Quinoa Diablo Stuffed Tomatoes

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 Medium Red Onion, Diced

1/8 Teaspoon Salt

1 Teaspoon Light Agave Nectar

2 Cups Vegetable Stock or Water

1 Cup Dry Quinoa

1 Medium Red Beet, Peeled and Diced

1/3 Cup Sundried Tomatoes, Julienned

2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar

1 Tablespoon Smoked Paprika

1/2 - 1 Teaspoon Chili Powder

1/4 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes

1 15-Ounce Can Black Beans, Rinsed and Drained

2 Medium Roasted Red Peppers (1 12-Ounce Jar,) Diced

Handful Fresh Basil, Chiffonaded

To Assemble (Optional):

4 - 6 Large Beefsteak Tomatoes

1/4 - 1/2 Cup Shredded Vegan Cheese

First, caramelize onions by heating up the oil in a medium saucepan along with the chopped onion. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with agave. Keep the heat on medium-low, and stir periodically, until the onions become golden brown and aromatic. Be patient; this could take as long as 30 - 40 minutes, but adds the rich, flavorful backbone to the whole dish.

Meanwhile, heat the stock or water in a separate medium or large saucepan over medium heat. When boiling, add in the quinoa, red beet, dried tomatoes, vinegar, and spices. Turn down the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, or until all of the water has been absorbed. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the beans and roasted peppers. When the onions are properly caramelized, mix them into the quinoa as well. Sprinkle with basil and add more salt to taste, if necessary. You could stop here and serve immediately while still hot, or...

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

Use a sharp paring knife to remove the core from each tomato, and then dig out the watery seeds and guts with a grapefruit spoon. Turn the hollowed-out tomatoes upside down over a wire rack while you work on the rest, allowing any remaining liquid to drain out.

Place the empty tomatoes on your prepared baking sheet, evenly spaced, and fill them to the top with the quinoa mixture. Pack it in lightly so that it there are no voids inside and all of the tomatoes bake evenly. Sprinkle your vegan cheese of choice over the tops, and bake for about 20 minutes, until the tomatoes are fork-tender, the skins are splitting, and the cheese has melted.

Top with additional fresh basil and enjoy!

Serves 4 - 6 as main; 8 - 12 as side

©Hannah Kaminsky http://www.bittersweetblog.com