Baked Tomatoes Stuffed with Quinoa

It’s the end of summer, and my vegetable garden looks as tattered as a scarecrow’s shirt, but it’s still providing me with those end-of-the-season tomatoes. Some of them went into plastic bags whole (yes, whole!) and are stashed in the freezer, awaiting soups and stews I’ll get to this fall and winter. If you’ve never tried it, it’s simple. You can take out one or two from the plastic bag, run under cold water and the tomato will be simple to peel. Cut into chunks, or leave it whole, and toss into a recipe for some extra color and flavor. 
But before you stash all those late summer tomatoes into the freezer, give this recipe a try. 
Tomatoes stuffed with rice are a classic Roman dish, and my friend Frank has a great recipe for them, on his blog, Memorie Di Angelina.  This recipe however, uses quinoa instead of rice. 
Start out by slicing off the top of the tomato, then scooping out the interior. (Save that pulp and juice and strain it to use later.)
Mix the cooled quinoa and swiss chard (or spinach or kale if you prefer) with cheese and seasonings.
Stuff the tomatoes, and pour a little of the tomato water in the dish.
Sprinkle with a little more of the cheese and bake.

Baked Tomatoes Stuffed with Quinoa
printable recipe here

8 medium size tomatoes
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water
1 T. olive oil
1/4 cup onion, minced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 heaping cup swiss chard (or spinach), roughly chopped
parsley, basil, minced
salt, pepper
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup asiago cheese
olive oil for drizzling

Scoop out the inside of the tomatoes and set aside in a colander, over a bowl. Press out the liquid, tossing aside the seeds and pulp (This part is optional, but I like to surround the tomatoes with the tomato water when I cook them.) Sprinkle some salt on the inside of the emptied-out tomatoes and turn them upside down over some paper towels to drain.

Cook the quinoa by adding it to the water and let it come to a boil.  Let it come to a simmer, cover and let it cook until the water is absorbed, about 10 to 15 minutes. Let it cool slightly. In the olive oil, sauté the onion until translucent, then add the garlic clove and swiss chard. Sauté until swiss chard is wilted. Add the seasonings. Mix the parmesan and asiago cheese together in a bowl, and set aside about 1/3 cup to sprinkle on the top when you put the tomatoes in the oven. Add the other 2/3 cup to the quinoa mixture.
Place the stuffed tomatoes in an ovenproof baking dish and top with the 1/3 cup cheese. Optional: Surround with 1/2 cup tomato water. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Bake at 425 degrees 1/2 hour or until top is browned. If it gets browned too quickly, lower the temperature to 400 degrees.

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