Mozzarella and Basil Stuffed Tomatoes

Whether you’re looking for new ways to use the abundance of summer tomatoes or simply want a quick side dish, these vegetarian stuffed tomatoes filled with mozzarella, parmesan, and fresh herbs are simple and delicious.

Overhead view of a cast iron skillet with vegetarian stuffed tomatoes with basil leaves scattered over top.
Kalisa Marie Martin

There’s something comforting about melty cheese and aromatic herbs, and this dish has it all. The mozzarella, parmesan, basil, and olive oil will remind you of drool-worthy margarita pizza—sans crust. And the best part? It comes together in minutes.

In this recipe, the tomato pulp is scooped out and used in the filling (no waste!) along with just enough soft breadcrumbs to absorb the moisture and give body to the stuffing. You can use the recipe as a guide and swap in your favorite combination of cheeses and herbs.

If you have the grill going, throw these on! If not, bake them in the oven and enjoy these cheesy stuffed tomatoes all year long.

Best Tomatoes for Stuffing?

You want to use an evenly round, medium-sized tomato with firm walls for this recipe.

I use a variety called "tomatoes on the vine" for their size, uniform roundness, and classic tomato flavor. They are commonly sold with 4-6 tomatoes still attached to the vine as the name implies. If you don’t have that type of tomato in your area, don’t worry! Any medium-sized variety tomato about the size of a tennis ball (2 1/2 inches) will work too.

Just keep in mind that if your tomato is narrow like a Roma tomato you’ll likely have to trim the bottom to give it a flat base to stand on.

Close up of caprese stuffed tomatoes with basil scattered on top.
Kalisa Marie Martin

How to Stuff Tomatoes

  1. Remove the vines and stems. Wash the tomatoes, but do not core them.
  2. Next, slice the tomatoes in half horizontally and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh. Because of the uniformly round shape of the tomatoes on the vine, each half will easily sit up on its own. If you accidentally puncture a hole in the bottom, no worries! The filling will close it up.
  3. Lastly, prepare the filling. Instead of discarding the inside of the tomato, drain off the seeds and water, then chop what remains up to be used in the filling. If you notice the core or the flesh near the stem end is particularly tough, don’t include it.

Swaps and Substitutions for Stuffed Tomatoes

This recipe can be customized to your liking. Mozzarella and basil are great but don’t stop there. Try these delicious combos as well:

  • Cheddar and cilantro
  • Feta and oregano
  • Chevre and chives

Just keep in mind the intensity of the herb you choose. For example, 1/4 cup of basil works but, for oregano, you’d need only half that much. If you’re using dry herbs, you’ll likely need 1/3 of the amount of fresh.

Want to make this dish more substantial? Try mixing in meat, rice, or seeds.

  • Cooked sausage
  • Cooked ground beef
  • Cooked rice or quinoa

How to Make Gluten-Free Stuffed Tomatoes

If you’re gluten-free, like me, using soft breadcrumbs made from a slice of gluten-free bread works just the same here. No fresh bread but you have dried breadcrumbs? That’ll work too.

I prefer to use bread in this recipe rather than quinoa or rice because the breadcrumbs help absorb the liquid from the tomatoes.

Overhead view of a cast iron skillet with vegetarian stuffed tomatoes with basil leaves scattered over top.
Kalisa Marie Martin

How to Make Ahead and Reheat Stuffed Tomatoes

These tomatoes can be prepared and stuffed up to a few hours in advance and kept in the refrigerator until it’s time to bake. If you make the tomatoes too far in advance the filling will get watery because we used the inside of the tomatoes in the stuffing.

They’re best served right out of the oven, but they do reheat well and quickly. You only need about five minutes under the broiler or in a toaster oven. Microwaving them works if you’re in a pinch, but you’ll lose some of the texture.

What to Serve With Stuffed Tomatoes?

These stuffed tomatoes are great at any time of day! Try them in the morning with fried eggs or for dinner with a piece of grilled meat. They’re also perfect as a stand-alone appetizer.

Easy baked stuffed tomatoes on a plate with a knife and fork. A cast iron skillet with additional stuffed tomatoes are to the left.
Kalisa Marie Martin

More Delicious Summer Tomato Recipes!

1:33

Watch This Easy Mozzarella and Basil Stuffed Tomatoes Recipe

Mozzarella and Basil Stuffed Tomatoes

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Servings 4 servings

If preparing gluten-free, use gluten-free bread or bread crumbs.

Ingredients

  • 4 medium tomatoes with firm, fleshy walls, 2 1/2 inches wide

  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided

  • 1/4 cup packed fresh basil chopped, chopped, plus more for garnish

  • 1 slice bread (enough to make 1/4 cup breadcrumbs)

  • 1 tablespoon salted butter, melted

  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

  • Olive oil for drizzling

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Make the soft breadcrumbs:

    To make the 1/4 cup soft breadcrumbs, remove the crust from 1 slice of bread (preferably stale) and either pulse in a small food processor or shred with a fork until the bread resembles fine, sand-like crumbs.

  3. Prepare the tomatoes:

    Slice the tomatoes in half horizontally around the equator and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh. Be careful not to puncture the walls of the tomato, but if you do, the filling will plug the hole. Place empty tomato halves in a casserole dish or oven-safe skillet, and season with salt and pepper.

    Using your hands or a spoon, separate the seeds from the scooped out tomato flesh and transfer the flesh to a cutting board. Discard the seeds and the tomato water. Chop the flesh and set aside for the stuffing.

    Tomatoes being halved on a cutting board with a glass bowl and spoon set to the right.
    Kalisa Marie Martin
    How to make stuffed tomatoes by removing the core and seeds of a halved tomato.
    Kalisa Marie Martin
    The core and seeds of a tomato are chopped on a cutting board to make easy baked stuffed tomatoes.
    Kalisa Marie Martin
  4. Make the stuffing:

    In a medium bowl, add the chopped tomato flesh, mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup of the parmesan cheese, basil, breadcrumbs, butter, garlic, salt, and pepper and stir to thoroughly combine.

    The filling for vegetarian stuffed tomatoes are in a bowl.
    Kalisa Marie Martin
    A bowl of cheese and hervs mixed to make cheese and herb stuffed tomatoes.
    Kalisa Marie Martin
  5. Bake:

    Using two spoons, fill the tomato halves with the stuffing. Sprinkle filled tomatoes with the remaining parmesan cheese and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes, or until tomatoes are tender, then broil on high for 1 minute until the filling begins to bubble and brown.

    Halved and seeded tomatoes set in a cast iron skillet and being filled to show how to make stuffed tomatoes.
    Kalisa Marie Martin
    Cast iron skillet of the best stuffed tomatoes.
    Kalisa Marie Martin
    The best stuffed tomatoes in a cast iron skillet.
    Kalisa Marie Martin
  6. Serve:

    Garnish with a few torn basil leaves and serve hot.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
196 Calories
13g Fat
11g Carbs
9g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 196
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 17%
Saturated Fat 6g 31%
Cholesterol 29mg 10%
Sodium 488mg 21%
Total Carbohydrate 11g 4%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 9g
Vitamin C 18mg 88%
Calcium 253mg 19%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 355mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.