Although it’s a nice reminder, it doesn’t have to be Meatless Monday for me to want a vegetarian dinner. Sometimes I am just sick of meat.
I grew up in the kind of house where dinner was the traditional: meat, starch, vegetable. We sometimes had vegetarian meals although my mother never called them that. When dinner included no meat or fish it was called a “dairy” meal. Once in a while my mother made a veggie burger, but that was rare indeed.
There was never anything like you see in the photo here: a tomato stuffed with bulgur wheat, toasted pignolis, raisins and fresh spinach.
Styles have changed. I still prepare the kind of dinners my mother made, although usually it’s meat and two vegetables and only sometimes a starch. This is the way I am used to eating.
But, as I said, sometimes I need a change, meaning a good vegetarian dinner, like this stuffed tomato. By itself it isn’t enough for dinner, so add a soup or other vegetarian item to make a meal of it. It also goes nicely with grilled fish.
Tomatoes Stuffed with Bulgur Wheat, Raisins and Pine Nuts
6 large tomatoes
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 large onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1 bunch spinach, washed thoroughly, dried and chopped
1/2 cup bulgur wheat
1 cup water or vegetable stock
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Slice off top part of the tomatoes and scoop the insides (save the pulp for other recipes). Sprinkle the insides of the tomatoes with salt and pepper. Place the tomatoes upside down on a rack. Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and cook for 2-3 minutes or until lightly toasted. Remove the nuts and set aside. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes or until just beginning to soften. Add the garlic and spinach and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the spinach has wilted. Add the bulgur wheat and mix ingredients. Add the water, bring the liquid to a boil, then remove the pan from the heat. Cover the pan and let rest for 25-30 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Add the raisins, parsley, dill, mint and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss ingredients and spoon into the hollowed tomatoes. Makes 6 servings.