Bulgur & Herb Mahshi Tomatoes
Updated: Jun 19
During this busy and festive time of the year it's important to take time to think about what the holidays really mean. For many of us, that means celebrating culture-based traditions with our loved ones many of which revolve around delicious food!
Stuffed meats and vegetables “Mahshi” are the anticipated dishes during the holidays growing up in Palestine. They are made with patience and love and fill your home with the most delicious aromas.
The word mahshi in Arabic means “stuffed” so bandoura mahshi would mean stuffed tomatoes. Arabs in general and especially Palestinians love to stuff anything from meats to vegetables. We even stuff our meats with stuffed vegetables ;). Stuffed vegetables are definitely one of my favorites. From zucchini, to eggplants, carrots, onions, cabbage, grape leaves, potatoes, tomatoes and even cucumbers can be stuffed.
For Christmas dinner it’s often eggplants, squash and stuffed grape leaves. But since I am hosting Christmas dinner and cooking solo I could use all the help I can get. Tomatoes are so easy to hallow out and the stuffing is so simple to make & so versatile. I stuffed my tomatoes with a bulgur herb filling but if you are using rice on your holiday table incorporate that instead of the bulgur, I have done freekeh and orzo before its delicious too. Tomatoes are so festive and their vibrant color is so fit for the Christmas dinner table.
Traditions are part of what keeps us in tune with our culture, they remind us of great memories. Cooking some of the traditional dishes from my home growing up keeps their memory alive especially when I share them with Others.
The holidays are the perfect time to gather with loved ones and celebrate with delicious food that means so much to us.
No matter what culture, the traditions of food are almost always central in connecting family, friends and community.
Servings: 4 as a main course or 8 as a side dish
8 vine ripened tomatoes about 2 pounds
2 cups of cooked coarse bulgur (cooked according to package)
2 garlic cloves minced
1 small onion diced
1 cup halloumi cheese, nabulsi, feta, or fresh mozzarella
3 tbls fresh minced parsley
3 tbls fresh minced mint
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp Aleppo pepper
2 tbls pine nuts
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of one lemon
Preheat the oven to 375F
Make the bulgur according to package instructions
Sauté the diced onions and garlic in 2tbls of olive oil until translucent about 5 min
While the bulgur cooks prep the tomatoes
Cut the tops off.
Using a pairing knife make a round incision leaving a boarder
With a small spoon carefully hollow out the tomatoes (seeds and all) set aside we will make the sauce out of that
Prep the filling:
Combine the cooked bulgur, sautéed onions, garlic and all the filing ingredients
Season with salt, pepper, Aleppo pepper, and lemon juice to taste.
Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper
In a baking dish add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to coat the baking dish, add the juice and pulp of all the tomatoes that we hallowed out. If you have big chunks make sure you give them a rough chop.
Fill the tomatoes with the bulgur mixture. Add them in a single layer on top of the tomatoes sauce bake at 375 degrees for 35-45 minutes until tomatoes are cooked through and cheese is slightly melted.
Serve with the pan sauce.