Summer means tomatoes. Real tomatoes. Tomatoes grown on the vine under the sun. This is the time to enjoy what tomatoes should really taste like and get all of the great benefits from them. To learn more about agricultural tomatoes and locally, seasonally grown tomatoes, I suggest reading Tomatoland or at least this article about the book.
Quinoa stuffed tomatoes came about in my laziness to cook and urgent need to use up all of the tomatoes I bought at the farmer’s market. Like most of my recipes, this one is short on time but big on flavor and nutrients. Let me know what you think in the comments!
4 large, round tomatoes, washed and sliced in 1/2 lengthwise
⅓ cup cooked quinoa
¼ cup finely crumbled goat cheese
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons bread crumbs (optional)
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon chopped basil
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Using a teaspoon, remove the seeds from the tomatoes. You are trying to create enough room to hold the filling. Place the tomato halves, cut side down, on paper towels to drain, about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Using clean hands, gently toss the drained tomato halves in the oil mixture until coated. Marinate the tomatoes for at least 10 minutes.
In a small bowl mix together quinoa, goat cheese, bread crumbs, and lemon zest. Taste the mixture and add a pinch of salt and pepper if needed.
Place the marinated tomato halves, cut side up, on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Fill each tomato half with the quinoa crumb filling. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until slightly softened and the underside of the tomatoes are brown.
Arrange the cooked tomatoes on a serving platter. Sprinkle the chopped basil over the tomatoes and serve immediately.
Tomatoes contain lycopene, which is known for its antioxidant and cancer-preventing properties. In addition to lycopene, the vitamin B6, niacin, potassium and folate found in tomatoes are potent protectors against heart disease.
Quinoa is a supergrain. It can supply us with all of the body’s requirements: carbohydrates, fats, protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Quinoa is gluten free and has larger quantities of calcium, fat, iron, phosphorus, and B vitamins than many other grains. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, quinoa offers benefits to the heart and is easy to digest too. Also, it is a good source of magnesium and phosphorus, and a very good source of manganese.
Basil is considered the “king of herbs” and is revered as “holy plant” in many Asian traditions. Basil leaves contains many health benefiting essential oils that have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. This herb also has flavonoids, which have been found to protect cell structures as well as chromosomes from radiation and oxygen-based damage.
Olive oil, a key component of the Mediterranean Diet, has high concentration of monounsaturated fatty acids. Studies have shown that olive oil offers protection against heart disease by controlling LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels while raising HDL (the “good” cholesterol) levels.
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