By Chesney Blue, RD
While technically a fruit, tomatoes are commonly used as vegetables and were legally defined as vegetables by the Supreme Court in 1893. There are more than 4,000 varieties of tomatoes varying in size, color and distinct taste.
Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamins A and C. They also provide minerals, fiber and high levels of the antioxidant lycopene to help decrease risk of certain cancers and heart disease. This low calorie vegetable (32 calories per cup) full of flavor when in season. To get the most flavor and nutrition out of your tomatoes, use raw or very lightly cook in recipes. A dash of salt will bring out the flavor even more. Enjoy!
Herb Stuffed Tomatoes with White Beans
2-1/2 lb Tomatoes, Fresh
1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 cup Onions, Yellow, Diced
1 tbsp Garlic Cloves, Minced
2 tbsp Kalamata Olives, Pitted, Chopped
1/2 oz Pitted Green Olives, Chopped
2 tbsp Capers, Drained, Chopped
1 tbsp Parsley, Fresh, Chopped
1-1/2 tbsp Oregano , Fresh, Chopped
1-1/2 tbsp Mint, Fresh, Chopped
1-1/2 cup Cannellini Beans, Canned, Drained, Rinsed
3/4 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
Use at least 8 oz tomatoes. Cut off the top 1/2″ of the tomato and using a melon baller or spoon, and remove the inside of the tomato. Sprinkle insides with salt and leave upside down while preparing remaining ingredients. Heat oil in a hot pan and sauté onions and garlic for 1 minute. Add the chopped olives and capers and toss.
Remove from heat and combine with remaining ingredients. Gently stuff each tomato (about 1/2 cup of filling into each tomato) and roast in a preheated 325°F oven for 30 – 45 minutes until inside is heated to 165°F.
Chef’s Note: Use the filling to stuff port0bello mushrooms, zucchini or eggplant.