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Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes

Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes

Guys, we should definitely, definitely talk about these. Here, I’ll go first: I think it’s essential that you not let another tomato season pass without making them. I realize that you might imagine rice-stuffed tomatoes to be something unappealing. Maybe you had a cold, stomach-turning one at a buffet wedding too many years ago that its squidgy horror should still be fresh in your mind, and yet. Maybe you cannot imagine why anyone would consider rice stuffed inside a tomato to be something noteworthy, being just rice and tomatoes, possibly two of the most generic foods out there. Maybe you’re waiting to hear what I dolled these up with to make them interesting — was there bacon or cheese or caramelized onions? Did I amp it up with whole grains or kale? Maybe I cooked an egg inside, like that one time? And maybe you’re going to be disappointed when I tell you that I added nothing, just about nothing at all, and that’s the best thing about them.

For a quicker version, use cooked rice instead — leaving out the 3/4 cup olive oil from the mixture — and set the tomatoes in the pan without any potatoes or leftover rice. Then, just drizzle them with a little olive oil and cook for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees F.

Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes
(Makes 10 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 10 large tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup un-cooked short grain rice
  • 2 zucchini, peeled and grated
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 2 tablespoons dry mint
  • 4 tablespoons fresh parsley (or 4 teaspoons dried)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds potatoes

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Slice the tops off the tomatoes (keep the tops, though) and use a spoon to empty out the middle of the tomato. Reserve the juice in one bowl and insides of the tomato in a separate bowl. Make small slits in the inside bottom of the tomatoes – making sure not to cut all the way through the tomatoes.
  3. Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish and place the tomatoes inside the pan.
    Put the onion, garlic, a teaspoon of oil, and a pinch of salt into a food processor and mix it just a bit. (Or, simply mix in a bowl with a spoon if you don’t have a food processor – just chop the onions and garlic a little more finely).
  4. Take the insides of the tomato and chop them into small pieces, and then add them to a large bowl with the grated zucchini. Then, add 1 tablespoon of salt, the dry mint, parsley, and tomato paste and combine. Finally, add the uncooked short-grain rice, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, and 3/4 cup olive oil and let the mixture sit.
  5. In the meantime, peel the potatoes and cut them into chunks. Toss them with the tablespoon of oregano, 3/4 cup olive oil, and some salt and pepper. Mix them well and then add the reserved tomato juice.
  6. Fill the tomatoes to the top with the rice mixture and top them with their caps. Then, place the potatoes/tomato juice in the empty space around the tomatoes – also add any leftover rice mixture in the gaps, too.
  7. Add a cup of water to the corner of the pan and tilt it so that the water is evenly distributed.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees F, and then reduce the heat to 325 degrees F and bake them for another 60-90 minutes. If it seems dry during the process, add a little more water to the pan.
    Enjoy!
Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes
Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes

Recipe adapted from 12 tomatoes

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