In this caprese spin on a classic summer side dish, nutrient-packed quinoa is blended with pasta sauce, gooey mozzarella, & fresh basil, stuffed into ripe tomatoes, topped with Parmesan, and baked to perfection!
To say that I am a fan of red, juicy, garden-ripe tomatoes would be an understatement. While I have an arguably black thumb and no garden to call my own, I’m lucky enough to have nearby in-laws with a bountiful garden full of resplendent summer veggies. And my father-in-law happens to be particularly good at growing the best tomatoes this side of anywhere.
When I was pregnant with my daughter a few summers ago, I inhaled a big tomato sandwich for lunch every single day. So it’s probably no coincidence that my daughter loves tomatoes now. My eldest son shares our love of tomatoes as well, and while my hubby and middle son could do without them raw (what’s wrong with those people?!), they do like them cooked. So when we have a plethora of tomatoes to eat up each summer, some of them inevitably find their way into stuffed, baked tomato side dishes.
While the filling I typically concoct consists of some sort of breadcrumb/herb/Parmesan mixture, I thought it would be fun to make these stuffed tomatoes extra healthy today using quinoa. And not only that, but the quinoa is extra tasty because it’s gotten a caprese treatment! If there’s anything I love as much as a garden-fresh, summer tomato, it’s eating that tomato with mozzarella and fresh basil.
So that’s what I did here. To make these beauties, simply take cooked quinoa and blend in some pasta sauce (homemade or your favorite jarred variety works just fine), shredded mozzarella, and ribbons of fresh basil. Stuff it into your hollowed out tomatoes, top with grated Parmesan, and bake until the tomatoes are soft, the cheesy quinoa is gooey, and the Parmesan is golden brown. Fresh, healthy, and delicious!
In fact, this quinoa is so delicious that my tomato-lovin’ 21-month-old whined for a bite while I was putting together the filling. I gave her one…and then she wanted another. And another. So to be perfectly honest, I skimped on filling my last tomato so that I could reserve a small bowl of caprese quinoa for her lunch that day. Hey…if a picky toddler is willing — no, excited! — to eat something nutritious, you go with it.
My daughter may have been my taste tester at lunchtime, but our whole family enjoyed these Caprese Quinoa Stuffed Tomatoes for dinner that night. I think you and yours will love them, too! Not only would anyone be delighted to eat such a lovely summer side dish, but the added bonus is that it’s a nourishing one as well. 😉
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