Filled with crunchy Italian flavours, these easy baked stuffed tomatoes make a perfect vegetable side dish. Gluten-free and vegetarian Recipe
One of the first recipes I ever made was a baked stuffed tomato recipe. I made it in my mother's kitchen, I think I was probably in high school at the time. I found the recipe in a magazine because even then I was spending my free time nose-deep in cookbooks and cooking magazines. It's always been a thing I do.
I was so incredibly impressed with both myself and the very idea of a stuffed tomato. Tomatoes are transformed when you bake them like this. The flavour of the tomato intensifies but stays still fresh.
Stuffed tomatoes an easy to make side dish
This dish is really just about the flavours and textures. That is it.
The tomatoes become rich and almost saucy. The stuffing is salty and garlicky. And crunchy. I kinda love them.
Baked tomatoes can be stuffed with all kinds of things. This stuffed tomato recipe keeps things simple. Just some panko breadcrumbs, parmesan, herbs and garlic. Nothing else.
Baked stuffed tomatoes are pretty easy really. Core the tomatoes and make the stuffing. Divide the stuffing between the tomatoes and bake. Which makes them an easy side-dish to whip together. And I think they look impressive...
How to serve stuffed tomatoes
Truly this recipe is a side dish. While I would be happy to make a meal out of a few stuffed tomatoes and a crusty piece of bread. I totally would, may have actually done that - I think this is best served as a side.
Serve with your favourite pasta dish, seafood or whatever main you have planned. I especially like this with eggs on a brunch table, alongside a frittata perhaps.
As a vegetable side dish, these tomatoes are full flavour but not heavy and fit nicely on any menu when you want a pop of Italian flavours. And depending on how many you have coming for dinner, you can easily adapt this recipe to serve more. It is easy to double.
A serving is two halves. Although if part of a large buffet, with many choices, you can expect one half per person.
A few more notes about making baked tomatoes:
- Use any kind of tomato you have on hand. I used these perfectly ripe greenhouse globe tomatoes. The kind that comes on the vine in the supermarket. They are easy to find and uniform in size. But keep this recipe in your back pocket for when your garden is overflowing with your home-grown varieties.
- You can make this recipe gluten-free if you choose gluten-free panko bread crumbs. Not all panko crumbs are gluten-free. Many are made with wheat. Ian's makes a gluten-free variety.
- You must use panko style crumbs for best results. Panko guarantees a crispy and crunchy final product. I've used regular bread crumbs and the result is less crunchy, a bit denser. Panko is the way to go.
- These are best served straight out of the oven. You can prep the tomatoes and stuff them several hours ahead of time if needed.
Baked Stuffed Tomatoes
- 6 vine ripened tomatoes cut in half (through stem end) seeds scooped out
- 2 teaspoon crushed garlic (about 2 small cloves)
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves finely chopped and shredded
- ¼ cup fresh parsley finely chopped
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs (use gluten-free panko for a gluten-free version)
- 1 oz parmesan cheese finely grated
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 to 1-½ teaspoon sea salt divided
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper divided
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoon olive oil divided
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly brush a baking pan with about ½ tablespoon of the olive oil. Arrange tomatoes on the baking tray cut side up. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of salt and freshly ground black pepper
- In a small bowl toss together garlic, basil, parsley, panko, cheese, onion powder, half teaspoon of sea salt, fresh ground black pepper, lemon juice and remaining olive oil. Mix well and taste for seasoning. This should be acceptably salty. Adjust with salt and pepper if needed.
- Spoon mixture evently into tomato halves, starting with a heaping tablespoon each. Then evenly divide the remaining between the tomatoes. Heaping as necessary. Do not pack. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Tomatoes will be soft and skin slightly wrinkly and stuffing will be golden on top. Serve.