Farro and Vegetables Stuffed Tomatoes
I can’t say it’s the weather that pushed me to turn the oven on all weekend and bake, roast, braise, etc.. I am not nesting. I am not feeling blue. I just had the urge to crank it full blast in spite of gorgeous skies and a refreshing 85F. Yes. Anything below 95F is refreshing to a Southerner…
I can see hints of Fall peeking here and there. The leaves are slowly changing and the evening bring on a cooler breeze and a sweater. But, we are still in flipflops and tee-shirts during the day. I wore boots once last week and even that was pushing it.
This in-between is actually my favorite part of seasonal transition. I feel I can breathe. The new light cast by the sun is balm to my soul. The cloudless sky, crisp air and lush foliage just get me in the mood for heartier meals and dishes. Even if it’s just me and the old pup back at the house.
With the husband gone back to Charleston for a few weeks, I can’t sensibly make a large coq au vin, pot roast or lasagna without eating the leftovers for days (unless I have friends over every night)(and I have a thimble sized freezer so I can’t portion/freeze/rotate). Instead, I gravitate towards smaller, individual sized portions for most dinners.
My favorite thing to do this time of year and while cooking for one most nights is to make stuffed vegetables. With one simple preparation I can have stuffed onions, tomatoes, zucchini or eggplant comforting me for dinner after a long day on set.
Les Farcis is a cultural institutions in my family. My grandmother was famous for her "petits farcis provencal" filled with ground meat, rice, onions, garlic, lots of basil and thyme. To this day, no one in the family makes them quite like she used to. And no, it’s not because of that elusive and often times nostalgic way to remember a grandmother. She had her own way of mixing ingredients in her own proportions in order to create a heavenly balanced dish.
My mom’s stuffed vegetables were something else too. Especially the big red peppers. Filled to the rim with a variation on her mom’s. I loved stuffed pepper night. They were generously moist, opulent in flavors and big! And I was always intrigued as a child with the idea of putting all of one’s meal ingredients (minus dessert) into one big plump vegetable. I thought there was some genius in that.
I just follow in their footsteps by cooking my own variations of stuffed vegetables. When I find them, I use little round zucchinis, known as eight-ball zucchini and fill them with leftover ratatouille and rice or local sausage I find at the farmers market (recipe here). When I am by myself, anything I throw together and stuff a vegetable remains meat free.
This time around, I used farro instead of rice and added a healthy mixed of eggplant, zucchini, onion and fiery hot peppers. A good dose of parsley and time. A little sprinkle of feta right before they went in the oven and I was in business.
The end result was perfect for sightly cooler nights and a simple dinner at home.
Farro And Vegetables Stuffed Tomatoes:
8 medium size tomatoes
1 onion, diced
1 eggplant, diced
1 zucchini, diced
3 red hot pepper or one small red bell pepper, seeded and diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup farro
1 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup feta
Cut the tomatoes top off. Scoop out the pulp and reserve for later. Place the tomatoes in a large baking dish.
In a large skillet set over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onion and eggplant. Sautee for about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook for another 5 minutes.Add the peppers, garlic and reserved tomato and cook for another 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the farro in 2 cups boiling water. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered until the water is absorbed.
Preheat the oven to 375F.
When the farro is cooked, add it to the vegetable mixture and stir. Add the thyme and parsley. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
Feel the hollowed tomatoes with that mixture, sprinkle with the feta. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and bake for about 30-40 minutes. Serve warm or room temperature with a simple green salad.
Unknown October 15, 2013 um 3:07 am
I like how this dish is like a transition into fall. It still has that summery feel with the tomatoes but it's a great way to transition into colder weather!
Ondina Maria October 15, 2013 um 11:10 am
Here in Porto, Portugal, the transition time was quick. Last weekend was already rainy and for the first time in several months I turned my oven on. Homemade pizza, apple and blueberry whole crumble, sourdough bread. Autumn is back and I'm happy to enjoy my favorite season 🙂
Soon I'll be having greek-style stuffed aubergines!
Unknown October 15, 2013 um 11:24 am
Hi, the recipe looks great and I want to make it for dinner, but where does the garlic come into play?
Lara October 15, 2013 um 11:28 am
Helene October 15, 2013 um 12:42 pm
Joey: right after the peppers.
french cravings October 15, 2013 um 1:02 pm
Fall arrives at about 11 am today here in Dallas. Seriously. A cold front is on the way. This recipe is just what I needed to celebrate the long awaited cooler weather. Katie
Andree-Anne October 15, 2013 um 3:59 pm
Cooking for one can often be such a burden! I don't know why I've never tough of stuffed vegetable. It's a fuss free way to clean the fridge 😉
Christy October 15, 2013 um 6:02 pm
Beautiful, can't wait to try! xo -Turnip
Colette (Coco) October 15, 2013 um 8:00 pm
Such a pretty dish.
Never tried farro. Gotta see how it tastes!
terri October 15, 2013 um 11:13 pm
It's amazing how many different versions of stuffed vegetables exist all over the world. I once had some made by a Kurdish woman. Hers were flavored with cinnamon.
Christin October 16, 2013 um 2:10 am
They look delicious. I love recipes with a beautiful tradition attached.
Susan @ my taste haven October 17, 2013 um 12:10 am
Great recipe! I have been wanting to give farro a try- and it seems to be a perfect ingredient to stuff the tomato (as well as something different than the usual rice).
anna @ annamayeveryday October 17, 2013 um 2:48 pm
This looks so delicious and your photographs are, as always amazing. I have your book so why aren't my photographs like yours!!
Rocky Mountain Woman October 18, 2013 um 3:27 pm
Nice way to extend the tomato season a bit – ours are getting a little less special so baking them is perfect right now…
My Little Recettes October 22, 2013 um 12:06 pm
Je découvre votre blog et les photos sont très belles, me reste à tester les recettes ;).
Bien à vous
BoxSet October 22, 2013 um 10:15 pm
I love the gorgeous color contrast. I bet these tomatoes are delicious. I love tomatoes stuffed with sausage and rice too.
Penny October 23, 2013 um 12:28 pm
These remind me of the stuffed vegetables we had at my French friend's home in Tours this past summer. She has a flair for finding just the right balance of ingredients. I love your combination.
Yoanna October 24, 2013 um 1:27 pm
Beautiful blog <3
El October 29, 2013 um 2:43 am
Looks delicious. Hope you're doing well!
Unknown October 30, 2013 um 3:41 am
Anonymous October 30, 2013 um 3:45 pm
I love this idea. I could just roast up a tomato and stuff it in my face… you brought it to another level. Now I can stuff my tomato and then stuff that in my mouth
Calgary catering November 5, 2013 um 12:53 pm
I wonder if I could find faro here, I assume it is a grain? This sounds wonderful and so easy. Thank you.
Karen November 11, 2013 um 6:32 pm
I grew up eating stuffed peppers, I love this tomato version. Can't wait to try it out. x
Unknown November 13, 2013 um 10:54 pm
These look darling and I absolutely love your photography of them against the contrasting blue background! I love that I'm not the only one who eats vegetarian when the husbands away! 🙂
Stephanie @ Everyday Feasts November 19, 2013 um 11:54 am
These look delicious! My grandmother and mother also used to make stuffed vegetables, and I have fond memories of helping them prepare the filling and stuffing whatever vegetable was available and in season. Thank you for sharing — you've made me feel nostalgic!
Sini │ my blue and white kitchen November 25, 2013 um 9:21 am
What a lovely post, Helene! Stuffed vegetables are pure comfort. I made stuffed bell peppers a few days ago. I filled them with basmati and wild rice, portobello mushrooms, minced meat, and lots of thyme. Will make your version soon.
Have a great week,
Adam December 3, 2013 um 8:24 pm
Such a beautiful dish! I love stuffed vegetables and its such a unique combination, thanks for sharing!
Anonymous January 24, 2014 um 10:28 am
OMG! just stumbled on your blog
you have great Style! xxx
Lisa in South Africa
FOOD GEEK GRAZE May 8, 2015 um 2:59 pm
the addition of feta… clever and yummy. this choice of your's will really influence several other constructs in my kitchen. grateful+++++