beans.
Add salt, pepper, garlic, onion, and cumin to taste. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer until beans are soft.
Add beans to rice and stir to combine.
Add in about a cup of shredded cheese. I like to use pepper jack for this recipe. You can use monterey jack, pepper jack, colby, cheddar, or any mixture of these.
We have some corn from our garden, so I cut some off the cob and added it, too.
Scoop the mixture into the prepared tomatoes. Top with some additional shredded cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
Serve with sour cream.