I love it when a recipe is super healthy and low in cholesterol as well as delicious and easy. There was a great deal of flavor-packed moisture from the tomatoes that really made this dish a pleasure to eat. The flavors were fresh and yummy and the textures worked together well – the onion maintained a light “crunch” while the barley had a bit of chew to it. In the future, I’ll probably serve this as an appetizer or side dish rather than a main course because it was not particularly filling.
This recipe makes about double the stuffing that you will need for the 6 tomatoes. However, this makes an excellent chilled barley salad or stuffed into anything else (I’ll keep you updated if I decided to try it in another application), so I decided to make some extra filling.
Barley and Herb Stuffed Tomatoes
6 medium tomatoes, top 1/4″ removed and seeds scooped out
1 cup pearled barley, rinsed and drained
1 cup packed flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 red onion, diced
2 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, finely minced
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup Japanese-style panko bread crumbs
Non-stick cooking spray
3 tbs. balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 400º.
Bring 2-3 cups water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add pearled barley and reduce heat to a maintain a steady simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes until pearled barley is cooked through.
Season cleaned tomato halves with salt and pepper to taste. Combine all other ingredients, except panko bread crumbs, including more salt and pepper to taste, in a large mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly with your hands or a spatula. Fill each tomato shell with enough to be level, using a spoon or the palm of your hand to pack tightly. Top the tomatoes with bread crumbs and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Spray a casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Place tomatoes in the casserole. Spray tops of tomatoes with non-stick cooking spray. Bake in oven 40 minutes until topping is light golden brown and filling is heated through. Top each tomato with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Let the tomatoes rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.