The inspiration for this dish is a curious hybrid of a hankering for an old rice recipe and the sudden urge for stuffed tomatoes. Wayyyyyy back in the 80s, when I was a spry young lad, I used to work at a restaurant called Cheffies in Hackensack, NJ. One of the cooks was a sweet guy from the Dominican Republic named Fausto, who used to make this amazing olive rice dish that knocked my socks off. Although Fausto’s olive rice was used as a side dish with chicken, I though it may be a good to put an Italian vegan spin on it by using the rice in stuffed tomatoes that I’ve had the yens for all week.
Mac helped me put this dish together for Saturday’s dinner. She cored the tomatoes we just picked from our trip to Weed Orchards in Marlboro, NY, while I made the olive rice. To keep it Italian, we decided to add some oregano and crushed red pepper. To add a bit of parmesan flavor, Mac sprinkled in some nutritional yeast. We topped everything off with some vegan mozzarella cheese. We were anxious to see how this would turn out.
Well, the gamble paid off in spades. The sweetness of the tomatoes complimented the salty, piquant olive rice perfectly. The beauty of this dish is its versatility. It can be served as an entree or as a side. You can change up the spices, add other vegetables or vegan grounds/”meat”balls. Feel free to mix things up. How about adding in some chili powder or even some cumin? You really can’t go wrong.
Thanks for Fausto for making such a great rice dish. It’s so great that we just had to name this recipe after him!
Fausto’s Olive Rice Stuffed Tomatoes
Source: Inspired by Fausto’s Dominican Olive Rice…Many Moons Ago
- 4-6 large tomatoes, cored and pulp scooped out. Keep tops of core to use as garnish
- 1 to 1-1/2 c. cooked rice
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1/4 c. chopped olives
- 2 Tbsp. olive juice
- 1c. your favorite tomato sauce
- 1 tsp. nutritional yeast
- 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 to 3 slices of vegan mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degree. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lightly spray sheet with cooking spray
- Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan. Add garlic cloves and saute until slightly browned
- Add cooked rice and toss with garlic. Stir in chopped olives and olive juice. Pour the tomato sauce over rice and olive mixture. Sprinkle nutritional yeast and spices. Give rice mixture a quick stir, and cook for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat
- Fill tomatoes with approximately 1/3-1/2c. of olive rice mixture. Place on baking sheet and bake in oven for 40 minutes
- Briefly remove baking sheet from oven and top each tomato with a 1/2 slice of vegan mozzarella cheese. Return to oven.
- Set oven to broil and cook for 5 minutes or until cheese has started to melt and lightly browned
- When ready to serve, add reserved tops to tomatoes as garnish