Quinoa has been the grain* du jour for quite some time now, and what with it's health benefits, great taste, and versatility, I don't see that changing anytime soon. My usual way of eating quinoa is like pasta salad - cooked, mixed with a dressing of some sort, and loaded with veggies. This dish however, is something a little different. Quinoa is mixed with roasted poblano peppers, corn, onions, and a host of herbs and spices, stuffed into hollowed out tomatoes, topped with Colby Jack cheese, and baked. The tomato turns soft and sweet, the quinoa mixture has tons of great flavor and textures, and who doesn't like their dinner, smothered in melted cheese?
While this somewhat involved, especially for a summer meal, you could do portions of it ahead of time - or fully assemble it and then just bake the tomatoes off when you're ready to eat. The recipe moves pretty quickly though, and its streamlined to make the most of your time. I suppose you could serve these on the side with grilled chicken, pork, or steak, but I loved them as our entree. I served a salad with avocado, black beans, and mango on the side.
While this is cooked in the oven, I would be willing to bet that it could be done on the grill as well. Rather than broiling the poblanos, corn, and onions, you could definitely grill them. And then instead of baking the assembled tomatoes, throw them on the grill for a few minutes to heat them through and melt the cheese. If anyone tries this method, definitely let me know!
*I know that quinoa is not actually a grain, but I kind of consider it to be one for all intents and purposes, since that it typically how it is served.
Baked Tomatoes with Quinoa, Corn, and Green Chiles
adapted from Cooking Light, June 2012
makes 6 tomatoes
- 2 poblano chiles
- 4 ears corn
- 1 cup chopped red onion
- 6 large ripe tomatoes
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 tsp kosher salt, divided
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1/2 tsp chile powder
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 6 oz Colby Jack cheese, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)
Preheat the broiler to high.
Cut the poblano chiles in half lengthwise and discard the seeds and membranes. Place the chiles, skin-side-up, on a foil-lined baking sheet, and flatten with your hand. Broil about 8 minutes, or until the skin is blistered and blackened. Remove the chile to a medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to steam for about 10 minutes. Peel and rinse the chiles, then coarsely chop.
Meanwhile, add the corn and onion to the pan. Broil, tossing once or twice, about 10 minutes, or until charred and blackened in spots. Add the corn and onion to the bowl with the chiles.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the tops off the tomatoes. Carefully scoop out the tomato pulp, leaving the shells intact. Drain the pulp through a sieve set over a bowl, pressing with the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Reserve 1 1/4 cups of the tomato juices, and discard the pulp and seeds. Sprinkle the inside of the tomatoes with 1/2 teaspoon of salt (total, not each). Invert the tomatoes onto a lint-free kitchen towel and stand 30 minutes. Blot the insides of the tomatoes dry with a paper towel or kitchen towel.
As the tomatoes drain, cook the quinoa. Place the quinoa in a strainer and rinse well under cold water, stirring as you rinse. Drain well. Combine the quinoa, reserved tomato liquid, 1/4 cup water, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook 15 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff the quinoa with a fork.
Add the quinoa to the bowl with the corn, chiles, and onion, and stir in the cilantro, scallions, olive oil, lime juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, cumin, cayenne, chile powder, pepper, and 1/2 cup cheese.
Spoon about 3/4 cup of the quinoa filling into each of the tomatoes. Divide the remaining cheese evenly over the tops and bake about 15 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Remove from the oven and serve.