Still revelling in the season of fresh, luscious tomatoes there’s certainly no shortage of what you can do with them, and heaven knows I’ve eaten my fair share!
From piling them on greens for a fast draw lunch, to numerous tomato and bacon & tomato sandwiches, to making a side dish of them – drizzled with some top-notch extra virgin olive oil, they truly are one of summer’s outstanding fruits!
In this fresh & fabulous recipe for Brown Rice & Mushroom Stuffed Tomatoes, tomatoes are the star, and the vehicle to hold a light & nutritious stuffing.
You can stuff tomatoes with a lot of different things, such as I did in stuffed summer beefsteak tomatoes. When contemplating what you’d like to use, just consider what tastes & flavours go well with tomatoes. It really is a lot. Just start, for example, thinking of many pizza or pasta dishes you’ve eaten. Or how many casserole/one dish recipes where tomatoes were the star. The choices really are endless – just be careful to fill them lightly, or they might burst in the oven.
While initially thinking of using some Italian sausage, I decided to keep it light. Vegetarian. So I went with tomato, mushroom & cheese. Mmmmm. Making extra rice the day before was a big time saver, and whether you use white or brown rice, I encourage you to embrace the step: ‘cook it once, use it twice.’
Next..? Cut a slice from the top of each tomato (save them), carefully hollow them out (saving the insides!) and turn them upside down on paper towels for 15 or so minutes, to drain some of the liquid. After that its a quick sauté of mushrooms & onions, which are then combined with the rice and other flavourings. Those slices & insides of tomatoes… scoop out as much of the seeds as possible, then roughly chunk them up. Put them in the baking pan with a drizzle of olive oil. They’ll solve the problem of what to use for the cooking base, and you’ll feel ever-so-clever for doing so.
Rather than duplicating the how-to for prepping the tomatoes, it’s detailed in this recipe for stuffed beefsteak tomatoes keeping in mind I halved those tomatoes.
Serve as a light lunch with salad & crusty bread, as an appetizer for dinner, or as a side dish for pretty much any cut of meat that pairs well with tomatoes. Brown Rice & Mushroom Stuffed Tomatoes are a true summer seasonal treat, so make them while wonderfully fresh tomatoes are still on the shelves.
- 4 medium sized fresh tomatoes
- 1 cup brown rice, cooked & cooled (make a day or two before)
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, for sautéing
- 1/4 medium sized onion, chopped
- 4 large mushrooms, halved, then thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped Italian parsley (or arugula, spinach, etc)
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup approx. grated mozzarella, for topping
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Get a baking dish that’s just large enough to hold the tomatoes.
- Put the cooked & cooled rice in a large bowl and set aside.
- Slice approx. 1/2” from the top of each tomato, reserving the slices. With a small spoon, carefully scoop out the tomato insides, adding them to a small bowl; be careful not to pierce the shells. Turn the tomatoes upside down on a few sheets of paper towel, to drain while you make the stuffing.
- In a small skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. Sauté the mushrooms and onions for a few minutes, until they start to soften. Add to bowl with rice, along with grated Parmigiano, parsley, salt & pepper. Set aside.
- Cut the reserved tomato tops into large chunks and add to bowl with the tomato insides (cut them as well if very large pieces). Combine, then spoon into the baking pan, season with a pinch of salt & pepper, and drizzle with a bit of olive oil.
- Season each tomato shell with a pinch of salt and pepper, and holding them over the stuffing bowl, lightly spoon in the stuffing mix, mounding them on top, but not over filling. Place them in the baking pan and sprinkle with grated mozzarella.
- Bake for 25 - 30 minutes, until golden on top and cheese is melted.
- *Tip: if there’s extra stuffing, lightly oil a small baking dish/ramekins that’s just big enough to hold it and bake alongside.