Recipe: Saffron Rice Stuffed Tomatoes

A few months ago I told my boyfriend that I really wanted to try saffron, I’d heard about it and seen it in the market. For my birthday he bought me a spice rack filled with all sorts of herbs and spices I’ve never had before including Japanese Pepper, Chinese Peppers, Vanilla Beans, and Saffron. So I did some research and came up with this recipe. Originally, I made it in Bell Peppers, we preferred the Bell Peppers, but this is really good for Tomato lovers.

4 Largo Tomatoes (or Bell Peppers)
1/2 Cup of Dry Basmati Rice
5 Cremini Mushrooms
1 Whole Shallot
2 Garlic Cloves
2 tbs Vegan Butter (or Olive Oil)
1 Pinch of Saffron

Optional: Olive Oil for broiling and Salt and Pepper to taste 

Step 1: Prep the Rice

Wash excess starch from your Basmati Rice, and soak Basmati Rice for 30 minutes.

Step 2: Start Stove Top Ingredients

During the soak time, finely chop your Shallot.

Add Shallots, Whole Garlic Cloves, 2 tbs Vegan Butter, and pinch of Saffron to a pan on the stove top. Cook on low.

Step 3: Hollow out Tomatoes

Hollow out the Tomatoes with a knife. Get as close to the skin as you can without puncturing it. Take half of the insides of the tomatoes, chop, and set aside for later. Also keep the tops for later.

After the Shallots are translucent from cooking and yellow from the Saffron, add in the chopped insides of the Tomato. Let this cook on low until the water is cooked out of the Tomatoes and you’re left with the oils and flavors from all the ingredients.

Step 4: Start Cooking Rice

While you’re letting all your ingredients on the stove top simmer, start cooking your Basmati Rice. I like to start the Basmati Rice at this time to slow me down and allow all the ingredients slowly cooking on the stove to really take on a nice flavor.

Step 6: Mushrooms

About halfway through the cooking time of the rice. Chop the Mushrooms and add to the stove top ingredients (the Shallots, Garlic, Tomatoes etc).

Step 7: Mix it All Together

After your Basmati Rice is cooked, gently add it to the Shallots, Garlic, Tomato, and Mushroom mixture on the stove. Lightly mix together you wan to be gentle so you don’t smush the rice.

After everything is mixed, stuff the 4 Tomatoes with the mixture and put the tops of the Tomatoes back on top. Set Tomatoes in an oven appropriate dish.

You can drizzle some Olive Oil on top if you wish, then put into the oven to broil on the middle rack. Only broil for a couple minutes and keep a close eye on it. I took my Stuffed Tomatoes out when the tops began to blacken slightly.

Step 8: Serve

I served my Saffron Rice Stuffed Tomatoes with a Spinach Salad mixed with Cucumbers, Apple Cider Dried Cranberries, Sunflower Seeds, and Cucumber. I went heavy on the seeds to add more protein to this meal.

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The Retrospective:

What I Loved:

The rich flavor of Saffron with Butter, Shallots, Garlic, and Mushroom. The rice was so good, taking the extra step to wash it and soak it just elevated the rice’s texture.

I recommend doing a nutty salad along with this dish to add more protein.

What Needed Improvement:

I think the rice works a lot better in a Bell Pepper, it’s less mushy overall and if you don’t hollow out the Tomato out really well, it’s a lot of Tomato to eat in proportion with the Rice.

But if you’re a huge tomato fan, I recommend doing this with the tomato.

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