I have made many versions of stuffed tomatoes over the years and mostly when I make Greek dishes, but this recipe with the almond and spinach filling is definitely the best I have ever tasted. All thanks to Michelin star chef, Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen, a fellow South African as well.
In the world we live in today, it is impossible to ignore vegetarian or vegan dishes and although I am not one myself, I am happy to try new recipes and have at least 2-3 days a week of meatless meals.
This recipe has been adapted from the original recipe and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.
- 60g x almonds
- 6 x beef or large tomatoes
- 80g x basmati rice, uncooked (The easiest is to cook 1 x boil-in-bag rice packet)
- 18 x cherry tomatoes
- 1 x garlic clove
- 1 Tbsp x lemon juice, fresh
- 1 Tbsp x apple cider vinegar
- 80ml x water + bit more if necessary
- 400g x baby spinach leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place the almonds in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let the almonds soak for 2 hours or in cold water overnight.
- Heat the oven to 100 °C. Halve the cherry tomatoes and place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Slow-roast them in the oven for 1 hour. When done, remove from the oven and set aside until needed.
- Back to the almonds. After 2 hours, remove the skins on the almonds. (They usually slide off easy but don't fuss too much with a few that don't come off, it makes no difference to the dish)
- Place the the almonds in a food processor, add the garlic, lemon juice, vinegar and water. Blitz until smooth and creamy. (You might have to add a bit more water to get a smooth peanut butter consistency)
- Season the almond cream with salt and pepper.
- Cook the rice according to the instructions on the package, drain and set aside.
- Heat the oven to 180 °C.
- Gently remove the stem and leafy bits attached to the tomatoes and set aside to use as garnish later.
- Slice off the top of each large tomato and scoop the flesh out with a teaspoon. (I chop up the tops and freeze it with the flesh for another recipe)
- Rinse the spinach in a colander. Heat a non-stick frying pan and let the spinach wilt in the pan. Add the almond cream to the wilted spinach and let it cook for 1 minute.
- First, divide the rice into the hollowed-out tomatoes.
- Place the tomatoes on a lined baking tray.
- Spoon the spinach filling on top of the rice and place in the oven. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes. (I actually find it easier and less messy to place the spinach/almond filling in a piping bag)
- Remove from the oven and arrange 3 cherry tomato halves on top of each tomato.
- Place the stems and leafy bits you removed earlier in the centre of each tomato.
- Serve warm.