Vegan and Gluten Free Ferragosto Feasting

If you were left with a massive hunger pang following the talk about Ferragosto feasting this week, we got your back. After speaking with our favorite Italians, we’re coming in hot (or shall we say cold?) with this savory and refreshing dish,  – Pomodori ripieni di riso (rice stuffed tomatoes). These are one of the quintessential dishes of summer for any Italian household – and let’s be real, nothing screams peak summer and beach vibes than some perfectly in season veggies.

Let’s set the mood: It’s hot, you’re off of work, it’s a national holiday, maybe you’ve had your first glass of wine already, and something tells you; hmm I’m hungry. You don’t want anything too heavy but you’re not into just a salad either. Cue the Pomodori ripieni. You can serve these stuffed tomatoes hot but our fav is serving them room temperature to get an extra punch of freshness. 

We’re stuffing them with rice, Arborio rice to be exact – but you can also stuff them with veggies, meat or even fish. Our choice allows for the tomato to be a veggie main course or a primi (appetizer), or even a contorni (side dish).

Keep in mind that this is a vegan, gluten free and sugar free recipe for stuffed tomatoes! However, pomodori ripieni are versatile, feel free to adapt as you see fit.

What you’ll need for the stuffed tomato extravaganza

  • 3 large tomatoes 
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup of Arborio rice
  • ¼ cup of parsley, packed
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (or a hard cheese like grana padano or parmigiano reggiano)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Step by step:

First – Wash your tomatoes and parsley to have it all ready to go

Pomodori Ripieni | Rice stuffed tomatoes

Second – Mince your garlic and parsley and set it aside

Third – Slice the tops off of the tomatoes, making sure not to bruise them

Stuffed tomato prep

Fourth – Scoop out the juice and insides of tomatoes and place into your blender or mortar and pestle

Coring Tomatoes

Fifth – Crush or blend the tomato juice – adding in a pinch of salt helps if you’re crushing with a mortar and pestle!

Crush the tomato juice

Sixth – By now, prep is done and we’re now ready to cook the rice. Prep a pan on medium heat with 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Once it’s shimmering, add in the garlic and stir. Make sure it doesn’t burn here.

Seventh – Once the garlic is fragrant, add in the Arborio rice and mix everything together evenly.

Eight – Add in the tomato juice, salt and pepper to taste, plus a little bit of water to make sure the rice is fully covered. The amount of water will depend on how much juice your tomatoes produced. Two thirds of a cup of water is out eyeball estimate. Remember that you’re aiming for al dente, not overcooked!

Rice, garlic and tomato juice

Ninth– Give it all a good mix, slightly reduce the heat and cover the rice for 10 minutes. Take this moment to preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Tenth – At the ten minute mark, check on the rice and add in more water if needed. Put lid back on the pan on and let the rice finish cooking at low flame for maximum 5 more minutes. Key word here is low flame.

Eleventh – Turn off the heat and add in the parsley, nutritional yeast, a dash of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Once mixed well, set aside uncovered.

Mix the stuffing

Twelfth – Brush the remaining extra virgin olive oil on the insides of the tomatoes

Thirteenth – Fill the tomatoes with the rice mixture – make sure not to overfill so you can place the tops of the tomatoes back on comfortably.

Fourteenth – Cover the tomatoes with their respective tops, set them on an oven sheet and pop them in the oven.

Pop stuffed tomatoes in oven

Fifteenth – Bake for about 10-20 minutes or until the tomatoes start to brown.

Sixteenth – Remove from the oven and let cool to serve, or eat hot!

Plate the pomodori ripieni di riso

Tips for your pomodori ripieni

Don’t worry if you can’t find arborio rice, it’s not an actual risotto – that’s just our fav! This will also work well with brown, regular white or even black rice. Just make sure to cook the rice enough so it allows for a creamy texture (brown rice generally needs to get overcooked for this to happen) – White rice and black rice tend to overcook quickly!

  1. Don’t worry if the stuffed tomato skin splits, it will still taste good and keep its shape
  2. Keep a close eye on the tomatoes as they begin to cook so they don’t topple over. Turn them right side up if this happens
  3. Don’t overcook the rice, it will be a pile of mush if you do. When in doubt, aldente!
  4. If you’re not a fan of cooked tomatoes, feel free to make the risotto and serve it in the raw tomato without baking in the oven  – it will be like a salad and rice put together!
  5. If you’re feeling fancy, drizzle a bit of balsamic glaze over the top

To accompany the Pomodori ripieni (aka stuffed tomatoes), we would recommend a protein packed salad. Perhaps a fresh beet, goat cheese and bean salad? We’ll add on more recipes to keep the Italian flavor coming to your kitchen. Whether it be to reminisce or because you’re looking forward to travel in Italy, we got you covered!