As I was plodding home from where I abandoned my broken-down car, I was thinking about how I’d grade the past week. D, I’d give it a solid D.
Then I got home and uploaded my food pictures for the week and realized I had totally forgotten about these little gems! Somehow I’d forgotten about a really enjoyable weeknight dinner on the patio of roasted stuffed tomatoes and an arugula salad. I’d forgotten the lovely little cheese plate with plum jam that followed and the bottle of white wine that washed it all down. Suddenly, things came in to focus; I remembered what actually mattered instead of thinking of the ailing car, the struggles with a half-broken website, crusty burnt sugar-covered pans, and anything related to work.
So let’s push past what could be just another crappy Monday/Wednesday/week/month/et cetera and put together a dinner that will be worth remembering. We’re going to stuff tomatoes with quinoa, tuna, and capers and roast them ’til they’re a little shriveled and way too cute. We’ll eat them outside while it’s still the season to dine al fresco. We’ll open a bottle of wine just for the fun of it, forget about the crud that’s going wrong, and focus on what’s going right: dinner.
Gather your ingredients and let’s get cooking: a few tomatoes, quinoa, can of tuna, herbs, and capers.
Cut the tops off the tomatoes and scoop out their centers.
Chop up the tomato guts, let the juices drain through a sieve, and use the liquid to cook the quinoa in for extra tomato flavor. You could skip this step and use the tomato to make a sauce later in the week or save the juices and shake ‘em up with a splash of pepperoncino brine and vodka for a “healthful” martini. Your call.
Combine cooked quinoa with flaked tuna, some chopped shallot, a forkful of capers, plenty of parsley, bit of oregano, spoonful of mayonnaise, and a dollop of Dijon mustard.
Pack the quinoa and tuna into the hollowed out tomatoes and pop them in the oven to roast until the tomatoes are tender and the quinoa is a little crunchy on top.Pull the stuffed tomatoes out of the oven and let them cool briefly. Toss a salad, open a bottle of wine, and step outside to forget your worries and enjoy a simple, but utterly delicious, dinner.
- 4 medium Tomatoes, ripe but firm
- ½ c. Uncooked Quinoa, rinsed
- 1 5 oz. can Olive Oil-Packed Tuna (*see notes)
- 1 small Shallot, minced
- 2 Tbsp. Capers
- ½ c. chopped Italian Flat Leaf Parsley
- 1 Tbsp. chopped Fresh Oregano or ½ tsp. Dried Oregano
- zest of ½ Lemon
- 1 Tbsp. Mayonnaise
- 2 tsp. Dijon Mustard
- Cut the tops off the tomatoes and scoop out the middle. Salt the cavities and place upside-down on a paper towel. Coarsely chop the tomato flesh and place in a mesh sieve over a large liquid measuring cup. Press with the back of a spoon to release juice. Add water if needed to reach 1 c.
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Combine tomato water, quinoa, and ¼ tsp. kosher salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Simmer until the quinoa is tender and the liquid has been absorbed, about 12 minutes. If any excess liquid remains, drain.
- Combine cooked quinoa with tuna, shallot, capers, parsley, oregano, lemon zest, mayonnaise, and mustard. Stir to combine. Taste. Season with plenty of black pepper and salt, if needed (the tuna and capers will probably contribute enough).
- Stuff the tomatoes with the quinoa mixture and place in a baking pan. Place the tomato tops alongside, if you’d like the quinoa to develop a bit of crunch on top. Rub the tomatoes with a little olive oil and roast until the tomatoes are tender and their skin is starting to shrivel but are still retaining their shape, 30-35 minutes. Allow to cool slightly or to room temperature, place the tops jauntily upon the quinoa stuffing, and serve.