Monday, September 12, 2011

Quinoa and Vegetable Stuffed Roasted Tomatoes



This piece-of-cake vegetarian dinner has the ability to make you excited (or even more enthusiastic) about tomatoes. Packed with oh-so-good for you veggies and protein packed, wonder-of-a-grain, quinoa (and extra baked eggs on the side, if you'd like)...mama would be proud!

What's the best part for me (besides my tummy's gratitude, that is)? This was a total refrigerator and pantry-raid meal--brilliant meals come from frantic minds and hungry bellies!

Quinoa and Vegetable Stuffed Roasted Tomatoes
serves 4

3 1/2 tsp olive oil, divided use
4 medium-large tomatoes
1/3 cup dry red quinoa
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup diced carrots (about 2 small-medium carrots)
1/3 cup chopped green onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 cup diced portabella mushrooms
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (I prefer the kind in jars packed with olive oil), finely chopped
2 1/2 tsp salt, divided use
3/4 tsp pepper, divided use
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
3/4 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano  cheese, divided use
1/4 cup triple cream or brie cheese (without the rind)
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

*for additional baked eggs you will need 4 large eggs.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

1. Cut about one inch of the tops off of each tomato. Carefully use a spoon and/or a knife to remove "insides" of each tomato; make sure to be careful and not cut through the body. Set aside the removed tomato bits and place the empty cavities into a small, yet deep, baking dish coated with 1 tbsp of olive oil.

2. In a small-medium saucepot, combine the dry red quinoa, water, and 1/2 tsp salt. Stir and bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, cover, and allow quinoa to cook for about 10-15 minutes. Quinoa is cooked when grain begins to turn translucent, the spiral-like germ has begun to separate, and almost all of the water has been absorbed.

3. While the quinoa is cooking, heat 1 1/2 tsp of olive oil in a saute pan. Add the carrots green onion, and garlic--season with a pinch of salt and stir to cook; saute for about 3 mninutes on medium heat. Add the mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and continue to stir and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes. When the quinoa is cooked, add it into the vegetable mixture and stir to combine. Add the remaining salt, pepper, cumino, oregano, basil, 1/4 cup of grated parmesano-reggiano cheese, and triple cream (or brie) cheese. Take half of the removed tomato parts (do not add the juice), coarsely chop it up, and add it to the pan. Continue to stir and cook for another 2-3 minutes on low-- cheese should be melted and well combined into the mixture.

4. Sprinkle  1/4 cup of the grated parmgiano-reggiano cheese into each tomato; divide 1 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of pepper into and on the exterior of each of the tomatoes for extra seasoning. Gently scoop and pat down even amounts of the vegetable filling into each empty tomato until all of it has been used. Evenly sprinkle the panko bread crumbs and the remaining 1/4 cup of grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese atop the tomatoes. Take the tomato caps and gently squeeze them in between the tomatos where some room exists. Drizzle the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil across the tomatoes and roast them for about 40-45 minutes on the middle rack. *optional: crack each of the eggs into empty spaces in the baking dish after 20 minutes of cooking time.* Panko and cheese crust should be golden brown.

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