Moroccan stuffed tomatoes with roasted peppers, tuna, capers and olives

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matoes stuffed with roast peppers & tuna

I do feel sorry for Richard sometimes. Not only do I take the proverbial out of him here, but I also force him to eat vegetables. Without a side serve of meat.

‘Mmmmmm. That smells good, what’s for dinner?’ he asked as he walked into the kitchen after work.

‘Hmmmmm. I’m not sure you’re going to like it’ I said setting expectations low.

Suspicions were immediately raised.

‘Does it have meat in it?’ he asked as he walked over to the hob for a look see.

‘That depends. Does tuna out of a can count as meat?’ I asked hopefully.

It counts apparently and a non-meat meal crisis was averted for another day.

tomatoes stuffed with roast peppers & tuna

Which is lucky because otherwise he would have missed out on these delicious stuffed tomatoes from Claudia Roden’s New Book of Middle Eastern Food which is this month’s Cook Book Guru project.

I have no idea why I picked this out of all the recipes I could have chosen. I guess I think I know how to make hummus and tagines. And I have a love hate relationship with eggplant. I can’t abide the squeakiness of it in some recipes and as much as I tried I couldn’t face doing babaganoush. Again.

This recipe spiked my interest because it felt a bit retro but with a modern twist – well modern for me since preserved lemons got all trendy but I guess they’ve been around in the Middle East for thousands of years. The ones in my fridge are ones I made last June and they’ve been hidden at the back of the shelf and forgotten about so this was a good excuse to use some of them up.

tomatoes stuffed with roast peppers & tuna

I was afraid Richard might think they were a bit ‘girlie’ but his only comment was that he really liked the capers and olives and that he’d eat them again.


  • For once I actually followed the recipe but wish I’d listened to my instincts and put just a little bit of water in the bottom of the tray. The photo in Arabesque has gorgeous pan juices dotted with olive oil around the tomatoes – I added just a 1/2 cup of water half way through the cooking time which was enough.
  • Roasting the peppers can be labour intensive – if I had access to jars of roasted peppers I’d use them to save time and mess in the kitchen. I know it’s more authentic to do them yourself but if I was serving this as part of a bigger mezze plate I’d cut a few corners.
  • I’d put more preserved lemon in next time – or maybe zest of a lemon for a little more oomph.

5.0 from 4 reviews
Tomatoes stuffed with roast peppers, tuna, capers and olives
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Perfect for a light lunch with salad and bread or as part of a mezzo selection.
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Serves: 3-6
  • 4 red capsicums
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1x200g tins of tuna, flaked
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 4 tbsp chopped black olives
  • peel of ½ preserved lemon, chopped finely
  • 2 tbsp chopped leaf parsley
  • salt & pepper
  • ½ cup of water
  • 6 large tomatoes
  1. If you have a gas hob place the peppers directly in the flame, turning with tongs until their skins are black all over (I had 3 going at once and it took 15 -20 minutes). Otherwise roast them in the hottest oven for about 30 minutes or until they are soft and their skins are blistered and blackened, turning them once after 15 minutes.
  2. Put the peppers into a plastic freezer or sandwich bag, twist shut and leave for 10-15 minutes.
  3. When the peppers are cool enough to handle you can push the skin off under a cold water tap. Cut in half, remove the stem and seeds and give a final wash.
  4. Cut peppers into strips about 2cm wide and mix with the rest of the ingredients except the tomatoes.
  5. Cut a small circle around the stalk of each tomato and cut out a cap. Remove the centre and seeds with a pointed teaspoon. Fill the cavities with the roast pepper mixture and replace the caps.
  6. Arrange in a shallow baking dish along with the water and bake in an oven pre-heated to 180C for 20-30 minutes until the tomatoes are a little soft.
  7. Serve hot or cold.

There are no notes as to what to do with the leftover tomato flesh and seeds – and I seemed to have a lot. Inspired by a tomato pilaf in Arabesque I whizzed up the leftovers, made up the volume with water and cooked a cup of rice in it. If the weather was warmer I would have made gazpacho.

Served with a rocket salad and the tomato pilaf it made for a light supper and I’d definitely make this again – maybe for lunch or as part of a Middle Eastern mezze if I ever get that way inspired.

There’s a lot more to this book I know and I’d love to get my hands on a copy to  see how many of the recipes are replicated in Arabesque. According to google books, this particular recipe appears in the Tunisian section and it’s in the Moroccan chapter of Arabesque. As I was reading through Arabesque I realised lots of the recipes were simpler versions of recipes that appear in Jerusalem and Plenty which just goes to show how ahead of the game CR was/is.

matoes stuffed with roast peppers & tuna

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    • says

      I think so too but I had to make sure the resident carnivore approved. I was pleasantly surprised how much he liked this.

  1. says

    These looks really good, Nancy, and no wonder Richard liked the smell of his dinner cooking with all those lovely ingredients – even if there wasn’t a steak on his plate! That was a great way to use up the tomato xx

    • says

      I sometimes dismiss recipes for being too easy or too simple so I’m glad I picked this one – there’s nothing earth shattering about it but it is what it says on the label. And it’s good!

  2. says

    Beautiful sounding tomatoes… I love the freshness of the ingredients. The pulp would be awesome whizzed up with some pepper and made into a bloody mary or even toss through some pasta with fresh basil :-)

  3. says

    Love the sound of these stuffed tomatoes. Yum. I have many of Roden’s books, they are all full of simple reliable recipes. There is virtually no double up between Arabesque and her encyclopaedic New Book of Middle Eastern Food. What you miss with Arabesque is the informative cultural history, which I love

  4. says

    I have Claudia Rodens book and I like it. I haven’t cooked but 3 things from it but I’m a terrible cook book cooker. I don’t follow directions well :) These look really good and stuffed vegetables are a weakness of mine, I can eat them anytime. Good to know Rich approved, my husband wouldn’t, he doesn’t like tuna! But I’m wondering if I can sneak them in here and he won’t make a fuss. Worth a try.

    • says

      You could easily substitute more veggies or even couscous instead of the tuna. And me too – I never read a recipe properly or have the right ingredients at hand but I do love to sit down and go through a recipe book.