Gluten-free Vegan Greek Stuffed Tomatoes (Tomates Gemistes/Ντομάτες γεμιστές)
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'Tomates gemistes' in Greek translates to stuffed tomatoes.
Traditionally they’re stuffed with rice or a ground beef and rice mixture, but these are entirely plant based with quinoa, spinach and herbs for higher nutritional value. The key to great tasting stuffed tomato dish lies in the tomato itself, they must be juicy and ripe. This recipe is really simple to make and you can also substitute the quinoa for puy lentils or chickpeas for another recipe variation.
8-10 large beef tomatoes
5 Tbsp Greek extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
250ml tomato passata
1 medium carrot, finely grated
100g spinach, fresh or frozen
1 tsp coconut sugar
3 Tbsp parsley, chopped
1 tsp oregano
½ tsp sweet paprika
¼ tsp ground all spice
¼ tsp sea salt
Cut the tops off the tomatoes, keeping their hats aside.
Scoop out the insides using a sharp knife and spoon, taking care not to pierce the shell.
Arrange in an oven proof dish.
Transfer the pulp to a blender and pulse to a thick juice, to this add the passata, sugar, salt and pepper.
In a large pan, add the olive oil and saute the onions. When they have become translucent add in the garlic, tomato paste and spices and give a stir.
Add in the quinoa, frozen spinach - if using (add fresh spinach later), carrots and tomato juice and bring to a simmer. Ensure there is enough liquid for the quinoa to cook. Top up with water if necessary but don't make the mixture too runny.
Cook uncovered until the quinoa is ready then stir through the parsley and fresh spinach until wilted.
If serving immediately, at this point preheat oven to 180ºC. You can also prepare this dish up to a day in advance and cook when required.
Fill each tomato cavity with the mixture and put their hats on.
Place any remaining mixture around the tomatoes or feel free to stuff any other vegetables like courgettes or bell peppers.
Drizzle with olive oil and a sprinke of sea salt.
Bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes. If they are beginning to burn too quickly you can cover with aluminium foil.
SERVE THIS WITH.
Feta cheese (omit for vegan)
Tomatoes - are a good source of vitamin C and potassium, and rich in lycopene, a natural antioxidant that gives tomatoes their nice red colour. It can help improve heart health, lower risk of cancer and great for skin and vision. (Source)
Quinoa - high in protein and contains all the essential amino acids that you need, making it an excellent protein source for vegetarians and vegans. (Source)
Spinach - contains several important plant compounds linked to improving eye health, heart health, reducing inflammation and decreasing your risk of cancer and chronic diseases. (Source)
Carrots - are a great source of many plant compounds, especially carotenoids, such as beta carotene and lutein, which is important for eye health. (Source)
Red onions - nutrient dense, meaning they're low in calories but high in vitamins and minerals. Red onions are rich in anthocyanin, which are powerful plant pigments that may protect against heart disease, certain cancers and diabetes. (Source)
Garlic - contains antioxidants that protect against cell damage and ageing, helps improve blood pressure, cholesterol and bone health. (Source)
Greek extra virgin olive oil - specifically Greek oil, has the lowest acidity (approximately 0.5%) and is packed with essential vitamins and minerals. Benefits may include anti-inflammatory properties, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure and improves bone calcification. (Source)
Parsley - provides a concentrated source of nutrients, particularly rich in vitamins A, C, and K. The vitamins and beneficial plant compounds in parsley may improve bone health, protect against chronic diseases, and provide antioxidant benefits. (Source)
HAVE YOU MADE THIS?
Many of my recipes call for Greek products like Greek extra virgin olive oil, Greek honey or Greek oregano. It is not mandatory for it to be Greek in order to make the recipe, you are more than welcome to use a good quality alternative; just keep in mind if you are after the authentic flavours of Greece these details do make all the difference in Greek cuisine. You can shop these ingredients here.
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Disclaimer: None of the health benefits listed are intended to diagnose or treat any pre-existing health conditions. Always consult a health care practitioner before making any health decisions. The benefits listed are from my own research and personal interest, and encourage you to follow the Source and do further research.