It’s July and it is HOT. So, I’m trying to keep the house cool. That means my grill and I have become best buds as we conspire to cook everything possible on the grill!
I especially love to find vegetarian items to grill, such as beets, zucchini or asparagus.
In this chapter of Keep the House Cool, we will select the right tomatoes, we’ll stuff ‘em and then grill ‘em. Easy!
How do you prep a tomato for stuffing?
If you have ever stuffed bell peppers, you already know how it’s done. Cut a slice from the top, scoop out the insides and then use the remaining shell for your filling. In the case of tomatoes, I like to use a grapefruit spoon for the scooping. Those serrated edges make it easy. You’ll end up with a hollow shell of tomato, ready to be filled.
Ingredients needed for stuffed tomatoes
First, choose your tomatoes. I like to buy tomatoes on the vine for this. It’s the easiest way to get 4-5 tomatoes of the same size. They are usually about 2-3 inches in diameter. Now, larger beefsteak tomatoes work, but then you’ll need either need more filling or fewer tomatoes.
The beauty of this recipe is that you can revise the filling to suit your taste. Please regard this recipe/ingredient list as a starting point.
- Ricotta cheese
- Fresh mozzarella cheese
- Panko breadcrumbs (Italian seasoned)
- Italian seasoning
- Salt and pepper
How to make grilled stuffed tomatoes
Hollow out the tomatoes as described above. Invert the tomatoes onto paper towels to drain while you mix the filling.
The filling is mixed together and then used to stuff the tomatoes. It makes a “firm” mixture, so I like to divide it roughly into 5 portions (assuming I have 5 tomatoes) and then shape each portion so it fits the tomato.
Mix breadcrumbs with melted butter and sprinkle on top.
How to grill the stuffed tomatoes
In theory, tomatoes can be placed right on hot grill grates. But I prefer to use a grill basket for anything small and/or fragile. These tomatoes qualify. They might feel quite sturdy to start but as they cook the tomatoes get very soft. Best practice: lean tomatoes against the sides of the basket. This helps prevent tipping. Grill at medium heat for about 10-15 minutes. The tomatoes will soften and the breadcrumbs will be slightly toasted. Carefully remove from the grill and allow to cool slightly before serving.
Grilled Stuffed Tomatoes
- 5 medium tomatoes on the vine for uniform size
- 4 ounces ricotta cheese
- 3 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs Italian seasoned (divided)
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 Tablespoon butter melted
- Cut a thin slice from the top of each tomato. Scoop out and discard the pulp. Invert the tomatoes on a paper towel to drain.
- Combine ricotta cheese with ¼ cup breadcrumbs, minced garlic and Italian seasoning. Cut or tear the mozzarella into small pieces and add. Mix and season with salt and pepper.
- Spoon cheese mixture into tomato shells. Combine butter and remaining breadcrumbs, then sprinkle over tops of stuffed tomatoes.
- Place a lightly greased grill basket on a grill warmed to medium heat. Place tomatoes in basket. Grill, closed, for 10-15 minutes, or until heated through. Cool slightly before serving.
Nutrition values are estimates only, using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.
Options and substitutions
For each of the ingredients listed, here are a few ideas to change the filling and make it your own:
Ricotta Cheese –
A similar recipe on Wisconsincheese.com inspired this one. For that version, mascarpone cheese was used, which is a tasty alternative to the ricotta.
Mozzarella cheese –
Honestly, I haven’t tried anything but fresh Mozzarella in this mix. IMHO, it’s tough to beat.
Italian seasoning –
If you love fresh basil, give that a try instead of the Italian seasoning. It gives a similar-but-different flavor punch to the filling.
Panko breadcrumbs –
Panko works great in this filling, but regular breadcrumbs will work as well. The panko just stays a little crispier. 😀
Lower carb version –
Eliminate the breadcrumbs. Chop up a little of the tomato pulp and add it to the filling. You could chop up some spinach to add in as well. Great way to sneak in some extra vegetables!
What goes with stuffed tomatoes
Whenever I grill meat, I “rest” the cooked meat for at least 10 minutes. Use this interval to grill these stuffed tomatoes. The grill is already hot, so it’s an easy transition. Stuffed tomatoes make a perfect side with pork tenderloin, grilled chicken, or even burgers.
More grilled side dishes
It's so fun to make side dishes on the grill. Try any of these with your next meal: