It was my mom's birthday last week
, and of course, I was the one to put out the birthday dinner :) I wanted to come up with something out of the ordinary, rather than our standard Indian fare that inevitably makes its way to every special occasion in our house. Now, that's not to say I don't love that fare-who can resist chaat, bondas, flaky parathas, gravied paneer curries, spicy bowls of steaming hot daal, etc.? But, variety is the spice of life, after all!
Stuffed tomatoes had been on my list for years, so all I needed to do was improvise a filling. Well, I love quinoa, and it lends itself so well to Mediterranean flavors, which is what I was after. Hence was born the inspiration for this extremely flavorful filling, which, stuffed inside the tomatoes, makes for a light yet hearty main dish. I served it with a simple black olive-sundried tomato tapenade and flaxseed crackers, which made for a more than satisfactory birthday dinner for Aai :)
5 beefsteak tomatoes, washed and dried
3/4 cup quinoa, uncooked
1/2 a large onion (or 1 small onion), finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic
2 tsp. dried basil
1.5 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. cumin powder
1-1.5 tsp. red chili flakes(depending on your heat preference)
1.5 cups plus 2 tbsp. vegetable stock
2 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for brushing tomatoes
4 oz. feta cheese, cubed or crumbled
salt to taste, about 1.5 tsp.
Slice the tops off the tomatoes, and hollow the insides, leaving about 1/2" all around and on bottom. Reserve the flesh for the quinoa filling.
Heat olive oil in a pot on medium heat. Add chopped onion and cook until translucent. Add tomato flesh, and cook for about 5 minutes, until it achieves a deep red color. Crush basil and oregano, and add along with cumin, red chili flakes, garlic and quinoa. Stir, and after about 1 minute, add the vegetable stock. Cover pot, raise heat, and bring the stock to a boil. Reduce heat until mixture is simmering, and let it simmer for 15 minutes, until quinoa is cooked through, but not mushy. Preheat oven to 375F in the meantime.
Let the mixture cool, and then mix in the feta cheese. Scoop evenly into the hollow tomatoes, and brush the tomatoes with olive oil. Bake in oven for about 30 minutes, until juices just begin to flow from the tomatoes and they are tender. Serve immediately.
I am a graduate student who is a total foodie. I enjoy lacto-ovo vegetarian cooking and baking alike, as well as talking about food in general. I believe that blending flavors correctly is key to creating flavorful, tasty dishes, and I try to achieve the proper balance of herbs and spices in all of my recipes. I am an American francophile of Indian descent who enjoys, other than cooking, reading, particularly mystery/suspense novels, biking and just hanging out.
I am more than happy to take recipe requests; please email me if there is something in particular you would like to see.