Ready for another crazy-good keto recipe with crazy little ingredients? This Creamy Pesto-Stuffed Baked Tomatoes with Mozzarella needs just a mere 4 carefully-selected ingredients — and the result is beyond delicious! Read on to find the secrets of how to make your next favorite keto dinner!
How to make the 4-Ingredient Creamy Pesto-Stuffed Baked Tomatoes with Mozzarella
Choosing the pesto for this dish is the most critical part. I prefer homemade pesto as I can be sure there are no nasty ingredients added. For the photos, I made pesto from leftover fresh herbs I happened to have. I used both parsley and thyme — and the result was very tasty. I also had some Swiss cheese that I used instead of Parmesan. So, making your own pesto from leftover herbs and cheese is a great idea.
In case you don’t have time and lust to make pesto from scratch, the next best option is to find a commercial pesto with high-quality ingredients and without food additives. There are some, so take your time to find a suitable brand. Once you have found it, you can take it to your pantry for regular use.
Like with pesto, you should pay attention to other ingredients as well. For tomatoes, go for organic. For cream cheese, use full-fat cream cheese without thickeners or other food additives. For mozzarella, choose a variety without added starch.
However, don’t despair if you cannot get the cleanest and the most nutritious ingredients – choose the best you can. That’s enough!
By the way, you can easily double or triple the recipe if you need to feed a bigger crowd. I’ve thought one stuffed tomato works well as a serving, but if you are hungry, just adjust the serving size according to your needs. This dish works perfectly as a side dish, too, so if you serve it on the side of a steak, you won’t get additional carbs.
Okay, that’s enough chit chat (more at the end of this post!), so let’s take a look at how to prepare this tasty keto dish:
Take 4 medium tomatoes.
Cut off the top from each tomato. (Be careful with your fingers and don’t use the technique like in the photo! I’ve paid a high price as wounds and scars in my hands when using this method – and still it’s my preferred method as I master it now!)
Scoop out the pulp. The easiest is to cut around the edges with a sharp, serrated knife first…
…and then scoop out the pulp with a small spoon. Save the tops and the pulp for other use (check tips at the end of the post!).
Place the hollowed-out tomatoes into a baking dish. Set aside.
Combine 1/3 cup (80 ml) pesto…
…1.5 oz (45 g) cream cheese…
…and 1/4 cup (60 ml) shredded mozzarella in a cup.
…until well combined.
Fill the tomatoes with the pesto mixture.
Sprinkle 1/4 cup (60 ml) shredded mozzarella evenly on top of the tomatoes.
Here we go, ready to bake!
Bake in the preheated oven at 350 °F (175 °C) for about 25 minutes…
…or until the tomatoes are crisp-tender and the mozzarella is melted and golden brown.
Remove from the oven and serve, preferably with some chopped fresh herb sprinkled on top. I use thyme here.
How I came up with this keto stuffed tomato recipe
Well, this, yet another super-busy week, needed simple and quick recipes. After browsing through my idealist, I found a recipe for pesto-stuffed baked tomatoes. It sounded fascinating but a bit plain with just pesto and tomatoes.
After pondering over the idea, I decided to add some creaminess to the stuffing by mixing cream cheese to the pesto and topping the tomatoes with shredded mozzarella. Now, that sounded scrummy!
I bought a huge bag of tomatoes planning to use 8 tomatoes for the recipe but realized that after all the experiments, photos, and the videos needed for the recipe and for the blog post, I will be having my fridge full of creamy pesto-stuffed tomatoes. Well, otherwise that would undoubtedly be awesome, but my fridges are already filled with Kukkis and Parsis and other Ketokamu experiments.
Moreover, I was planning to travel, so there was a danger that the food would have spoiled. And my freezers are full of experiments, too, so freezing the food was out of the question as well.
So, I decided to use just 4 tomatoes for a recipe. It’s anyway easy to multiply the ingredients if you need.
I did my first experiment with 4 tomatoes, 1/3 cup (80 ml) pesto, 1.5 oz (45 g) cream cheese, and 1/4 cup (60 ml) shredded mozzarella.
First, I mixed the pesto with the cream cheese and started filling the hollowed-out tomatoes. Well, to my surprise, the filling wasn’t enough. I wouldn’t have expected the tomatoes would eat that much filling! One tomato was completely empty, and there was no filling left in my cup.
As I had only a little bit of homemade pesto left – that I had mainly dedicated to shooting the video recipe – I didn’t dare to add it to the filling. I didn’t want to add cream cheese either, as I was happy with the state of the creaminess of the filling.
Then, I got the idea of adding shredded mozzarella to the filling. It would make the creamy filling cheesy as well – how irresistible that sounded!
I mixed 1/4 cup (60 ml) mozzarella to the filling (that I had now removed from the tomatoes…). And, when I filled the tomatoes again with this cheesy mixture, the amount of filling was just perfect!
I still sprinkled 1/4 cup (60 ml) shredded mozzarella on top of the filled tomatoes. I baked them for 25 minutes, until the mozzarella was melted, oozy, golden brown, and the tomatoes were crisp-tender but not completely soft.
After tasting a stuffed tomato, I was wholly astonished: I was expecting a delicious result, but I wasn’t expecting that delicious result as the experiment had turned out! Oh boy, it was tasty, creamy, cheesy – with all that flavorful pesto, fruity tomato, oozy mozzarella, and smooth cream cheese the dish was one of the tastiest ones I’ve ever tasted. Seriously!
Here’s the recipe for you to enjoy:
- 4 medium tomatoes
- 1/3 cup = 80 ml pesto
- 1.5 oz = 45 g cream cheese
- 1/2 cup = 120 ml shredded mozzarella
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F (175 °C).
- Cut off the tops from each tomato. Scoop out the pulp. Save the tops and the pulp for other use (check tips at the end of the post!).
- Place the hollowed-out tomatoes into a baking dish.
- Combine the pesto, cream cheese, and 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the shredded mozzarella in a cup. Stir until well combined.
- Fill the tomatoes with the pesto mixture.
- Sprinkle the leftover mozzarella evenly on top of the tomatoes.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes, or until the tomatoes are crisp-tender and the mozzarella is melted and golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and serve.
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|Nutrition information||In total||Per serving if in total 4 servings|
|Protein||26.3 g||6.6 g|
|Fat||80.6 g||20.2 g|
|Net carbs||20.5 g||5.1 g|
|kcal||608 kcal||152 kcal|
Tips for variations
A real quick version of this dish you can make by not baking the tomatoes. In that case, you might want to omit the shredded mozzarella and double the amount of pesto and cream cheese.
Alternatively, you can sprinkle some finely-grated Parmesan on top. – Or, you can mix crumbled feta with the pesto and fill the tomatoes with this mixture.
Another quick variation is to swap the medium tomatoes to cherry tomatoes and serve as an appetizer. You can bake the tomatoes or serve unbaked.
You can also bake the tomatoes in a microwave oven. Use high heat and cook, covered, for 3 to 4 minutes or until the tomatoes are crisp-tender and the mozzarella is melted.
What to do with the tomato tops and pulp
What I did with my leftover pulp and tops: I cooked them into a thick and smooth sauce with fresh herbs like oregano. Sure, there is not much sauce left after an hour or two cooking, but you can surely use it, for example, for a keto pizza or marinara sauce.
Since there are plenty of seeds and most probably tomato peels from the tomatoes’ tops in the sauce, you can blend it smooth with an immersion blender or in a regular blender.
This week has been again super-busy with our Ketokamu soups, Kukkis and Parsis, and everything related to that. We have continued the tasting tour in different Ruohonjuuri stores. Well, we finally got a new batch of the soup – after the first one was sold out. And guess what: this second, bigger batch was also sold out in two days!
We also got our team member, the top chef Sami Tallberg for the tasting tour. Here is Sami and Olli (our CEO) in Ruohonjuuri in Turku, letting people taste our soups.
But I think the highlight of the week was when I got a card from a neighbor lady. I had given three of our soups to her. She is soon 90 years old and is suffering from severe diabetes that starts to be uncontrollable. The nurses tell her to eat low-fat high-carb diet and inject more insulin – and if you know anything about the physiology of the human body and how our system works, this advice is nonsense.
I told the lady to skip the bread and eat the soups instead. After a few days, there was a thank you card in my mailbox where she said that her sky-high blood sugar levels had dropped remarkably – close to normal – and she feels so much better. Can we claim that our soups cure people?
Oh yes, I was happy to find my newest book (Järkevä ketoruokavalio), launched a couple of weeks ago, from the nearest store, Prisma. How awesome!
I was also interviewed during the week about the book. Normally, the happening should have been in Helsinki, but since the times are what they are, the happening was online. I was also supposed to speak in several fairs and expos during this fall, but again, everything is either canceled or postponed, so those won’t happen.
And guess what? I’m in Greece now! I really needed to change my location to finish my upcoming book and write a magazine article with some recipes. The deadlines are approaching fast. Moreover, I felt extraordinarily stressed, so a change of environment is welcome. After a couple of days in the heat of the Greek sun, things start feeling a bit more relaxed.
Naturally, I took some Kukkis and Parsis here in Greece as well.
Also my Greek host liked Parsis — how awesome!