Stuffed Tomatoes with Pink Rice

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There are so many beautiful things that happen around this time of year, from the streets hidden in a rainbow of autumn leaves, to the anticipation of holiday festivities and family gatherings.  My favorite part of this season is indulging in delicious warming meals that nourish your body and mind!  This past week all I craved was a meal that was simple, delicious and one that I could bake off as I finish reading my book.  These baked tomatoes with pink rice really hit the spot!  They are a great dish to serve at home or at a holiday party, as they are easy to prepare in advance and then bake off in any oven!  The baked tomatoes are so delicious as they are stuffed with hearty pink rice, tangled between a slew of sautéed vegetables and topped off with crunchy bites of macadamia nuts!  Once they are done cooking, the skin of the tomatoes blisters and the top of the rice bakes over, creating a crispy layer enclosing the tender vegetables and rice that lay inside.  This combination of flavors and textures is just so delicious and warming!  It really is the perfect dinner if you are in the mood to switch up the autumn routine of soups and stews, as it’s just as warming and nourishing for dinner!  One of the best things about this meal is the extra rice and vegetables it makes.  I love to enjoy it for lunch with beans and avocado to really turn it into a complete meal.  

I love using tomatoes in recipes as they are juicy, delicious and a powerhouse of nutrition!  Their deep ruby red skin is a signal of their outstanding antioxidant content, coming from the rich concentration of lycopene.  Antioxidants are important for your body as they combat free radicals that damage our cells, leading to various diseases and cancers.  Tomatoes are an excellent skin food as the lycopene helps to makes skin less sensitive to UV light damage, which can cause wrinkles.  Tomatoes are nearly 95% water content, which is great for the skin as it is very hydrating and this also helps to keep you fuller for longer! 

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Serves: 8

Prep Time: 25 minutes | Bake Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients for the Stuffed Tomatoes with Pink Rice:

- 1 cup pink rice or any rice

- 1 teaspoon coconut oil

- ½ teaspoon salt for rice

- 1 zucchini

- 8 red tomatoes

- 2/3 juice puree from inside of the tomatoes

- 2 tablespoons olive oil

- 2/3 red bell pepper

- 1/3 small red onion

- 1 ½ cup peas

- 2 handfuls of macadamia nuts

- salt to taste 

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Start by preheating your oven to 350F.  Now prepare the rice by boiling 1 1/3 cup of water and 1 cup of rinsed rice (check instructions if not using pink rice), a teaspoon of salt, and coconut oil to the water. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let the rice cook for 20 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. 

As the rice cooks, thinly chop the red bell pepper, zucchini, macadamia nuts and red onion into bite size pieces.  Set aside as you scoop the juice and pulp out of the tomatoes.  Start by evenly cutting the tops off the tomatoes.  Then take a spoon and carefully scoop out all of the pulp and juice from within the tomatoes, careful not to poke holes into the bottom or sides.  Mash the pulp into a puree and set aside for later use.

Now warm the olive oil and onions in a saucepan for 5 minutes until the onions are tender and clear.  Add 2/3 of the tomato puree, the chopped vegetables and salt to the saucepan and sauté on medium heat for about 10 minutes. 

Once the rice has finished cooking, pour into a large bowl and add the sautéed vegetables and macadamia nuts.  Stir well and then spoon the rice mixture into each tomato.  Line a baking pan with parchment paper and bake the tomatoes for 30 minutes. The skin of the tomatoes should be tender and blistered when finished.  Enjoy!