Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newman
When I think of comfort food from my childhood, these rice stuffed tomatoes come to mind straight away! This is a signature dish from my mom, Veronica – it has a lot of simple, comforting flavors, and it has a great stick-to-your-ribs quality while being pretty healthy. This is a great way to get kids to eat tomatoes, too – stuffed with rice, surrounded by potatoes, and topped with cheese if you desire! It makes a great main course, or a hearty side to go with proteins like grilled chicken with pesto or lemon-oregano pounded chicken.
Even better, this dish is fully vegetarian and gluten free, and if you skip the Parmesan, it’s completely vegan. It’s a great recipe to have on hand if you have company coming over with dietary restrictions!
Rice Stuffed Tomatoes
- 4 large tomatoes about 3 1/4 pounds total
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth or chicken broth
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 cloves garlic smashed and peeled
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup tomato puree such as Mutti Passata, or more as needed
- 3/4 cup arborio rice
- 2 large Yukon gold potatoes diced
- Grated Parmesan optional
- Cut the top quarter off of each of the tomatoes and reserve for later. Scoop out the pulp from the insides of the tomatoes and add to a blender. Sprinkle the tomato shells with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Season the pulp with the basil, broth, oregano, garlic, 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Blend on high speed until smooth, then pour the puree into a medium bowl. (You should have about 2 1/4 cups.) Add the tomato puree to the pulp puree and stir to combine. (It should yield 2 3/4 cups. If it doesn't, add more puree.) Stir in the rice.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Spread the potatoes on the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Toss well to combine. Nestle the tomatoes into the diced potatoes. Fill each tomato almost all the way to the top with the rice filling. Place the tops back on the tomatoes. Pour any remaining filling around the tomatoes and over the potatoes. Drizzle the whole dish with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and bake until the tomatoes are blistered on the outside and the rice is cooked through, 1 hour and 15 minutes.
- Serve with a grating of Parmesan, if desired.