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Vegan stuffed tomatoes are filled to the brim with a flavorful mixture of creamy pesto quinoa and fresh spinach. This gluten-free and oil-free meal is a family favorite that you can make for an easy weeknight meal or special occasion!
If you’re only eating tomatoes diced up in a salad, you’re missing out! Tomatoes are such a versatile ingredient and they can be enjoyed in so many tasty ways! Are you ready to switch it up and try something new? Vegan stuffed tomatoes are so easy to make, they taste delicious, and it’s a beautiful presentation! This is a simple and super satisfying recipe that you can make for dinner any night of the week or for a special occasion!
Vegan stuffed tomatoes are very similar to vegan stuffed peppers, except roasted tomatoes have a sweeter flavor and a more delicate consistency than bell peppers do. The tomatoes are stuffed with flavorful pesto quinoa and fresh spinach before being roasted just until the tomato skin starts to blister. Every bite is incredibly delicious!
Related Recipe: Zesty Tofu Taco Stuffed Tomatoes
How to Make Vegan Stuffed Pesto Tomatoes
First, start cooking the quinoa in a medium pot and saute the onions in a separate large pan until they’re soft and translucent.
Next, you’re going to make the pesto cream sauce for the vegan stuffed tomatoes. Add the fresh basil, cashews, garlic, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, almond milk, salt, and pepper to a small blender cup and blend all the ingredients until it’s smooth and creamy. Set the sauce aside until later.
Once the onions are soft, add the minced garlic and Italian seasonings to the pan and let it cook for a few minutes. Then you can add the fresh spinach, cooked quinoa, and the pesto sauce to the pan with the onions. Stir to combine the filling and let it cook for 2-3 minutes or until the spinach starts to wilt.
While the quinoa pesto filling is cooking, scoop out the seeds and membranes from each of the tomatoes into a small bowl. (Check below for ways to use the leftover tomato seeds and membranes.)
When the filling is done cooking, spoon the quinoa pesto filling into the tomatoes. Put the tomato tops back on top and then bake it at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until the skin starts to blister. Garnish each roasted tomato with fresh basil and enjoy!
Can You Use Store-Bought Pesto?
You can make your own fresh pesto or use store-bought pesto (I like Sprouts organic vegan pesto) to save time, either will work just fine and be absolutely delicious! I like to make homemade pesto because I love fresh basil and it’s so easy to make. I also use this creamy cashew pesto sauce as the filling for these pesto tomatoes stuffed portobello mushrooms.
What Can You Do With The Leftover Tomato Seeds & Membranes?
Don’t throw out the leftover tomato innards after you scoop out the tomatoes! You can use the seeds and membranes to make any of these tasty recipes:
- Tomato Bruschetta
- Vegan Lentil Meatballs with Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
- Unstuffed Pepper Soup
- Vegan Jackfruit & Salsa Stuffed Peppers
- Cilantro Lime Salsa
What Goes With it?
I usually serve a big salad along with a tray of roasted veggies with these stuffed pesto tomatoes. All of these vegan side dish recipes would be tasty options:
How Long Does it Last in the Refrigerator?
You can store the vegan stuffed tomatoes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. Read this post for more information about how to properly store cooked tomatoes.
Can You Freeze it?
You can freeze the stuffed pesto tomatoes before or after being baked. That being said, I prefer to freeze the tomatoes after they’ve been baked and cooled completely. The texture of tomatoes changes a little bit after it has been frozen and defrosted (unless it’s in soup), so I think that baking the tomatoes first helps to draw out some of the moisture.
To reheat the vegan stuffed tomatoes after they’ve been baked and frozen, take the container out of the freezer and put it in the refrigerator to defrost for 24 hours. Then cover and bake the tomatoes in the oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until hot all the way through.
Ways to Adapt This Recipe
These vegan stuffed pesto tomatoes are absolutely delicious but you could also try the following variations:
- Use Roasted Cherry Tomatoes: Instead of stuffing large tomatoes with the quinoa filling, mix one pint of roasted cherry tomatoes with the pesto quinoa filling for a hearty quinoa salad.
- Add Vegan Parmesan Cheese: Sprinkle shredded vegan cheese (I love Violife vegan parmesan rind) on top of each tomato before you put the top on and bake it.
- Stuff Other Vegetables: Instead of stuffing tomatoes, you could stuff bell peppers, zucchini boats, or portobello mushrooms with the pesto quinoa filling.
- Make Stuffed Pasta: Dice the tomatoes and add it to the quinoa filling and then stuff large shells, manicotti, or cannelloni with the flavorful pesto tomato filling. Cover the pasta with 2-3 cups of tomato sauce and bake it at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
- Pesto Tomato Salad: Chop the tomatoes into large chunks and mix it with the pesto quinoa and a 5 ounce bag of fresh spinach for a delicious and healthy meal.
Notes & Substitutions
- Quinoa Substitutions: You can use brown rice, couscous, freekeh, barley, or cauliflower rice (low-carb option) instead of quinoa.
- Spinach Substitutions: You can use thinly sliced kale, swiss chard, or collard greens instead of fresh spinach. You can also use 5 oz of frozen spinach if that’s what you have on hand.
- Cashew Substitutions: Instead of cashews, you can substitute 1/2 a package of silken tofu or 1 cup of cooked cauliflower. The cauliflower option won’t be as thick and creamy but it will work.
- Plant Milk Options: I like to use unsweetened almond milk or unsweetened coconut milk (from a refrigerated carton) for this cashew pesto recipe, but you can use other plant milks too as long as they’re unsweetened. The only plant milk I wouldn’t use is soy milk because it still tastes sweet to me even if it has no added sugar.
- Do You Have to Soak the Cashews? If you have time, you can soak the cashews for 1 hour in cold water or you can boil them for 10 minutes before using them to make the creamy cashew pesto. You can use the cashews without soaking them first, but soaking first makes the cashews easier to digest and blend into the sauce.
- Nut-Free: You can make this vegan stuffed tomatoes recipe nut-free if you omit the cashews. The pesto sauce won’t be as creamy, it will taste more like a traditional pesto, but it will still taste great!
- Pick out large ripe beefsteak tomatoes, vine-ripened tomatoes, or heirloom tomatoes to use for this recipe because you need a big tomato with a large cavity to fill with the pesto quinoa.
- If you’re short on time, you can use store-bought vegan pesto sauce instead of making your own. It will turn out just as delicious. I often use Sprouts organic vegan pesto or this organic vegan pesto (from Amazon) instead of making my own pesto recipe to save time.
- If you do make homemade vegan pesto, it’s important that you use fresh basil. Dried basil won’t be as vibrant or flavorful as fresh.
- Store the leftover vegan stuffed tomatoes in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days or freeze them for a future meal.
More Recipes with Pesto and Tomatoes You’ll Love!
Vegan Pesto Quinoa Stuffed Tomatoes
- Medium Casserole Dish
- Large Saute Pan
- Small Blender Cup
- 6 large beefsteak tomatoes (seeds and membranes removed)
Cashew Pesto Sauce -
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- First, start cooking the quinoa in a medium pot. Once you have the quinoa cooking, saute the diced onions in 3-4 tbsp of vegetable broth in a separate large pan over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent, about 8-10 minutes.
- Pesto Sauce - Next, you’re going to make the pesto cream sauce. Add the fresh basil, cashews, garlic, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, almond milk, salt, and pepper to a small blender cup and blend all the ingredients until it’s smooth and creamy. Set the sauce aside until later.
- Quinoa FIlling - Once the onions are soft, add the 4 cloves of minced garlic and 2 tsp Italian seasonings to the pan, stir it around, and let it cook for a few minutes.
- Add the fresh spinach, cooked quinoa, and the cashew pesto sauce to the pan with the onions and garlic. Stir to combine the filling so the pesto sauce coats the quinoa and let it cook for 2-3 minutes or until the spinach starts to wilt.
- Tomatoes - Cut the top of the tomatoes. Use a grapefruit spoon (with a serrated edge) to gently slip into the tomatoes and scoop out all the seeds and membranes. Be careful not to break through the tomato skin and make a hole. Spoon 1/2 cup of the pesto quinoa filling into each tomato and put the tops back on.
- Drizzle a little bit of vegetable broth or water into the bottom of a medium casserole dish to stop the tomatoes from sticking to the bottom. Place the stuffed tomatoes in the baking dish and then bake it for 30 minutes or until the skin starts to blister.
- Carefully remove the tomatoes from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before you garnish with fresh basil. Serve and enjoy!
- Pick out large ripe beefsteak tomatoes, vine-ripened tomatoes, or heirloom tomatoes to use for this recipe because you need a big tomato so you'll have a large cavity to fill with the pesto quinoa.
- If you're short on time you can use store-bought vegan pesto sauce instead of making your own. It will turn out just as delicious. I often use Sprouts organic vegan pesto or this organic vegan pesto from Amazon instead of making my own.
- If you do make homemade vegan pesto, it's important that you use fresh basil. Dried basil won't be as vibrant or flavorful as fresh.
- If you have time, you can soak the cashews for 1 hour in cold water or you can boil them for 10 minutes before using them to make the creamy cashew pesto. You can use the cashews without soaking them first, but soaking first makes the cashews easier to digest and blend into the sauce.
- Store the leftover tomatoes in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days or freeze them for a future meal.
*This recipe was originally posted on August 12, 2016, but I updated the recipe with better recipe instructions on June 13, 2020.