Vegetables and fruits taste the best when they are in season. Although I have known about it for ages only not so long ago, I started to appreciate this truth to the fullest. So when e.g. strawberries are in season I eat (a lot of) them raw. I also make salads and cakes with them and turn my kitchen into a small manufacture producing strawberry jam.
It is the same with tomatoes. When the real, tasty tomatoes start appearing on market stalls in summer, I buy them each time I go shopping. I enjoy having them in simple salads, delicious pasta or even simply on a slice of fresh bread with butter. Obviously, I have plenty of favourite recipes with tomatoes. But even this doesn’t stop me from testing new ones.
Vegan Stuffed Tomatoes with Rice – Delicious Starter or Side Dish
This time I wanted to make stuffed tomatoes. You can naturally fill them with all sorts of ingredients, but I aimed to prepare them vegan, and with rice. When it comes to making stuffed tomatoes with rice, there are two schools. One says that you should use cooked rice, the other one suggests preparing this dish with raw rice. I decided to follow the latter (that is supposed to be a Greek way). Using uncooked rice ensures all the juices released from the tomatoes while baking are absorbed by the rice. Thanks to it not only the rice absorbs the tomatoes flavours but also prevents them from getting too soggy from the excess of liquid. But there are many more flavoursome ingredients in this filling: Raisins add the sweetness, while pine nuts and almond slices – crunchy texture.
Vegan Stuffed Tomatoes with Rice are a brilliant starter for a crowd. You can prepare them earlier and put to the oven approx. an hour before you expect your guests. Although they are vegan, they also work very well as an accompaniment for meat or fish dishes. And the great news is that although of course, they are the best when the tomatoes are in a season even in winter they will taste great because roasting them brings out the best flavour.
Pour cold water over the rice and leave for at least 10 minutes.
Cut each tomato across about a quarter of the way down and scoop out the inside with a teaspoon (keep it for later), make sure the tomato stays intact.
Keep the lids separately and place the tomatoes in an oiled heatproof dish; put inside each one a pinch of salt and sugar.
Put the raisins to a small bowl with warm water to soak.
Blend the tomato juice and pieces.
Dry fry the almonds and pine nuts on medium heat till golden, transfer to a small plate.
Preheat the oven to 180C (fan oven).
On the same frying pan heat 1 tbsp olive oil, add the onion and fry on medium heat for 2-3 minutes till golden.
Add the drained rice and raisins, almonds, pine nuts and tomato juice, fry on medium heat for 8 minutes (or until the rice is very al dente but not hard anymore) stirring from time to time. At the end you of this process you want to have the rice still with a bit of liquid so if the mixture gets very dry during frying, add a few tablespoons of the vegetable stock.
When the rice is ready, add the parsley, season and stuff each tomato.
Cover with a lid and sprinkle with olive oil, put to the hot oven for 50 minutes.
Halfway through the cooking take the dish out from the oven, pick each lid and pour some of the pan juices to each tomato.
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Hi, I am Agnieszka, and I am passionate about delicious but healthy food. Many healthy dishes are bland and uninteresting. I reject this. So I created my blog Tastes of Health to share my yummy recipes for healthier (often plant-based and gluten-free) versions of family favourites.
I look forward to receiving your feedback after you try them.