This year my Family had a (lovely) low-key Christmas Eve. It was just me, my mom and my dad at home and then we had my best friend and her mom over in the evening. We didn’t want to do anything fancy for food considering that was on the following day’s agenda, but I definitely wanted to get in the kitchen and make something delicious. So I ended up creating these super light, easy and healthy Lentil Stuffed Tomatoes as a break for both our chef efforts and our digestive systems before the Christmas Day craziness. We also had Hummus, veggies, salad and martinis so don’t worry, we still didn’t go hungry.
Now, you probably had to go and do some crazy grocery haul for a Holiday dinner of some sort at some point so don’t worry, these are super simple, don’t have many ingredients and substitutions can definitely be made. I also think they’re great for any season, so try them out for a Summer potluck too!
Start by cutting a hole in the top of your tomato, like you would do to carve a pumpkin. I used a serrated knife to do this. If you cut diagonally into the centre of the tomato and carve a circle, you should be able to pull the top off pretty easily. Just make sure you’re careful as tomatoes are pretty fragile little beings.
To scoop out the tomato guts, I would recommend using a serrated edged spoon (like a grapefruit spoon). This worked perfectly for me, but if you don’t have one, continue with the knife and a regular spoon. Again, remember to be gentle so you don’t poke through the outside. I still left a pretty thick wall so the stuffing would have good support. Just get all of the guts out and put them into a medium sized bowl.
In the bowl with your tomato guts, mix in a regular sized can of lentils, chopped red onion, fresh puréed garlic, spinach, dried basil, salt and pepper. In terms of substitutions, any kind of lentil will do, you can easily substitute white or yellow onion, garlic in any form will do the trick, fresh basil would also work and any soft green similar to spinach is great. I actually used a bit of spinach and some beet greens in mine. You could also use a spring mix or arugula, etc. However, I wouldn’t recommend any rough or crunchy greens like kale or romaine.
Mix it all together and stuff the tomatoes until they slightly surpass the top of the outer wall’s edge. The insides just end up falling everywhere if it’s over flowing too much. You may end up with extra filling depending on the size of your tomatoes or how many you use. I actually added my remaining filling to my tofu scramble the next morning and it was delicious!
Put the tomatoes in the oven on a baking sheet at 350. I wouldn’t put them in any higher because you want the insides to get a chance to cook before the actual tomatoes start to get too soft. I had mine in for about 15 minutes, but I would recommend keeping an eye on them and taking them out once the outside of the tomatoes start to split and juice, that’s when they’re ready!
I decided to top mine with Minimalist Baker’s Vegan Parmesan Cheese which added a nice savoury finish to a fresh, juicy dish.
Vegan Lentil Stuffed Tomatoes
- 5 tomatoes
- 1 can lentils
- 1 tbsp red onion chopped
- 1 tbsp garlic purréed
- 2 tsp basil dried
- 1/3 cup spinach fresh
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and have a clean, plain baking sheet ready to go.
- Cut the tops off the tomatoes, scoop out the insides and put them in a medium sized bowl.
- Add lentils, red onion, garlic, basil, spinach, salt and pepper to the medium bowl and mix all ingredients together.
- Without overflowing, add contents of the bowl to the tomatoes.
- Put the tomatoes in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the outside wall of the tomato starts to split. (See photo in post).
- Serve warm, as is or with your choice of vegan parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
Let me know if you try these babies out, and if you make any substitutions or changes that you liked!