Spinach and Orzo Stuffed Tomatoes are a delicious, light and healthy alternative to the same old tired side dishes. They shall remain nameless, but you know the ones I’m talking about. These yummy stuffed tomatoes would also be wonderful for lunch or even as a vegetarian meal option.
Just imagine, a fresh juicy tomato overflowing with tasty orzo pasta, nutritious spinach, toasted slivered almonds, and bright and flavorful pesto. And if you have been following my blog for any length of time you know I couldn’t make a dish like this without a little parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of lemon juice to brighten up the taste even more.
I know it sounds complicated, but it’s not and this easy, restaurant quality, side dish comes together in under fifteen minutes. Then you just pop it in the oven for about 30 minutes and let it do the rest of the work. Easy peasy!
Now you might be wondering what goes with Spinach and Orzo Stuffed Tomatoes? I served them with sauteed fresh shrimp, and this simple meal was perfect. But they would also be good served with any protein.
The inspiration for this dish was a recipe I saw in a Southern Living magazine for Stuffed Tomatoes with Pesto Rice. The minute I saw it, I knew some variation of that recipe would be gracing our table soon. I decided to substitute orzo pasta for the rice because my husband loves orzo and I added spinach at the last-minute because I just happened to have some in the fridge and I wanted to ramp up the nutritional value. The almonds were an afterthought, but they add a nice crunch, and the parmesan, well you know me and my love of all things cheese.
If you are looking for new and different side dish recipes, you might also want to check out these delicious dishes: Easy Rustic Smashed Potatoes for Two, Southern White Acre Pea Succotash, and Mary’s Healthy Southern Collard Greens.
You will need the following ingredients for Spinach and Orzo Stuffed Tomatoes: tomatoes, salt, butter, onion, slivered almonds, fresh baby spinach, orzo pasta, refrigerated pesto, fresh lemon juice and parmesan cheese.
And if your next thought is “how do I make stuffed tomatoes,” well you are in luck, because I have listed the easy to follow step by step directions below.
To prepare Spinach and Orzo Stuffed Tomatoes, gather your ingredients and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Chop the spinach into small pieces.
Prepare the orzo pasta according to the package directions and cook it to the al dente stage. Set aside.
Wash and slice off about 1/2 inch off the top of each tomato and slice off about 1/8 inch off of the bottom, so it will sit flat. Use a grapefruit spoon or a sharp knife to scoop out the tomato pulp. Be sure to leave at least 1/2 inch of shell intact. Discard the pulp and sprinkle the inside of each tomato with a pinch of salt. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes or until they are softened.
Add the almonds and cook for 2-3 minutes or until they are toasted. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the spinach, cover and cook for 2-3 minutes or until it is wilted.
Remove from the heat and add the orzo, pesto, 1/2 tsp of salt, 1 Tbsp of lemon juice and the parmesan cheese. Mix well to combine.
Place the tomatoes in a baking dish which has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Fill each tomato with the orzo mixture (an ice cream scoop works well for this) and sprinkle with a little more parmesan cheese if desired.
Bake for 30 minutes and serve immediately.