“Meaty” & Delicious Stuffed Tomatoes (or Peppers)

by cillefish

vegetarian stuffed tomatoesFor a dinner with friends tonight, I signed on to make some kind of side using the fresh tomatoes that finally are coming in by the bucketload this summer. After trying a few different options earlier this week, I picked this one, which required almost no adaptation to make vegetarian — I doubled the egg and used Morningstar sausages, but that’s about it. (Meat eaters out there can reverse that to get to square one… or try the original recipe, here.)

This was a good side dish for a 3-person meal (we halved 3 larger, round tomatoes), along with fresh pasta one friend made; he topped the pasta with some stir-fried veggies and we were set.

  • 10-12 Morningstar breakfast sausage links, defrosted and cut up small (or 3/4 lb sweet Italian sausages, casings removed)
  • 3/4 cups to 1 1/4 cup coarsely grated zucchini (about 1/2 a normal-sized zucchini)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 c minced fresh (or 1 1/2 T dried) parsley
  • 1/8 cup fine dry breadcrumbs (I used panko and not the seasoned Italian stuff – cut back on the other spices if you go for the crouton-esque type)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper (don’t be stingy)
  • 3/4 teaspoon minced fresh (or 1/4 t dried and crushed between your fingers) rosemary
  • 3-4 largish medium-size tomatoes

Preheat oven to 350° F and set rack close to top.

Halve the tomatoes, top-to-bottom, slice them just inside the side that was the top to separate the inside structure from the stem area, and scoop out the middles with a spoon (you can set these aside for tomato soup). Set empty tomato halves in an un-oiled baking dish so that they just touch.

Mix all other ingredients in a bowl. Spoon mixture into the tomato halves, tamping the first bits down a bit and mounding the toppings about half again as high as each tomato half is. Cook 10-15 minutes on upper rack; remove when sausage looks darker brownish and any spilled egg is looking like done, poached egg.

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