Fresh tomatoes from the garden or farmers market are a summer taste that is hard to beat. Filled tomatoes lend the fresh tomato flavor right to the center of the filling and make every bite delicious. This tomato dish is easy as you don’t preboil the tomatoes and can make them in the oven or the microwave. I have a ‘thing’ about using the oven while the AC is running at full throttle, so I microwave them. This recipe makes a good side dish or a stand-alone meal. I fill them with lentils. Now wait a second! If you have never eaten or cooked lentils, try them. These little jewels are waiting for you at the grocery store where the dried peas and beans are shelved. Lentils are such good nutrition. Lentils are filled with fiber and protein and because they are a good ‘carb’ you need to eat less and will feel fuller longer. You can add any protein you like to this dish: shrimp, chicken, beef, pork, or tofu, or none at all. Serve the filled tomatoes with a low-calorie cucumber sauce (recipe below) that is delicious all by itself. This dish if a win!
2-tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup diced celery
1/3 cup diced onion
1/3 cup diced bell pepper
1 garlic clove
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup cooked chicken, shrimp, beef, pork, or tofu
4 medium, firm tomatoes
Cook the lentils according to package directions. Drain and set aside. In sauté pan heat the olive oil on medium-heat and add the well-drained, cooked, lentils. Stir until the lentils are coated with the oil. Add the vegetables and cook until soft. Add the garlic and seasonings. Reduce heat to low and cook three minutes, stirring well. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cooked meat, shrimp, or prepared tofu.
Wash four medium, firm tomatoes. Slice just the tops off the tomatoes. Carefully scoop out the filling being careful not to slice through the flesh of the tomato. Chop the upper edge you have trimmed from each tomato, minus the stem, and add to the filling mixture. Fill each tomato with prepared filling packing firmly. Spread extra filling on the bottom of baking dish. Set tomatoes on the filling. Cover and heat in microwave (about 5 minutes on high) or oven (about 20 minutes at 350˚) until center filling is hot.
Serve with Parmesan cheese or Cucumber Sauce
1 medium cucumber, peeled and seeded
1-cup low-fat Greek yogurt
1-teaspoon dill weed
½ teaspoon black pepper
Grate the cucumber into a bowl. Add the other ingredients and stir well. Chill prior to serving.