It’s amazing what you can make with the ingredients at the back of your fridge. I bought these tomatoes for a curry and I didn’t just want to make a standard pasta sauce with them- and then these stuffed tomatoes were born! I love the savouriness of these plump parcels, the filling is almost meaty in texture. The little nuggets of pine nuts give the filling a lovely nutty flavour and crunchy texture, all together entirely delicious.
4 ripe vine tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
20g pine nuts
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
1 tablespoon za’atar spice mix
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Put a large frying pan on a medium heat with the olive oil, then finely chop the onion and add to the pan. After a couple of minutes, crush and add the garlic, frying until fragrant. Grate up the carrots and pine nuts (reserving a handful for the top) and add them to the pan. Add the za’atar spice and give the mix a good stir.
While the spiced carrot mix cooks down, slice the tops off the tomatoes and finely chop, then add to the pan. Then scoop out the insides of the tomatoes and discard. I would love to know a good use of the insides of tomatoes- any suggestions welcome to reduce cooking waste here!
Now add the breadcrumbs to the pan and coat with the tomato, carrot and onion mix. Season to taste and heat through for a couple of minutes. Then fill the tomatoes with your tasty stuffing mix. The stuffing should be fragrant but with a meaty taste and texture. You will have lots of stuffing left over in this recipe- I like to eat mine with hummus on toast, it’s absolutely delicious!
Top the tomatoes with the reserved pine nuts, and add to a greased baking dish. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, keeping an eye on the nuts to make sure they don’t burn. If they’re looking a little dark, cover the dish with foil. Once your kitchen smells beautifully of garlic and spices, it’s time to take the tomatoes out. The skins should be a little wrinkly, but not so much that the tomatoes cannot hold their shape. While your tomatoes are cooling, whip up a quick minty yoghurt by mixing together some torn fresh mint and a couple of tablespoons of yoghurt.
Serve with the minty yoghurt for a delicious light lunch for one. For two, serve with a fresh cucumber salad, pitta and hummus as part of a mezze.