No need to take a summer vacation from “Meatless Mondays” when fresh tomatoes are in season. Quinoa Stuffed Tomatoes are a healthy vegetarian dinner that won’t leave you wanting more…well, except maybe for seconds. They’re loaded with filling healthy grains and vegetables, and topped with parmesan and breadcrumbs in a nod to the classic version.
If you’ve been searching for vegetarian dinner recipes that celebrate summer but aren’t yet another salad, look no further.
I’m not a full time vegetarian, but I am an adherent to Meatless Mondays in the summer (a) because it gives me one more excuse to enjoy my favorite summer veggies, but more importantly (b) it allows me to “detox” from summer weekends.
Picnics. Barbecues. Crab feasts. Festivals. And ice cream. My god, so much ice cream. Which is technically vegetarian, but that’s neither here nor there. I need a reset.
That being said, I still need to eat something substantial. I love a good dinner salad as much as anyone, but I’ve got a hungry hubby and two hungry, hungry hippos that need constant refueling once they’re out of school and loaded with energy that somehow mysteriously disappears between September through May.
Healthy tomato recipes are a dime a dozen, but not many of them stand up as a complete meal on their own. I specifically designed this stuffed tomato recipe to combat every aforementioned affliction.
Fresh, ripe (but not too ripe) tomatoes, nutty quinoa, sautéed spinach and just a touch of classic comfort food from a cheesy breadcrumb topping make these baked tomatoes close enough to clean eating that you can carry on with your week after that carnival was just in town, with their fried dough and their hot dogs… Ugh. I love you and I hate you, summer.
Classic Stuffed Tomatoes with a Healthy Twist
I’ve always found classic stuffed tomatoes to be both lacking and too much. They’re typically crammed full of a cheesy breadcrumb mixture – which doesn’t sound bad in theory, but it always left me wondering what the point was. Like, there was just nothing remarkable there but a whole lotta goop.
Now, our recipe for stuffed tomatoes has some serious substance. To make them an awesome vegetarian dinner, I added quinoa for protein, plus onions and spinach for vitamins, fiber, and flavor. Top these baked tomatoes with traditional breadcrumbs and parmesan for some crunch and you’ve got a complete meal instead of a seasonal side!
Best Tomatoes for Stuffing?
We like vine-ripened or greenhouse tomatoes for their uniform size and sweet flavor. They’re large enough to hold a substantial amount of stuffing, with a good round shape that sits well in a casserole dish.
Odd shaped tomatoes like heirlooms and romas aren’t the best choice. (Plus, heirlooms are so expensive that you definitely want to use the whole fruit – save those for a Tomato Galette or Tomato Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing.)
Bottom line? Choose tomatoes equal in size so they cook evenly, and make sure they’re firm so they hold up.
How to Make Quinoa Stuffed Tomatoes
Reset and refuel with this summer vegetarian dinner. Quinoa Stuffed Tomatoes are hearty without being hefty. Bake fresh tomatoes with a whole grain and vegetable stuffing, and a perfect kiss of cheesy goodness. This recipe stands on its own as a main dish, but can also fly as a seasonal side!
- Slice off the tops of the tomatoes (about a ½″ off the top), then scoop out the seeds and pulp with a melon baller or grapefruit spoon.
- Season the tomatoes with salt, then invert them onto a cooling rack nested into a baking sheet – this will allow excess moisture to drain for plump, not watery, baked tomatoes.
- Saute an onion until soft, then add garlic and Italian seasoning and cook 1 minute more.
- Add fresh spinach to the onion mixture and cook a few minutes more to wilt it.
- In a large bowl, combine the onion and spinach mixture with cooked quinoa, parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, and fresh basil. Give the stuffing a good toss.
- Pat the tomatoes dry, arrange cut side up in a baking dish, then stuff each with the filling.
- Mix more bread crumbs and parmesan cheese with a bit of olive oil to make a buttery, crunchy topping.
- Spoon the topping over each stuffed tomato.
- Transfer the casserole dish to a 375°F oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. The topping should be golden brown the tomatoes should be slightly softened. Serve right away as a main dish with a tossed salad.
- Line the baking sheet with paper towels to collect moisture from tomatoes for easier cleanup.
- Don’t like quinoa? Get outta here! J/k, you can use cooked rice instead. Wild rice is a really nice substitution here!
- We love making quinoa in the instant pot – it’s so easy and truly perfect every single time!
Storing and Reheating
Once cooled, loosely cover baked tomatoes with cling wrap and store in the fridge up to 2 days. For best results, reheat in the oven at 350°F for about 10 minutes or in the air fryer at 350°F for 5 minutes.
Did you make this recipe for healthy stuffed tomatoes? I’d love to know how it turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below.
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Vegetarian Quinoa Stuffed TomatoesPrint Recipe Rate this Recipe Pin Recipe
- 8 vine ripened tomatoes
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 sweet onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 3 ounces baby spinach, coarsely chopped, about 4 cups loosely packed
- 1.5 cups cooked quinoa
- ½ c grated parmesan cheese, divided
- ½ c panko bread crumbs, divided
- 2 tbsp fresh basil, julienned, plus more for garnish
- Heat the oven to 375°F. Lightly mist a 2-quart baking dish with olive oil or olive oil spray; set aside. Nest a cooling rack into a baking sheet; set aside.
- Prep the tomatoes. Slice ½-inch off the tops of the tomatoes to expose the interior. Scoop out the seeds and pulp with a grapefruit spoon or melon baller. Sprinkle the insides of the tomatoes with salt, then invert the tomatoes onto the cooling rack; this will drain excess moisture.
- Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 5-7 minutes.
- Add the garlic and Italian seasoning and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute more.
- Add the baby spinach and cook, stirring frequently, until the spinach wilts and the greens are evenly distributed throughout the onion mixture.
- Place the cooked quinoa into a bowl. Scrape the spinach and onion mixture into the quinoa, then add ¼ cup parmesan cheese, ¼ cup bread crumbs, and the fresh basil. Toss the mixture until well combined.
- Pat the tomatoes dry, then arrange in the prepared baking dish cut side up. Evenly distribute the quinoa filling between the tomatoes.
- Stir the remaining ¼ cup bread crumbs with the remaining ¼ cup parmesan cheese and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle on top of the tomatoes.
- Transfer to the oven and bake 30-35 minutes, or until the tomatoes are soft and the topping is lightly browned. Serve right away.
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