A classic side dish made gluten-free. Quick and easy. Tomatoes stuffed with savory breadcrumbs, goat cheese, and pine nuts. Great for entertaining or casual family dining.
Tomatoes Provencal, named for the idyllic region in southern France, is a simple side dish with sophisticated taste. Firm tomatoes are hallowed out, stuffed with a gluten-free, savory breadcrumb mixture, and then baked to golden perfection. There are countless versions of Tomatoes Provencal and many ways to vary the ingredients, but garlic, olive oil, and herbs, the hallmarks of Provencal cooking, are always present. Many recipes for Tomatoes Provencal call for parmesan cheese but I always use goat cheese because it is more characteristic of Provence and I think it makes the dish taste more “French”.
Tomatoes Provencal is a side dish I turn to time and time again, but especially during the late summer and early fall because it’s a great way to use up all those summer tomatoes. I always have a bag of the stuffing mixture in my freezer so that I can prepare this dish in under 5 minutes. Easy vegetable recipes like this one are a life-saver this time of year as we are transitioning from summer to fall activities. Despite busy schedules we still want to enjoy the bounty of seasonal produce being harvested in the most delicious way possible. There is simply nothing like eating fresh vegetables at their peak. (Never mind that tomatoes are actually a fruit!)
You can prepare Tomatoes Provencal entirely in advance and bake it right before serving. The tomatoes taste great hot or at room temperature, making them perfect for buffet style dining. One of the things I love about Tomatoes Provencal is that it can be served in place of a starch and has so much more color than rice or potatoes.
Tomatoes Provencal makes a beautiful presentation and takes very little time to prepare. It goes well alongside almost any type of entrée and is great for entertaining or casual family dining. This is a great side dish to have in your recipe arsenal!
- 6 large, firm, plum or Roma tomatoes
- 1 cup gluten-free bread crumbs (preferably homemade)
- 5 ounces crumbled goat cheese (heaping ½ cup)
- 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves (1/2 ounce), roughly chopped or 1 teaspoon herbs de Provence (dried savory seasoning)
- ½ cup pine nuts, toasted
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Pinch of pepper
- Olive oil cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out the insides with a spoon or a melon baller if you have one. Lay them, cut side down, on a double layer of paper towels while you make the stuffing.
- Thoroughly combine the gluten-free bread crumbs, goat cheese, basil, pine nuts, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.
- Turn the tomato halves over and blot the insides with clean paper towels to remove excess moisture. Fill the tomato halves with about ¼ cup of the stuffing, pressing down slightly to compact it, and lay them in a shallow casserole dish.
- Spray the tops with 1 or 2 squirts of olive oil cooking spray and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 20-25 minutes until the tops are golden brown and crisp.
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