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Cheese Stuffed Tomatoes

 Fresh, ripe tomatoes are the perfect match for basil, cheese, and buttery panko crumbs. This family recipe for Cheese Stuffed Tomatoes is a simple appetizer bursting with summery flavor!

Cheese stuffed tomatoes garnished with herbs.

My Granny’s Recipe for Stuffed Tomatoes

Sometimes the simplest things can be the best things. These cheese stuffed tomatoes? Definitely one of those things. They are made simply with just a few ingredients, but somehow when those ingredients come together, they are pure heaven. 

My Granny has been making these for many years, and thankfully she shared the recipe with me (which definitely comes in handy in the summer months, to help use up some of the tomatoes from my overflowing garden!). Cheese stuffed tomatoes sort of channel the taste of a margherita pizza. I love making it for special occasions, but the recipe is easy enough to make any time at all!

From top left: Vine-ripe tomatoes, bread crumbs, salt and pepper, garlic, cheese, fresh basil, butter, olive oil.

The List of Ingredients

So what’s in this recipe? Just fresh tomatoes and a few pantry staples! Anytime you have a tomato or two, you can pull together this quick dish.

  • Fresh Tomatoes: I like to use tomatoes on the vine; they’re almost always just the right size and shape (about the size of a tangerine).
  • Bread Crumbs: I like panko because of the extra texture they add, but you can also use regular breadcrumbs or homemade.
  • Basil: Chop up the basil, and have some extra for garnish if possible.
  • Cheese: I use shredded Monterey Jack cheese, but you could substitute other cheeses if you like.
  • Garlic: You’ll need a minced or pressed clove of garlic. In a pinch, you can substitute a little bit of garlic powder, but the flavor won’t be as fresh.
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Butter: Melt the butter before using.
  • Oil: For drizzling.

How to Make Cheese Stuffed Tomatoes

Making this dish couldn’t be easier. It’s a no-miss, no-fuss dish that’s perfect for serving anytime. Here’s how you make it, step by step:

  1. Preheat the Oven and Prep the Tomatoes. Start by preheating your oven to 400°F. Slice the top off of each tomato, and use a spoon to gently hollow each one out. (Reserve the tomato flesh that you scoop out for the filling.) You want to leave a ½-inch-thick shell. Place the tomatoes in a baking dish, and set them aside.
  2. Make the Stuffing Mixture. Drain any excess liquid from the reserved tomato flesh, and chop it up into small chunks. Place the tomato chunks in a bowl, and add the bread crumbs, basil, cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper. Drizzle the melted butter over this mixture, and stir it will to combine.
  3. Stuff the Tomatoes and Bake. Gently fill each tomato shell with the stuffing mixture, until they slightly overflow. Drizzle the tops with olive oil, and bake uncovered for about 15 minutes. When the tomatoes are soft, and the cheese is melted, take the dish out of the oven, and serve warm.
  4. Enjoy!

Tips for Success

While this recipe is super easy, I do have a few helpful hints I would like to share. These are my top tips for making the best cheese stuffed tomatoes, every time.

  • Tomato Size: For even baking, make sure you choose tomatoes that are all about the same size. Round tomatoes will be easier to stand up and fill than flatter or more oval tomatoes.
  • Tomato Scooping: Be sure not to scrape the tomato sides too thin, or the tomatoes won’t stand up and stay intact during baking.
  • Filling Options: The simple filling mixture can be customized to fit what you like or have on hand – choose whatever cheeses and herbs you like. Keep in mind that some cheeses and herbs may be more pungent and/or dry than the ones in this recipe, though, and adjust as needed.

Serving Suggestions

To serve, you can use these cheese stuffed tomatoes as an appetizer, a side dish, or a light vegetarian main course. Here are some of my favorite recipes to serve alongside this easy tomato dish:

  • Grilled Chicken: Juicy grilled chicken goes with everything, especially these summery tomatoes. Try this easy recipe for Grilled Rosemary Honey Mustard Chicken – you’ll fall in love with the incredible flavor combination!
  • Salmon Patties: A platter of Crispy Salmon Patties can turn stuffed tomatoes into a savory, satisfying meal. Yum!
  • Steak: This Juicy Flank Steak would go great with these fresh stuffed tomatoes for a perfect light dinner.

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

These stuffed tomatoes really are best served fresh, but you can store the leftovers:

  • To store, place the tomatoes in an airtight container, and refrigerate for 3 – 4 days.
  • To reheat, bake in a 350F oven for 10 – 15 minutes, or until heated through.
A baked tomato appetizer on a small white plate with a fork.

Can I Freeze This Recipe?

In general, tomatoes become rather mushy after freezing and thawing, so I do not recommend freezing these. However, you can freeze them if you wish, by cooling them and wrapping them tightly in plastic wrap. Place in freezer bags and freeze for up to 2 months. Reheat in a 350°F oven directly from frozen.

Yield: 6 Servings

Cheese Stuffed Tomatoes

Cheese stuffed tomatoes garnished with herbs.

Fresh, ripe tomatoes are the perfect match for basil, cheese, and buttery panko crumbs. This family recipe for Cheese Stuffed Tomatoes is a simple appetizer bursting with summery flavor!

Prep Time 8 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 ripe tomatoes, on the vine
  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 8 sweet basil leaves, chopped (plus more for garnish)
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Oil, for drizzling

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. 
  2. Remove the tomatoes from the vine, and slice the tops off of each. With a spoon, gently hollow out the centers of each tomato (leaving a ½-inch thick shell) and place in an empty baking dish. Set aside.
  3. Drain any extra liquid from the tomato pulp, and then lightly chop the remaining pulp into smaller chunks. Place the chopped pulp into a medium-sized bowl.
  4. In that same bowl with the tomato pulp, add in the bread crumbs, chopped basil leaves, shredded cheese, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Drizzle with the melted butter and stir until fully combined.
  5. With a spoon, gently fill the empty cavity of each tomato with the filling, until it is slightly overflowed. Drizzle the tops with olive oil.
  6. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes, or until the tomatoes are soft and the cheese is melted. Serve warm.

Notes

Storage:

These stuffed tomatoes really are best served fresh, but you can store the leftovers.

  • To store, place the tomatoes in an airtight container, and refrigerate for 3 - 4 days.
  • To reheat, bake in a 350F oven for 10 - 15 minutes, or until heated through.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 185Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 32mgSodium: 403mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 6g
© Jessica - The Novice Chef
Cuisine: American / Category: Appetizers & Snacks

More Fresh Vegetable Recipes

The post Cheese Stuffed Tomatoes appeared first on The Novice Chef.

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