Lentil-Stuffed Grilled Tomatoes Recipe

This gluten-free and vegetarian dish makes the most of juicy summer tomatoes by stuffing them with spiced lentils and crispy shallots.
Photo by Farideh Sadeghin

Serves 4
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 1 hour


1 cup|250 ml vegetable oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced 
4 large beefsteak tomatoes (about 2 ½ pounds|1.13 kilograms)
8 ounces|230 grams eggplant, cut into ½-inch pieces 
1 teaspoon garam masala 
3 garlic cloves, minced 
1 small red chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced 
1 (2-inch) piece ginger, peeled and minced
½ cup|130 grams green lentils 
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste 
¼ cup|15 grams roughly chopped cilantro, plus leaves to garnish 
1 lemon, zested and juiced 
¼ cup|60 ml olive oil 
yogurt, for serving (optional)


  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a small saucepan over medium-high. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots start to brown and crisp, about 10 minutes. This takes time but once they get going, they turn brown fast! As soon as they start to turn golden, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate. Season with salt and reserve ¼ cup|60 ml of the oil. The remaining can be cooled completely and transferred to an airtight container. Store in a cool, dry place and use in salad dressings and frying savory things.
  2. Slice off the top ½-inch of each tomato and scoop out the seeds and pulp. Season the inside of each tomato with salt and place upside-down on a wire-lined baking sheet for 15 minutes to extract the juices. Roughly chop the seeds, pulp, and tomato tops. You should have 2 cups of chopped tomato. If you don’t, top it up with water.
  3. Heat the reserved shallot oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Add the eggplant and cook until lightly golden and soft, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the garam masala, garlic, chile, and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomato pulp along with the lentils, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, covered and stirring occasionally, until the lentils are just tender, about 25 minutes. Stir in half of the fried shallots, the cilantro, and the lemon zest and juice. Season with salt and pepper and cool completely.
  4. Divide the stuffing among the tomatoes. Drizzle half of the olive oil on 4 pieces of aluminum foil. Place a tomato on top of each, then drizzle each with the remaining oil. Wrap the tomatoes up tightly in the foil and grill, covered, until the tomatoes are soft and cooked through, 8 to 9 minutes. Unwrap the tomatoes and serve topped with the remaining fried shallots, cilantro leaves, and yogurt, if using.

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