Italian Stuffed Pesto Tomatoes

tomato There is nothing quite like a fresh tomato: whether it be the crunchy, sweet cherry tomatoes of early summer or the hearty colorful heirlooms of fall – they are a staple year-round in our household. While tomatoes are botanically a fruit, they are used as vegetables in the culinary world which means they cross over into a variety of dishes! This week the grocery store had some enticingly large beefsteak tomatoes and I couldn’t resist trying this new recipe for Italian stuffed tomatoes. The recipe yielded 8 very large stuffed tomates, and the total cost was around $11. Asher loves beans and pesto, so the stuffing also doubles as a great vegetarian toddler meal! I usually use green peppers for “stuffed” dishes, but these were SERIOUSLY good. You could also make this as a cold salad dish for lunch by keeping the kale leaves fresh and not baking the tomates.

ITALIAN STUFFED PESTO TOMATOES – VEGAN!

8 large beefsteak tomatoes
2 cans cannellini beans
1 can artichoke hearts in water
1 bunch kale
1/2 cup pesto (either fresh or store-bought)

Preheat the oven to 350 degree F. Drain the cannellini beans and arthichoke hearts and toss in a mixing bowl along with the pesto. Slice the tops off your beefsteak tomates about 1/4” down. Use a spoon to scoop out the insides of the tomatoes then add to your bean mixture. Remove ribs from the kale and roughly chop the leaves, then cook in a large saute pan on medium heat for 5 minutes. When the leaves are wilted, add the pesto bean mixture and cook for another 5 minutes. Use a tablespoon spoon to stuff the tomatoes until they are overflowing, then bake in a casserole dish for 15 minutes. You want the tomates to stay firm enough for serving, but the cook time allows the flavors to marinate nicely.

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