Turn boring tomatoes into an interesting and tasty side dish with these delicious vegan stuffed tomatoes. They’re sweet and savory, vegan…but also meaty and cheesy (IYKYK), totally satisfying and they taste incredible. This easy recipe for baked stuffed tomatoes is equally at home as an easy weekday plant-based main course, or an elegant healthy side dish.
When fresh tomatoes are in season I’m a happy camper and honestly eat them most often sliced thick with a sprinkle of coarse salt, a grind of fresh black pepper and a splash of balsamic. BUT….these Vegan Stuffed Tomatoes are so good I’m over here making them multiple times a week.
Ripe, juicy tomatoes are filled with a quinoa and vegetable stuffing that’s flavorful and satisfying…and baked to perfection. If you’ve never tasted baked stuffed tomatoes, you’re in for a real treat…and this tomatoes recipe is sure to get rave reviews!
If you’re dairy-free, I’ve got good news. There’s no need for parmesan cheese or even processed vegan cheese…the nutritional yeast gives the illusion of cheesy stuffed tomatoes in taste without the dairy! A total win, if you ask me….oh yes, this vegan stuffed tomato recipe has it all going on!
Why you’ll love these vegan stuffed tomatoes
- Delicious, flavorful and satisfying.
- Allergy friendly…dairy-free, nut-free, vegan and gluten-free.
- Budget friendly, during tomato season, especially if you grow your own!
- Hearty mixture of quinoa plus mushrooms for terrific umami taste. They’re meaty and cheesy…AND VEGAN!
- Perfect for meal prep or an easy summer meal. Shhh…we eat them all fall while the tomatoes last!
- Equally at home for a quick and easy weeknight dinner or make for guests to brunch or take them to a pot-luck.
- The perfect way to use up whatever kind of tomatoes are in your garden.
- Serve as a light lunch with a simple salad.
Baked Stuffed Tomato Ingredients
- Whole tomatoes: Beefsteak tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes or Roma tomatoes will work in this recipe. Fresh tomatoes, in season are key to a delicious stuffed tomato. Tomatoes are known for boosting the immune system (Vitamin C and potassium), strengthening bones (hello Vitamin K, calcium and lycopene) and boosting digestive health (fiber and water content).
- Quinoa: Some people use a rice mixture to stuff their tomatoes. I prefer quinoa, for it’s great texture and higher protein content than most grains. Technically quinoa isn’t even a grain, it’s a seed.
- Mushrooms: The meaty flavor and firm texture shitake mushrooms add is one of the reasons these are the best stuffed tomatoes…but you could also use portobello or button mushrooms.
- Onions: Any sweet white or even red onion will work. You could also use leeks, fennel or green onions.
- Garlic: I love the flavor boost fresh garlic adds to this dish. Use a microplane grater or mince the garlic clove for the best results. Prep the garlic at least 10 minutes before cooking to allow the healthy compounds time to oxidize and fully develop.
- Greens: Chopped kale works well, as it stands up to the heat of the oven. You could also use collard greens, swiss chard, elephant kale, russian kale or spinach.
- Fresh herbs: I used thinly sliced basil. Fresh parsley, thyme, oregano or any combo will also add great flavor.
- Spices: The salt and pepper is for sprinkling into the inside of the tomatoes. I found otherwise they tasted bland, even though the stuffing is quite tasty. The Italian spices go into the filling to add even more flavor.
- Nutritional yeast: Not much is needed to give off a cheesy taste, even though this recipe is dairy-free. Plus, it contains fiber and Vitamin B12.
What kind of tomatoes are best for stuffing?
Larger tomatoes are easier to stuff. That said, grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes won’t work well in this recipe. The best tomatoes to stuff are beefsteak tomatoes, heirlooms (if they’re large) or large roma tomatoes. San Marzano are my favorites.
Look for tomatoes that are still a bit firm, are uniform in size and have smooth skins. If your tomatoes don’t sit flat, you can cut a sliver off the bottom, to help them sit straight.
Opt for whatever you have growing in your yard or what’s available at your local farmers market as a first choice. Grocery store tomatoes that say “locally grown” are another great option. Tomato season is May through October.
More Healthy Fresh Tomato Recipes
If you’ve got a bumper crop of tomatoes (I may have planted a few too many myself), definitely share with your friends and neighbors…but keep plenty for yourself so you can make some of these Vegan Tomato Recipes:
How to make baked stuffed tomatoes
If you don’t have leftover cooked quinoa, make some. Rinse ½ cup dry quinoa under running water, then add to a small saucepan with 1 ½ cups boiling water. Reduce heat to low, keeping a slow simmer and cook quinoa 15 minutes, until all water has been absorbed.
The first step is to prep the tomatoes for baking. Cut off the tops of the tomatoes. About ¼″ is all that’s needed to access the inside. It’s easiest to use a grapefruit spoon or small paring knife to scoop out the insides of the tomatoes.
Set aside the tomato tops if you’d like to cover yours for an elegant presentation. Otherwise, dice the tops, along with the tomato pulp and set aside to use in the stuffing. Discard the seeds and stems.
If your tomatoes aren’t flat enough to stand properly in the baking pan, slice off a very thin piece of the bottom so they stand without wobbling.
Next, you’ll place the tomatoes, that have been scooped out, upside down on a plate. This is so any remaining liquid will drain out.
While the tomatoes rest, prep the remaining ingredients. Once you heat the pan, the filling comes together quickly, so it’s best to have everything chopped and measured out. Small dice the onion and mushrooms, use a microplane to zest the garlic or mince it.
Then, add in spices, chopped tomato pulp and garlic. Cook for 30 seconds until garlic is fragrant, stirring constantly.
Next, add the cooked quinoa and nutritional yeast to the pan, mixing until heated through.
Turn off heat and then add the chopped greens and fresh herbs.
Stir well until everything is well incorporated and greens are wilted. This vegan and gluten-free stuffing is incredible and you can use it to bake and stuff any vegetable (think: zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms, yellow summer squash).
Place drained tomatoes in a small baking dish that will fit them tightly. Sprinkle the insides with a pinch of salt and pepper and then use a small spoon to fill with the stuffing. If you have excess filling, load it up in the crevices between the tomatoes. It will get crisp while the tomatoes are cooking.
Sprinkle with additional nutritional yeast, if desired and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 25-35 minutes, depending on size of tomatoes. Tomatoes will be soft, but still hold their shape and filling crisp and hot when they’re done.
Stuffed Tomato Variations:
- GREEK STUFFED TOMATOES: Follow recipe, adding one can cannellini beans, ½ cup chopped olives, diced bell pepper and ¼ cup fresh oregano when adding the quinoa.
- ITALIAN STUFFED TOMATOES: When adding the chopped tomatoes to the filling mixture, also add ¼ cup pine nuts, ¼ cup toasted bread crumbs, ¼ cup dry white wine and 2 Tablespoons miso paste.
- MAIN COURSE STUFFED TOMATOES: Follow directions, including 1 cup cooked lentils or beans to the stuffing recipe, use super large tomatoes and increase cooking time by 10 minutes. Delicious and a complete meal on its own.
- SPICY STUFFED TOMATOES. Chop jalapenos or serranos, minus the seeds and add them to the pan with the onions and mushroom. You can also add ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes or ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper with the Italian spices.
MEAL PREP AND STORAGE
- SERVE: As a light lunch, a side dish or vegan main dish.
- PREP AHEAD: Make stuffing, scoop out tomatoes and store separately in the fridge until ready to bake. Then stuff and follow directions. Or, complete the recipe and store covered tightly in fridge for 3 days and then reheat as directed.
- STORE: Store already baked stuffed tomatoes in the fridge in an airtight container. Reheat in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, until heated through.
- FREEZE: Stuffing can be made ahead and frozen, until ready to use…but the tomatoes will become watery when you defrost them, so they are best made fresh.
Debra’s Pro Tips
- Turn the tomatoes over to drain…don’t skip this step or your tomatoes may taste watery. If you forgot to do it and you’re done making the stuffing, use a paper towel to sop up any remaining liquid before filling.
- When trimming the bottom so they sit flat, make sure you don’t cut all the way through, or the stuffing will fall out.
- Stuff them as full as you can…it’s the best part!
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Vegan Stuffed Tomatoes
- 2 lbs tomatoes
- ¼ teaspoon coarse sea salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ½ cup yellow onion finely diced
- ½ cup shitake mushrooms finely diced
- ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 ½ cups cooked quinoa
- ½ cup kale roughly chopped
- ¼ cup fresh basil finely chopped
- Preheat oven to 375
- Cut the top off each tomato. About ¼". Use a grapefruit spoon to carefully scoop out the inside of the tomatoes, leaving the outside intact. Sprinkle the inside with salt and pepper and set upside down on a plate to drain while you prepare the filling. Roughly chop the tomato pulp and the tops of tomatoes. Set aside to use in the filling.
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and swirl in the olive oil. Saute the onions and mushrooms for about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with sea salt and italian seasoning and stir. Then add the tomato flesh and garlic. Cook for 30 seconds, until garlic is fragrant. Sprinkle in nutritional yeast, cooked quinoa and fresh herbs. Mix well, until everything is evenly heated through.
- Turn off heat and stir in greens. Continue to mix until greens are fully incorporated and wilted.
- Taste quinoa mixture for seasoning, adding more S+P as desired.
- Set tomatoes right side up in a baking dish that will just hold them. Use a small spoon to to fill the insides of the tomatoes.
- Bake for 30 minutes. The skin will begin to crack and the filling will be crisp on top. Larger tomatoes may take a bit longer.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.