Does your meatless Monday game need an overhaul?
As a meat eater myself, I find that the trick to meatless mealmaking is to have a small repertoire of recipes that can work as a side dish or first course, or be eaten in larger quantities as a vegetarian main dish.
Quinoa-Stuffed Tomatoes fits the bill perfectly. Serve one tomato as a tasty and toothsome side along roasted chicken or sliced beef tenderloin, or double up for a vegetarian meal that will fill you up, even if you aren’t vegetarian. The tomatoes can be made in advance, so they are brilliant for company dinners or family suppers.
Tomatoes, a source of lycopene, are stuffed with quinoa and sauteed eggplant and mushrooms. But, swap out the quinoa for brown rice, and use whatever veggies you find in the crisper drawer or freezer. Baking tomatoes is an excellent strategy for using up the less-than-perfectly-sweet ones.
While I don’t think you’ll miss the meat, if you must, add a little cooked ground meat right into the filling. Either way, you’ll have a healthy and hearty dish. And as for the pulpy, fleshy middle of the tomato that you’ll remove to stuff it: Don’t throw it out. Blend it up with a little garlic and onion and mix it into your next tomato-based pasta sauce, or use it as part of your liquid next time you make rice.
Food Network star Melissa d’Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the cookbook "Supermarket Healthy."