Rice Stuffed Tomatoes is a hearty side dish that goes well with Sunday roast or any holiday meal. In fact, this also makes a light lunch with crusty bread. Naturally dairy free, this recipe is easily made vegetarian.
A simple recipe that can be made in advance and baked at the last minute which makes it ideal for entertaining!
This updated and improved recipe was first published here on January 30, 2018.
Why you’ll love this recipe
This Rice Stuffed Tomatoes recipe is easy to prepare and adaptable to suit your tastes. And if the rest of the meal is not quite ready, these will sit around happily and wait. Actually, this is a dish best served tepid and not directly out of the oven and pair perfectly with Italian Chicken Cutlets.
While the tomato is the hero of this dish, the potatoes aren’t far behind. Firstly, the potatoes are included to support the tomatoes so they don’t topple over. But while baking, the potatoes absorb the tomato juices and become flavorful and tender.
From salads like Cucumber Tomato Onion salad to ragu sauce for pasta, tomatoes show up in so many Italian recipes and are loved by all. These rice stuffed tomatoes are so tasty they will become a family favorite that you’ll make again and again!
For complete ingredient quantities and full instructions, please scroll to the printable recipe card bottom of the page.
For this recipe, use the best possible produce. You will need a few potatoes, anchovies, good extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil and garlic. However there are a few ingredients that need extra special attention.
- tomatoes – for this recipe you need to choose the best tomatoes you can find; homegrown would be the best but failing that choose vine ripened tomatoes
- arborio rice – or any short grain, risotto rice
- capers – I use capers in vinegar but if you use salted capers be sure to rinse well
How to vary this recipe:
- use partly cooked brown rice for a nutty flavor like in my Brown Rice Salad
- omit the anchovies and add a ¼ cup of grated parmesan cheese for a vegetarian version
- swap out the basil for chopped fresh parsley
- adding ½ teaspoon of dried oregano
- if you like spicy food, adding some dried hot chilli flakes
Before you start: Preheat oven to 350ºF/180ºC.
- place peeled and chopped potatoes into baking pan with a little oil and salt and bake while you prepare the tomatoes
- hollow out tomatoes and chop the pulp
- cook the rice and when cool, mix with tomato pulp, anchovies, capers, basil, oil and a little salt
- fill hollowed out tomatoes with rice mixture and nestle into partially baked potatoes
FAQ’s and Tips for Success
This is a very typical Italian recipe where quantities are merely suggestions. That means if you have small tomatoes – you’ll need more of them. Or if you love basil – you might like to add more than specified in the recipe. Remember that the rice is only partially cooked so it will expand, allow for that.
These baked tomatoes are superb served with roasts like this Butterflied Roast Chicken.
Roast the potatoes for 30 minutes as specified in the recipe. Allow to cool before nestling the tomatoes into the potatoes as in step 10. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Proceed with the recipe when ready to bake.
Sure! Store leftovers in the refrigerator in a sealed container. Reheat in the microwave or in the oven at 350ºF/180ºC until just warmed through. Remember these tomatoes are delicious served tepid.
More recipes you’ll love
Eggs in Purgatory – Italian style eggs in tomato sauce
Stuffed Cherry Peppers – southern Italian classic
Crispy Roasted Potatoes – with tips for the crispiest
Instant Pot Cauliflower – a quick and tasty side
Fried Red Tomatoes from Bite Size Kitchen
Rice Stuffed Tomatoes Recipe
- 3 potatoes
- 8 tomatoes
- ½ cup arborio rice
- 2 anchovy fillets finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons capers
- 2 tablespoons basil leaves finely shredded
- 1 clove garlic finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
- 2½ teaspoons salt divided
- Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C
- Peel potatoes and cut into large cubes.
- Pour 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil into a small baking pan that will fit the 8 tomatoes plus a bit of room to spare.
- Toss cubed potato in the oil and season with 1 teaspoon salt.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, cut tops off tomatoes and reserve. Scoop out the tomato pulp and seeds. Discard excess seeds. Chop and reserve the pulp and any juices.
- Fill a medium saucepan with water and 1 teaspoon of salt and bring to boil. Add rice and cook for 7 minutes. Drain when ready. Allow to cool.
- In a medium bowl mix cooked cooled rice, reserved tomato flesh, anchovy fillets, capers, basil, garlic and 2 tablespoons oil. Season with ½ teaspoon salt.
- By this time the potatoes should have been in the oven for at least 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and give the potatoes a stir. Scrape up any that might be stuck.
- Fill tomatoes with rice mixture. Nestle the filled tomatoes into a baking tray of potatoes and replace reserved tops.
- Drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.
- Bake for 30 minutes until just beginning to split and wrinkle.
- Serve barely warm or these are also good at room temperature.
Vary this recipe by:
- make it vegetarian by omitting the anchovies and add a ¼ cup of grated parmesan cheese instead
- swap out the basil for chopped fresh parsley
- add ½ teaspoon of dried oregano
- if you like spicy food add some dried hot chilli flakes