Baked tomatoes make a great side dish or main, stuffed with goat cheese and topped with homemade garlic and herb bread crumbs.
These Baked Tomatoes with Goat Cheese are a delicious way to enjoy beautiful Summer tomatoes. And while you may look at these and think “side dish”, I would also make a case for these as the star of your meal.
Every part of this simple dish is made to deliver maximum flavour; from the homemade bread crumbs that start with Italian bread and dried herbs, to the creamy and tangy goat cheese, to the buttery garlic, Parmesan and herb flavoured crumb topping and finally, to the beautiful Summer tomatoes.
Enjoy as a side for your Summer meal or pair with a great salad for a light, meatless meal.
One of the nicest parts of this dish is the homemade seasoned bread crumbs. So easy to make at home. Here’s how …
How to Make Seasoned Bread Crumbs
Add 4 cups cubed, day-old Italian bread to a food processor. Add 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp dried basil, 1 tsp dried oregano and 1 tsp dried thyme. Process to your desired size. Scatter evenly on a baking sheet. Bake in a 350F oven for 8-9 minutes, stirring several times while baking. Remove from oven and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground peppers. Stir in, then allow to cool on baking sheet. Store in an airtight container.
Ingredient Notes for Baked Tomatoes with Goat Cheese
Tomatoes: Look for the nicest tomatoes you can find. Pick 4 that are about the same size, so they cook evenly. Avoid ones with an off-centre bottom, as you want them to sit solidly upright as they bake, so they don’t fall over and lose all their topping.
Bread Crumbs: The homemade bread crumbs are a real treat and worth the bit of extra time to make your own. If you don’t have the time or the ingredients, you can use store-bought seasoned bread crumbs.
Goat Cheese: I used plain goat cheese here, but if you have a flavoured goat cheese (herbed or garlic, for example), that would be fine as well.
Herbs: Note that you’ll want to use dried herbs for the Homemade Seasoned Bread Crumbs, but fresh herbs are recommended for the final crumb topping mixture. While you can use dried for the final crumb topping mixture if you don’t have fresh, I don’t recommend using fresh herbs for the base seasoned bread crumbs. Dried works much better.
Cook’s Notes for Baked Tomatoes with Goat Cheese
You will have more Homemade Seasoned Bread Crumbs than you need for one batch of these tomatoes. Store the excess in an airtight container, where it will keep well for other uses for several weeks.
The Homemade Seasoned Bread Crumbs won’t be as fine as the store-bought seasoned bread crumbs, as even day-old bread has enough moisture in to prevent the bread from reducing to fine crumbs. The coarser mixture is definitely an advantage for these tomatoes, as all the nooks and crannies toast up beautifully crispy in the oven.
If you want fine Homemade Seasoned Bread Crumbs, after processing the first time, spread the mixture out onto a clean baking sheet and just let it stand on the counter for 1-2 hours, stirring a couple of times, to dry out the bread further, then process again.
More Tomato Recipes You Might Like …
Baked Tomatoes with Goat Cheese
Delicious baked tomatoes, filled with goat cheese and topped with a homemade, buttery, garlic and herb bread crumb mixture.
Homemade Seasoned Bread Crumbs:
- 4 cups Italian bread day-old, cubed
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried oregano leaves
- 1 tsp dried basil leaves
- 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 large tomatoes
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/3 cup goat cheese
- 3/4 cup Seasoned Bread Crumbs from homemade above or store-bought
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp fresh parsley chopped (or 1 1/2 tsp dried)
- 2 Tbsp fresh basil leaves chopped (or 1 1/2 tsp dried)
- 1/4 cup salted butter melted
Homemade Seasoned Bread Crumbs (can be made ahead):
Preheat oven to 350F.
Add 4 cups cubed Italian bread to a food processor. Add garlic powder, dried basil, dried oregano and dried thyme. Process mixture until you have a crumbly mixture, with some fine pieces but a few larger, pea-sized pieces. Scatter crumbs evenly onto a baking sheet.
Bake crumbs in a 350F oven for 8-9 minutes, stirring several times while baking. Remove from oven and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground peppers. Stir seasoning in, then allow to cool completely on baking sheet. Use immediately or store in an airtight container.
For the Baked Tomatoes: Cut the tomatoes in half just above the equator (cutting about the top 1/3 off). Discard top or trim and use for a salad. With the bottoms, cut through the spine and dig out the seeds and membrane with a spoon or your hands. Discard seedy bits. Sprinkle the insides of the tomato shells with salt and freshly ground pepper. Place upside down on a doubled-up piece of paper towel and let stand 5-10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Prepare the crumb topping by combining the bread crumbs, garlic cloves, chopped parsley and chopped basil. Pour the melted butter overtop and mix until the crumbs are moistened. Set aside.
Place drained tomatoes right-side up on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spoon one heaping tablespoon of goat cheese into the centre of each tomato. Grind a bit of pepper on top of the goat cheese. Divide the bread crumb mixture evenly on top of the 4 tomatoes.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until the topping is golden. Allow to stand a few minutes, before eating warm.
Be sure to read the “Ingredient and Cook's Notes" (above the recipe card!), where I share more detailed tips, variations and substitution suggestions for this recipe!