- 3/4 cups long-grain brown rice
- 4 ripe large beefsteak-type tomatoes, 2 1/2 to 3 pounds, cored
- 1 cup shredded lite three-cheese blend, such as mozzarella, Jack and Cheddar
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano, or 2 teaspoons dried
- 3/4 tsp. salt, divided
- Ground black pepper
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 cup panko-style breadcrumbs
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
- Cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cook rice according to package directions; there should be 2 1/2 cups cooked rice.
- Cut thin slice from bottom of each tomato, discard it, and slice each tomato crosswise into 4 thick slabs. In mixing bowl, combine cooked rice, cheese, oregano, ground and cayenne pepper and half the salt. In another bowl, use a fork to combine the panko, garlic, oregano, remaining salt, and olive oil. Season to taste with black pepper, and set aside.
- Coat covered 2-quart heatproof casserole with cooking spray. Arrange 4 tomato slices to cover bottom of the casserole. Using half the rice mixture, cover tomatoes. Top with another 4 or 5 tomato slices, then remaining rice. Finish with another tomato layer, overlapping the slices to cover the rice completely.
- Cover casserole and bake for 45 minutes, until casserole is moist. Uncover, and sprinkle topping evenly over casserole. Bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes, or until topping is lightly colored, tomatoes are very tender, and casserole is bubbly under the topping. Let casserole sit for 20 minutes, or serve lukewarm.
This meatless casserole features succulent tomatoes, brown rice and a three-cheese blend to usher in warmer weather with a light, but filling meal. Research has shown that lycopene, a phytochemical found in tomatoes, may protect against prostate and other types of cancer.