These are great on a buffet, they look cute and have lots of flavour. Use the best quality cherry tomatoes you can find, cheaper ones tend to be lacking in flavour.
1. Wash the cherry tomatoes and cut the top off each one. You want to take about one-third of the tomato off. Leave the hole where the stalk was at the bottom, this helps the stuffed cherry tomatoes to stand up.
2. Scoop out the middle – pips, flesh and everything – using a teaspoon or a melon baller. A teaspoon can split the sides of the tomato if your cherry tomatoes are on the small side, so try and get a small thin one (probably not a teaspoon actually it would be slightly smaller). It is definitely doable with a teaspoon, we used a regular-sized teaspoon on several hundred of cherry tomatoes and it got the job done. But a melon baller does make it easier if you are doing lots of them. This one is an ideal size, it was listed as being 18mm, though its diameter is about 10 mm.
3. Sit the cherry tomatoes shells upside-down on a double layer of kitchen towel. This helps get rid of any excess liquid.
4. Prepare your choice of filling/s
(these are the two we usually use)
Vegan cream cheese – this is great with finely chopped chives or spring onion in it – just stir them in. Vegan cream cheese can be found in health food shops and some supermarkets. The Bute Island range and Tesco range are palm oil free.
Pesto – is oily which is fine on pasta, in stuffed tomatoes it’s better if you get rid of some of the oil. To do this put it into a sieve and leave for ten minutes plus to let some of the oil drain out. We tend to use Zest Pesto, they are not all vegan, but the vegan one is clearly marked. Most vegan pestos work though. A recent vegan pesto find we made is Sacla (thanks Fat Gay Vegan). We found it in the FreeFrom section of a supermarket. Thumbs up from us, it’s a really tasty pesto. Note that most Sacla pestos are not vegan.
5. Fill the cherry tomato shells
Vegan cream cheese is the right consistency for piping or can be spooned in, though it’s actually quicker to pipe it in.
Pesto won’t hold it’s shape, but if you’re in a rush it is still quicker to pipe it in. Otherwise spoon it in.
6. Ideally serve soon after you’ve filled them. If you aren’t serving the pesto-filled tomatoes straight away, sit them on top of some kitchen towel and transfer to your serving dish just before you serve them. The tomato shells can be prepared in advance and stored in the fridge ready for stuffing.