This version is a closer substitute to those you might enjoy whilst holidaying in various Greek Isles. But I’ve added a bit of a cheat to make it slightly more accessible and quicker to get to the table, an ideal midweek meal when work, school and extra-curricular commitments can make cooking a bit of a last priority.
These ones are enriched with a quick Greek tomato sauce - but unlike the original recipe (or 100’s of recipes I found) I have used ready-cooked Microwave rice, to speed things up. So instead of the sauce cooking the rice from scratch, it merely enriches and flavours.
The result is stunning. This is a fabulous vegetarian and vegan option and we have enjoyed as a Meatfree Monday meal a few times recently. If you’re making a meze of different dishes you can also make with smaller tomatoes so they’re not quite as filling.
I’ve just used mint as that’s the closest flavouring to those from my beloved Kerkyra (Corfu) and I think it adds a lovely freshness, but you can try dill or parsley too. Also for the sauce, this is a very basic one but if you want to play around and add any further flavourings that would work too - adding celery, olives or dried chilli to the base for example, or a glug of balsamic or red wine vinegar.
I like to serve with just salad.
The below serves 4 adults but if there are just the two, believe me they make a great lunchbox for the following day - hot or cold.
- X4 beef tomatoes
- 1 packet microwave rice
- 1 white onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 courgette
- 1 red pepper
- 1 yellow pepper
- Handful mint leaves
- Olive oil
For the sauce;
- 1/2 onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 tin chopped tomatoes
- Pinch dried oregano
- Pinch salt
- Pinch sugar
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees.
Now slice off the top off each of the beef tomatoes carefully, as you want this to act as the ‘lid’.
Now carefully use a knife to cut free the internal flesh of the tomato, then use a tablespoon to carefully scoop it all out and set aside in a bowl. Once you are left with four tomato ‘shells’. Add a little salt to help remove some of the retained moisture and turn upside down to drain further while you prepare everything else.
Firstly dice the two onions and add to two separate pans on a medium heat with generous glugs of olive oil.
Mince the garlic cloves and divide between the two pans.
For the tomato sauce, add to one of the pans the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, pinch of salt and sugar, oregano and some black pepper to taste. Allow to cook away for ten minutes then take off of the heat.
In the meantime, dice the courgette and chop the peppers and add to the other pan. Now roughly chop the leftover tomato flesh and also add to the pan. Don’t let this combination dry out - if needed add a little extra olive oil to keep the contents moist - the rice will soak up any oil so don’t worry about it being too wet. Season well at this point.
Give a good stir and then add the microwave rice direct from the packet. Give it a good stir to ensure the rice gets a good coating. Add 1-2 tablespoons of the sauce too and stir well.
Now remove from the heat and turn the tomatoes back up the right way and place into an oven-proof dish.
Load the rice and vegetable mixture into each of the tomatoes until they are quite full.
Now add a generously heaped tablespoon full of the sauce to the top of each of the tomatoes and then place the ‘lid’ on top.
Drizzle each of the tomatoes with a little olive oil on the outside and then finally place a large sheet of foil loosely over the tomatoes and place into the oven for 35 minutes.
Remove from the oven and if you require the tomatoes to be slightly more well done, remove the foil and return to the oven for a further 10-15 minutes.
Otherwise allow to stand for a couple of minutes and then serve with your choice of salad. Enjoy!