Slow-Roast Tomato and Quinoa Caprese

25 Jul

These Roma tomatoes, also known as Plum tomatoes or, here in Spain, tomates Pera (pear tomatoes) are all beginning to ripen here now.

When I am out with Rufus in the morning I see the farmers and their wives with their straw hats and gloves on, picking them from row upon row of tomato plants and storing them in crates.

They are really cheap at the moment so you can buy a lot for very little money. One of my favourite things to do with these tomatoes is to slow-roast them. It intensifies the flavour, you can make a load and keep them covered in oil in the fridge.

All you have to do is cut them in half, put them on a lined baking tray, drizzle them with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, salt & pepper and put them in a low oven for 2 hours, or more if you like them more dried.

You can use them in salads, pasta dishes, serve them on burgers, in sandwiches, tortillas, quiches, pizzas or a quick bruschetta. They transform anything ordinary into something a bit special. And it’s so easy.

If you try making these once you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them. They’re such a handy thing to have around. And so cheap at the moment, it would be rude not to really.

They’re great for picnics too.

Tomatoes and basil were made for each other. They are what summer is all about. The Caprese salad is one of my “go to” summer dishes because all the ingredients are at their best and it is really quick and easy to make.

Now feel free to just use these tomatoes in a “normal” Caprese with some soft, milky buffalo mozzarella and lots of  torn basil leaves if that is all you can manage in this heat. I wouldn’t blame you at all.

But I couldn’t really call that a recipe could I? I’d feel like I was cheating you somehow.

I used quinoa in this recipe but you could just as easily use cooked rice, couscous, orzo or even pasta as the base.

Quinoa is so good for you, an amazing source of protein if you are vegetarian or vegan and it’s gluten-free. If you’ve never tried cooking with it before you should give it a go. Don’t be scared, it’s easy to work with, really versatile and is nice to eat. It absorbs flavours really well too. I cook mine in veg stock rather than water which makes it even tastier.

Slow Roast Tomato & Quinoa Caprese Recipe

serves 4, vegetarian, gluten-free

For the tomatoes:

  • 8 large , ripe plum tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & black pepper

Preheat the oven to 150C and line a baking tray with baking paper.  Cut the tomatoes in half, lengthways and place them, cut side up on the tray. Drizzle over the olive oil and balsamic vinegar then sprinkle with the sugar and season with salt & pepper. Put in the oven for 2 hours, or longer until they have started to dry out.

Leave to cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge with any juices until half an hour before you need them. Bring them back to room temperature before serving to get the most out of the flavour. If you want to store them for  longer than a few days, cover them with some olive oil. But I doubt they’ll last that long.

For the Quinoa Caprese:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced
  • 400 gr quinoa
  •  about 1 litre veg stock
  • 40gr pine nuts, toasted in a dry pan
  • a big handful of basil leaves
  • 3 sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 or 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 or 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 200 gr mozzarella
  • 6-8 slow-roast tomato halves (see above)
  • salt & black pepper
  • chilli oil (optional)

Cook the quinoa by putting it into boiling veg stock, lower the heat slightly and simmer for 12 -14 minutes until you can see the curlicues in every grain and it has absorbed all, or most, of the stock. Add some boiling water if dries out. Drain, if necessary, and leave to cool.

Meanwhile  fry the onions in the olive oil over a medium high heat for about 5-8 minutes until softened and caramelised.

Fluff up the quinoa with a fork to separate the grains and stir through the onions and any oil from the pan. Tip in any tomato juices, the sundried tomatoes, toasted pine nuts, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Tear or finely julienne the basil and add half to the quinoa and season with salt & black pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning. You can refrigerate it at this point, just bring it back to room temperature before serving.

To serve, pile the quinoa onto a large serving dish or into individual bowls and arrange the slow-roast tomatoes on top. Tear off  bite size pieces of mozzarella, scatter it around the tomatoes and top it off with the rest of the basil. Drizzle over some chilli oil or olive oil at the table.

Enjoy the taste of summer in a bowl!

Things That made Me Smile Today…..

Rufus cooling off in the spring…

Giving our plants on the terrace a quick shower…

Stay cool!!

31 Responses to “Slow-Roast Tomato and Quinoa Caprese”

  1. Medeja July 25, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

    I like both dried and roasted tomatoes. Here they are so expensive now.. Nice tomatoes cost like 7$/ are so lucky.

  2. chicaandaluza July 25, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

    I picked about a kilo of tomatoes from my garden this morning and they are sitting in the fridge waiting to be turned into somethng gorgeous… I think I know now what that might be! Where do you buy your Quinoa? I am ashamed to say I have never cooked with it although I love eating it.

    • foodblogandthedog July 25, 2011 at 8:32 pm #

      I get it from the herboristeria in town, they all sell it. I’ve been sun drying tomatoes from your recipe, on the roof terrace. Just about to go and check them out now!

      • chicaandaluza July 26, 2011 at 4:28 pm #

        Ooh – thanks for that, never thought of trying there but it makes sense! Hope the tomatoes are doing ok and that Rufus doesn´t try to nab them (my dogs are always pretty curious when I do mine) 😉

  3. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide July 25, 2011 at 3:49 pm #

    I have mentioned before how much I love your dog’s name right? Wonderful photos. Those tomatoes are just beautiful. I love roasting them too. Great recipe.

    • foodblogandthedog July 25, 2011 at 8:33 pm #

      It is a fabulous name , I know! Isn’t your name Greg though?

  4. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts July 25, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

    I have been looking for a new Quinoa recipe! This looks wonderful. I can’t wait until my tomatoes come in and i can have fun with them!

  5. Kelly July 25, 2011 at 4:12 pm #

    What a great summer dish, this looks delicious! 🙂

  6. watermeloun July 25, 2011 at 5:20 pm #

    I’ve never cooked Quinoa before, I really wonder how it tastes:)

  7. Carolyn July 25, 2011 at 5:22 pm #

    I have plum/romas beginning to ripen in my yard and I can hardly wait to slow roast them like this!

  8. Angie's Recipes July 25, 2011 at 6:48 pm #

    What a beautiful and fresh salad!

  9. kankana July 25, 2011 at 11:19 pm #

    Roasting tomatoes makes me so much more flavorful. Loving the idea of this caprese and great photo of you dog 🙂

  10. jazziefizzle July 25, 2011 at 11:55 pm #

    Yum!! that looks so so good, and I never would have thought to do that combo with quinoa! Definitely have to try it!!

  11. Hannah (BitterSweet) July 26, 2011 at 1:18 am #

    Slow-roasted tomatoes are like all the best parts of summer condensed into one small, juicy package. I wish I had the patience to give them the proper amount of time… It’s just so hard to bear the oven cranking along in this heat! I’ll just have to drool over yours for now…

  12. tony ward July 26, 2011 at 9:28 am #

    Great looking food princess, as always. I am imagining sitting beside the Mediterranean with a chilled glass of Rose and your delicious caprese.Then I look at the ‘tablecloth’ being blown down Table Mountain with 45 mph North West wind, chilling us Capetonians to the bone !! Come on Tony wake up and smell the coffee. !! xx

  13. Tes July 26, 2011 at 12:18 pm #

    Ohhh those tomato makes me immediately think of one thing…”salsa” 🙂 I love your recipe, too. It sounds so fresh and delicious 🙂

  14. Maris (In Good Taste) July 26, 2011 at 2:56 pm #

    Perfect summer salad and really beautiful photos!

  15. tiffany July 26, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

    Tomatoes and basil were definitely made for each other! And paired with the protein from the quinoa… this is a complete meal!

  16. jacquelincangro July 26, 2011 at 7:38 pm #

    I’ve never cooked using Quinoa before so thanks for giving me incentive to try it. This looks like a great summer recipe.

    Woofs to Rufus!

  17. Caroline July 26, 2011 at 8:52 pm #

    I love that you added brown sugar to the tomatoes, sounds like a fantastic combo. This salad is making my mouth water. Literally. And Rufus is absolutely adorable!!

  18. happywhennothungry July 27, 2011 at 3:07 am #

    This dish looks fabulous! Your tomatoes are beautiful and the addition of brown sugar sounds so tasty. Love all the flavors in the quinoa as well. Yum!

  19. Barbara Rodgers July 27, 2011 at 6:48 pm #

    Definitely going to try this! Thank you!

  20. forgottenbeast July 27, 2011 at 8:56 pm #

    Mmm, I keep stumbling across all these slow-roasted tomato recipes and they all make me drool–and gotta say, yours look particularly good! And everything’s better on quinoa, if you ask me 🙂

  21. Dani July 28, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

    Ooh, I slow roast tomatoes every summer, but I’ve never combined them with quinoa. Of course, no matter how many trays of tomatoes I make, they all seem to get eaten out of hand within a couple of days.

  22. Rita July 30, 2011 at 2:39 pm #

    I love the idea of roasting tomatoes!! I’ve never tried them, but they look gorgeous and so versatile!!! We can find plenty of tomatoes here too, because they’re in full season and it’s time to make conserva di pomodoro. Do you know what? I can’t find quinoa… 😦

    • foodblogandthedog July 30, 2011 at 3:03 pm #

      Have you tried the health food shops? That’s where I get mine. Are you going to post the conserva di pomodoro, or have you already, sounds gorgeous!

  23. Beth Michelle August 20, 2011 at 2:35 pm #

    Your photos are always so gorgeous! Love them! I love quinoa and I love what you did with it here. Another wonderful recipe!

  24. kellieanderson September 1, 2011 at 11:46 am #

    Lots of caprese recipes out there, but I have just made yours and it is scrumptious. Thanks for posting it. We are later with our tomatoes here in Scotland…


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