This is less of a “recipe” and more of an “I need a quick side dish to go with that rotisserie chicken.” When I say quick — I mean 10 minutes of hands-on — if you also happen to be drinking a glass of wine at the same time.
The key to this (as with any type of cooking) is being prepared. By prepared — I mean having things on hand that are ready to go…
First, the pesto. I make pesto in large batches and freeze them in silicone ice cube trays (so they are easier to pop out (I tried it with regular trays and had to let them partially thaw in order to dislodge them). I keep the frozen pesto cubes in a freezer baggie until a need arises – like these tomatoes.
The other thing I always have on hand is fresh breadcrumbs — and not because I’m constantly zhuzhing bread in the food processor… whenever there’s a bit of french bread leftover from a meal – or I’m down to the heel of a loaf of white or sourdough — even an errant bun that never got paired with a hot dog or hamburger — I blitz it and transfer it to a storage baggie in the freezer. So fresh breadcrumbs are always at the ready.
With these little tips, this is literally a 10 minute side dish. Or you could use store-bought pesto and dried breadcrumbs. I won’t tell.
20 minutes in the oven is all it takes. It’s easy. It’s absolutely delicious — and it has a kind of “fancy” quality to it that most people don’t expect. If you don’t like spice, you can skip the red pepper flakes.
Want to add more richness? Toss the breadcrumbs with a little Parmigiano Reggiano. You can easily make this your own recipe and take all the credit for yourself. Just let me know how it turns out for you!
A simple, delicious vegan side dish ready in 30 minutes.
- 2 tomatoes large, ripe
- 4 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic (large cloves) minced
- pinch red pepper flake
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup pesto sauce , store bought or see recipe on this site
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs fresh
Preheat the oven to 400°. For faster cleanup, cover a baking sheet with tin foil and spray with vegetable spray. Set aside.
Carefully core the stem out of the tomatoes and discard. Slice the tomatoes in half, crosswise. Remove the seeds from the tomatoes. Drizzle each tomato with one teaspoon of olive oil. Divide the garlic between the tomato halves and sprinkle a very small pinch of red pepper flakes onto each tomato.
Add 1 tablespoon of pesto to each tomato half and spread evenly over the tomato. Divide the breadcrumbs between the tomatoes and bake for 18-22 minutes or until tomatoes soften and breadcrumbs are lightly toasted. If breadcrumbs are browning too fast, gently rest a sheet of tin foil over the top to prevent further browning.
Transfer tomatoes to a serving dish. Can be eaten hot or at room temperature. (I prefer them warm).