10-12 large Roma tomatoes
1 medium red onion, finely minced
2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
½ pound ground lean beef or lamb
¼ cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely minced
¼ cup medium-sized bulgur (found in Middle Eastern markets)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon each dried basil, dried thyme, sea salt and finely chopped lemon zest
½ teaspoon each black pepper, red pepper flakes and paprika or Aleppo pepper
Dash of cinnamon or allspice
¾ cup crumbled feta and kasseri cheese, combined
Chopped fresh mint or dried mint for garnish
Marinara or tomato sauce
Juice of one lemon
1. Wash the tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise, scoop out and reserve pulp and discard seeds. Chop reserved pulp and set aside.
2. Sauté onion with the garlic in a few tablespoons of olive oil until the onions are translucent. Add beef or lamb and brown the meat; drain.
3. Add the parsley, bulgur, tomato paste, spices and tomato pulp and heat through, stirring, for about 5-10 minutes until bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in the Feta and Kasseri cheeses, to taste. Let cool for about 5 minutes.
4. Using a tablespoon, spoon some meat mixture into each tomato shell. Place stuffed shells on a cookie sheet or in a large greased casserole dish. Top each tomato with a tablespoon or two of marinara or tomato sauce and bake, uncovered, in a preheated 350-degree oven for about 30-35 minutes, or until heated through and sauce is bubbly. (Check occasionally and spoon more sauce over tomatoes as they are cooking, if desired.)
5. Remove from oven, top with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and fresh or dried mint and drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil. Place on a serving platter with a small bowl of marinara sauce and small slices of garlic or cheese toast. Serve hot or cold.
— Recipe from Christine Vartanian Datian, Las Vegas
Posted December 9, 2014, From the Las Vegas Review Journal