Monday, July 20, 2009

Being creative with tomatoes

Since I am on a tomato kick I must share another fresh tomato recipe. A while back Carla, a friend and co-worker, showed me a cookbook she picked up on an Alaskan cruise with a picture of a wonderful salad built in a hollowed-out tomato. It looked so elegant and fun that I had to try creating my own.

I found some long skinny mushrooms at the local farmers market that added contrast and added sliced orange bell peppers. What I found was using leafy vegetables with different colors.....dark green, light green, purple...made the tomato boats more appetizing. The more color, the better. I used several tongs of spring mixed greens along with one head of leafy lettuce. You won't need a large quantity of lettuce, just a variety of greens with different textures.


6 medium ripe tomatoes, home-grown if possible
Variety of colorful lettuce with different textures and stalk heights
1 orange bell pepper, cleaned and sliced in long strips
1 handful fresh green beans, cleaned and briefly parboiled
12 asparagus spears, briefly parboiled
small bunch of enoki mushrooms, if available.
1 bottle Ken's Lite Accent spray on balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing
Fresh cracked pepper
Shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired

Hollow out one tomato with a 2 1/2 to 3 inch opening cutting straight down sides, leaving the walls thick for support but not cutting through the bottom. If the opening is too big the ingredients will not stand upright, so experiment with one before you cut all 6 tomatoes. Spritz inside of all tomatoes well with dressing and lightly salt inside before you stuff them. Stuff the taller leafy greens in the back and work forward with other ingredients, balancing colors and weight as needed. Tomato boats can be assembled earlier in the day and refrigerated in large deep covered dish. Spritz well with dressing immediately before serving. Top with cracked pepper and shredded parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve with knife and fork.

When using freshly picked vegetables with lots of flavor I prefer to not use too much dressing as it drowns out the fresh clean flavors of ripe produce, but most people prefer more dressing than I do, so be generous with the spritzing and have more available on the table.

Serves 6


  1. This looks like a very tasty and healthful summer treat. How do you come up with such great food ideas?

  2. I have a wonderful group of friends that are very willing to share their experiences and ideas. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Hey Calicook, you should post that fabulous napa cabbage slaw receipe you gave me a few years back. It has tomatoes in it... and cilantro, avacado... to die for!

  4. Ooh! Good idea. Look for it next week! Thanks for the suggestion.

  5. That sounds great. I'm looking forward to the Napa cabbage slaw recipe.