Hello, tomatoes! I love when tomatoes go into season. We're not quite there, but this recipe is great for the end of spring when it's warm and good produce is starting to show up in the store and the farmer markets, but not too warm to turn on your oven! I've been making this particular dish a lot lately, because it's filling and tasty, and it makes me feel ok about eating carbs. Because (if you weren't aware) quinoa is in fact a grain, but it is full of protein! So a vegetarian's paradise. And the real reason I've been making it so much is because Brian LOVES it. Yes, the carnivore loves this dish! If you'd like to try it out, gather these ingredients:
4 med-large tomatoes 1/2 cup quinoa 1 cup water 1/2 small onion chopped 1/2 zucchini chopped 2 T olive oil 2 ounces cream cheese 1/4 cup greek yogurt (or sour cream) 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 2 T fresh basil 1/2 small lemon serves 4
First preheat your oven to 400. Grab your vegetables for chopping.
And now a little disclaimer: I halved this recipe for the quinoa mixture portion. I always make more because we use it as a whole meal, and Brian will eat all the extra mixture. Every time. So if you're anticipating loving this, or just want it to be your whole meal, feel free to double it like I do! Ok, put your pot of quinoa and water on and cook it according to the package instructions.
Warm up your oil in a skillet, and add your onion to brown. Cut the very tops of your tomatoes off.
Scoop out the tomato innards, chop them, and reserve them for later. I discard the slimy seed part, but whatever floats your boat here. Be careful not to scoop out too much, or else your quinoa will ooze out of the tomato shell in the oven. Which probably wouldn't be the end of the world, but hey! You want a pretty tomato, right?
Set your scooped out tomatoes aside, and chop up the zucchini.
This was my first time adding zucchini. I just had it on hand! I've used peppers and carrots before, too. It all tastes good! Add your zucchini to your browning onions, and brown them also. Add more oil if needed.
By now your quinoa should be done. It usually takes about 15 minutes.
Scoop it into your onion/zucchini skillet, and stir it well. Add in your tomato innards.
Add in the cream cheese (I used Neufchatel).
Add in your yogurt or sour cream. Stir it all in, letting the cream cheese melt.
Squeeze your half lemon into the mixture.
And add in your basil. I'm obviously not using fresh basil like I put into the ingredients. I'm a rebel like that. But! I'm planting my herb garden this weekend, so it won't be too much longer before the real thing makes an appearance in my recipes!
Now add in the Parmesan, reserving about 3 T for sprinkling on top.
I've also used sharp cheddar, which is very tasty, too! Any sharp cheese will work here, I would imagine. Feel free to add more cheese to your liking. I sure do. Cheese is my Achilles heel. It's the yin to my yang. I dream of cheese. Ok, this is getting a little personal. I love cheese! There, I said it. Anyway, scoop your mixture into your tomato shells. Heap it up a little!
Sprinkle the tops with your reserved Parmesan, and place tomatoes in an oven safe dish.
Bake for about 20-30 minutes, until tops are lightly browned and tomatoes start softening.
And enjoy! It's a nice side dish or a perfect light spring meal. Happy tomato stuffing!