Freshly-roasted stuffed tomatoes with potatoes.
Home » Italian Recipes » Stuffed Tomatoes With Rice – My Tuscan Family’s Favorite Vegetarian Meal

Stuffed Tomatoes With Rice – My Tuscan Family’s Favorite Vegetarian Meal

Last updated on March 17th, 2024

Is the summer heat too much to bear and just the idea of eating piping hot food is unthinkable? I live in Tuscany and most summer days are too hot to even step foot in the kitchen. I developed this recipe as a way to use the oven only when it’s convenient, in the cooler parts of the day, with my tomatoes from my own garden here in Tuscany.

These easy baked stuffed tomatoes with rice and potatoes are the absolute best way to enjoy the best of summer flavors without slaving away over a hot stove!

Flavored with basil, parmesan cheese and plenty of good olive oil, this dish is best made ahead of time, before the heat of the day, and served at room temperature. 

My recipe is made with roasted potatoes, making it an all in one dish, simple enough for even the busiest weeknight meals. 

The next time you are looking for an easy summer meal, try these Mediterranean stuffed tomatoes with rice and potatoes for an all in one meal that you can make anytime and enjoy later, perfect for entertaining and the hottest summer days! 

Stuffed Tomatoes With Rice Pronunciation

Stuffed tomatoes with rice are called pomodori ripieni di riso al forno in Italian, pronounced poh-moh-doh-ree ree-pee-ehn-ee dee ree-soh ahl fohr-noh.

Yes, I know, It’s a mouthful! 

Listen to the pronunciation of pomodori ripieni di riso al forno here:

What Are Baked Stuffed Tomatoes With Rice?

Stuffed tomatoes with roasted potatoes.

Baked stuffed tomatoes with rice are hollowed out ripe tomatoes filled with uncooked, seasoned rice and baked in a casserole dish with diced potatoes. 

Mediterranean stuffed tomatoes with rice is a vegetarian meal in Italy and a summer favorite. We call this an ‘all in one” meal in my family, meaning, it really has everything you need and as a mom of four, I really appreciate meals like this. 

Baked stuffed tomatoes with rice can either be served hot or at room temperature. 

Good To Know: I oftentimes will make these vegan by omitting the cheese

More Veg Please: Check out my list of Vegetarian Dishes to Try in Italy.

Ingredients For Stuffed Tomatoes With Rice

Tomatoes

Hand holds up fresh Italian tomato.

Use 8 ripe yet firm medium‑size tomatoes. My favorite are beefsteak tomatoes because they are hearty, have good flavor, and hold up well to baking. Avoid tomatoes that won’t stand up on their own such as San Marzano tomatoes. 

Garlic

Red garlic cloves next whole heads

Use two cloves any kind of garlic you like, purple or white. I prefer to grate the garlic but you can also finely chop it. Read more about garlic and how to chop it here

Basil

close up of green basil with large leaves

Fresh basil is important for bringing fresh flavor to this baked dish. Use 10 fresh basil leaves and either gently tear or chiffonade them.

Arborio Rice

The traditional Italian recipe for stuffed tomatoes with rice calls for ⅔ cups Arborio rice but you can use any rice you have on hand. 

Olive Oil

Bottles of Bertolli olive oil on grocery store shelf.

Extra virgin olive oil is best but you can certainly just use olive oil if that is what you have. 

Use ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 3 tbsp for tossing the potatoes.

Parmesan Cheese (Optional)

Stack of large parmigiano reggiano cheese wheels.

We like to use parmigiano reggiano but you can use either grana padano or pecorino romano if you please. You can also omit the cheese for a vegan stuffed tomato and rice dish. 

Add ⅔ cup (65 grams) grated parmesan cheese to the tomatoes when making up the mixture. 

Potatoes

Potatoes sitting on white marble surface.

I add a ton of potatoes, about two lbs, which really bulks up the dish. Use your favorite variety.  

Other Ingredients

  • A pinch of dried oregano, optional
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Step-By-Step Instructions For Baked Tomatoes 

Tomatoes on a white marble surface. They have their tops cut off, sitting next to them.

Cut the tops of the tomatoes and set them aside. 

Hollowed out tomatoes sitting next to a white bowl that contains the insides of the tomatoes.

Hollow out the tomatoes using a serrated knife or grapefruit spoon. Scoop out the seeds, pulp, and juice into a bowl. Allow the tomatoes to sit face-down on a paper towel to drain while you make the filling. 

Blend the tomato juices, pulp and seeds with an immersion blender or food processor.

Piles of cheese, sliced basil, and rice sitting on a tomato mixture in a white bowl.

Tear or chiffonade the basil. Add the basil to the tomatoes along with the rice, salt, freshly ground black pepper, grated parmesan, if using, and grated garlic. Mix well and let sit for 30 minutes.

White bowl with rice and tomato mixture.

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C). Begin to cut the potatoes into ½ inch cubes, either with or without the skin. 

Generously oil a large casserole dish and coat the potatoes well. Season with plenty of salt, pepper and a pinch of dried oregano, if you like. 

Tomatoes stuffed with a rice mixture, sitting in a white baking dish.

Gently fill each hollowed out tomato with the rice filling and nestle it into the potatoes. Continue until all the tomatoes have been tucked into the casserole dish with the potatoes around them, being careful that the tomatoes don’t touch and the potatoes surround every tomato. Replace each tomato top. 

White baking dish with olive oil and stuffed tomatoes (not cooked).

Bake for 45 to 55 minutes until rice is cooked through and potatoes are fork tender.

Stuffed tomatoes and cubed potatoes ready to be cooked.

Let sit for at least 15 min before serving or serve at room temperature. 

Baked Tomatoes With Rice Substitutions

  • Use any kind of rice you have on hand. If you use brown rice they may need to cook a bit longer. 
  • Use pecorino romano cheese instead of parmesan.
  • Leave out the cheese all together to make these baked tomatoes with rice a vegan Italian dish.
  • Make stuffed tomatoes and leave out the potatoes completely. Keep the tomatoes from touching and test a grain of rice after 40 minutes. Because there are no potatoes, they may cook faster. 

How To Serve Stuffed Tomatoes With Rice

freshly grilled sausage on an outdoor bbq with coals outdoors from top view

I consider this a complete meal in itself and with a side salad, I have a whole meal. I usually won’t serve anything else with it but for some, it’s not quite enough. 

In this case, I think a cheese or charcuterie board or grilled vegetables pairs well. With this addition, the baked stuffed tomatoes with rice is still vegetarian yet much more hearty.

White plate with green beans, roasted potatoes, and stuffed tomatoes.

If it’s summertime,  I sometimes grill up chicken or sausages to serve with these stuffed tomatoes with rice, especially for my husband, who at the end of the day, is Tuscan after all and loves his meat. 

Stuffed Tomatoes With Rice Notes and Tips

Four fresh Italian tomatoes sitting in a row on a white marble surface.
  • This recipe is best with summer tomatoes. I suggest making this dish at the height of tomato season for the best possible flavor. 
  • Don’t skip draining the tomatoes or they will turn out soggy and watery.
  • Use your favorite potato for this recipe. You can either peel them or keep the skins on without changing the cooking time. 
  • This recipe is easy to add a couple tomatoes to. Just use a bigger pan and slightly increase each ingredient. For example, for two extra tomatoes, add two extra basil leaves, a tablespoon of rice and a sprinkling of more cheese. Salt and pepper to taste and you’re done! 
Freshly-roasted stuffed tomatoes with potatoes.

Stuffed Tomatoes with Rice

An easy all in one meal that you can make anytime and enjoy later, perfect for entertaining and the hottest summer days!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Resting Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 8 medium-size tomatoes ripe yet firm
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped or grated
  • 10 leaves fresh basil
  • cup Arborio rice
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil plus 3 Tbsp for tossing the potatoes
  • cup grated parmesan cheese, optional (65 g)
  • 2 lbs potatoes your favorite
  • 1 pinch dried oregano optional

Instructions
 

  • Cut the tops of the tomatoes and set them aside.
  • Hollow out tomatoes using a serrated knife or grapefruit spoon. Scoop out the seeds, pulp and juice into a bowl. Allow the tomatoes to sit face-down on a paper towel to drain while you make the filling.
  • Blend the tomato juices, pulp, and seeds with an immersion blender or food processor.
  • Tear or chiffonade the basil. Add the basil to the tomatoes along with the rice, salt, freshly ground black pepper, grated parmesan, if using, and grated garlic. Mix well.
  • Let sit for 30 minutes.
  • In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C). Begin to cut the potatoes into ½ inch cubes, either with or without the skin.
  • Generously oil a large casserole dish and coat the potatoes well. Season with plenty of salt, pepper and a pinch of dried oregano, if you like.
  • Gently fill each hollowed out tomato with the rice filling and nestle it into the potatoes. Continue until all the tomatoes have been tucked into the casserole dish with the potatoes around them, being careful that the tomatoes don’t touch and the potatoes surround every tomato. Replace each tomato top.
  • Bake for 45 to 55 minutes until rice is cooked through and potatoes are fork tender.
  • Let sit for at least 15 min before serving or serve at room temperature.

Notes

  • This recipe is best with summer tomatoes. I suggest making this dish at the height of tomato season for the best possible flavor. 
  • Don’t skip draining the tomatoes or they will turn out soggy and watery.
  • Use your favorite potato for this recipe. You can either peel them or keep the skins on without changing the cooking time. 
  • This recipe is easy to add a couple tomatoes to. Just use a bigger pan and slightly increase each ingredient. For example, for two extra tomatoes, add two extra basil leaves, a tablespoon of rice and a sprinkling of more cheese. Salt and pepper to taste and you’re done!
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Baked Stuffed Tomatoes With Rice Recipe FAQ

What type of tomato is best for stuffing?

You can really use any medium to large size tomato for stuffing (so no cherry or other small variety), as long as its shape permits it to sit up straight. I love to use beefsteak tomatoes because they hold up well to cooking, have great flavor, and because of their bright red color. Use whatever you can find locally for the best flavor. Avoid San Marzano tomatoes because of their oblong shape. 

How do you hollow out a tomato?

The best way to hollow out a tomato is to use a small, sharp paring knife and remove the top of the tomato by placing the tomato on its side and slicing the top part off. At this point, I like to use a grapefruit spoon with a serrated edge to carve out the center and collect the juices, seeds and pulp in a bowl. Rest the tomato upside down on a paper towel and let it drain while you prepare your filling to help keep the tomato firm as it bakes. 

Can I stuff San Marzano tomatoes?

You cannot hollow san marzano tomatoes out and expect them to sit up as other round varieties of tomatoes. Because of their oblong shape, the San Marzano tomatoes would fall over and are not the best choice for Mediterranean stuffed tomatoes with rice.

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