Veggie Stuffed Tomatoes

I would love to have a really bountiful garden in a spacious backyard at some point in my life.  Vines growing up stakes, butterflies flitting around pink coneflowers, barefoot kids learning to love the land…all that stuff.  unfortunately, I live in a place that doesn’t allow me to fulfill this dream, and so I make do by enjoying the fruits of other people’s homegrown labor.  My co-worker recently unloaded a huge bag full of tomatoes on me, because it was the end of the season and, as he put it, “We’re swimmin’ in the suckers”.

Some of those tomatoes had found their way into some pretty tasty soup (click here to check it out), but I still had a few more.  I had just finished making a pot of brown rice to keep on hand for the week, and I thought Yes! Those tomatoes…some rice…what else can I put in there?  As it turns out, I found quite a few things that made a really great stuffing for my plump red compadres.  This recipe can be easily changed to fit whatever type of veggies you love most!

Tomatoes stuffed with Veggies, Rice and Beans

Makes 4 servings

4 large tomatoes, de-stemmed and hollowed out (leave the bottom intact!)
1 zucchini, small dice
1/2 red onion, small dice
1/2 green pepper, small dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 baby mushrooms, diced
2 Tb olive oil
1 can beans, black or kidney, drained and rinsed
handful of cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper
Spike seasoning, or any season-all, to taste
dried oregano, basil and thyme, to taste
3/4 cup lowfat sour cream or greek yogurt
1 cup cooked brown rice
1/2 cup shredded pepperjack cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Start by seasoning the inside of your tomatoes with salt and pepper and placing them in a casserole dish.

Next, saute the zucchini, onions, and mushrooms in olive oil until the mushrooms gave given up their liquid.  Add the garlic, salt and pepper, herbs, and cilantro and saute a minute more. Add your cooked rice, sour cream or yogurt, and cheese, and stir until well combined.  Take a moment to taste it, and adjust your seasonings if needed.

Now it is time to fill your lovely tomatoes!  Place heaping spoonfulls of the mix into the tomatoes, and press down to make sure you fill in all the space.  You are going to want a little mound of the filling to peek up over the top of the tomato.  Press your cheeses onto the top of each one, and we’re ready now to get them into the oven!

Bake them at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Check to see that the tomatoes are soft to the touch, if they are not, then let them go another 5 minutes.  To get a lovely brown on top of your cheese, turn your broiler on low for a couple of minutes.

Aren’t they lovely?  You really can’t go wrong with veggies, cheese and rice.  They make a fantastic side dish to your main course, or they could be served as the main dish accompanied by a salad and bread – which is what I did.  The rice and beans give you great substance, and the yogurt and cheese holds the filling together nicely.

Enjoy!

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