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Recovering from the Flu with Vegetarian Stuffed Tomatoes

Last week I was down with a flu that knocked me down so badly that I practically had visions of being at the pediatrician’s office with my mother when I was a little girl.

“There, there, Launie. You’ll be fine. Here’s some baby aspirin and cough syrup.”

It was that kind of a fever, along with more weird fever dreams than I care to try to remember.

One night, Corporal Klinger from M*A*S*H showed up on the show Alice as Flo’s body double yelling, “kiss my grits!” While Mel mopped the floor as he gnawed on a hamburger.

And don’t get me started about the mysteries I solved for the Los Angeles police department circa 1977 as I slept in my pajamas. (Yes, I had been placating myself by watching old episodes of Columbo when I was awake.)

While I was burrowed under two comforters, I was solving mysteries left, right, and down the middle in my sleep. Take that bad guy! I solved the mystery just by noticing a book of matches from a club on the Sunset Strip, simply because one match was missing a flint. Ha!

And when I was awake the cats beclowned themselves to amuse me, and then they’d cuddle next to me even though I was so congested my lungs sounded like a playing card in bicycle spokes.

Then, we’d all watch Columbo together while Jedd brought me cold water and tissues.

So, it was kind of a wholesome family flu.

And then one afternoon, I was hungry. Really hungry. I’d circled back to the “feed a cold” rather than “starve a fever,” point in my week. Which made me very happy.

So, I threw on a bathrobe, wandered into the kitchen and reached for the tomatoes in a bowl on the counter.


Rain, shine, sickness, health, breakfast, lunch, or dinner, I’m a nut for stuffed tomatoes. I pile them high with parmesan, panko, lemon, fresh and dried oregano, and just enough salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to make me feel alive.

Or, a better type of sneezy.

Stay healthy, folks, and enjoy these delicious stuffed tomatoes!


Recovering from the Flu with Vegetarian Stuffed Tomatoes

These cheesy and herby baked tomatoes are the perfect treat for getting through the other side of a winter flu!
Course Breakfast, lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Author Launie Kettler


  • 4 medium tomatoes
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/4 cup finely diced white or yellow onion
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon roughly chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons room temperature salted butter


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Line a medium rimmed sheet pan with parchment.
  • Cut the tops off of the tomatoes, and scoop out the tomatoflesh. (A serrated grapefruit spoon works perfectly for that.)
  • Roughly chop the flesh of the tomatoes.
  • Place the chopped tomato (along with the juices) in a mediumbowl.
  • Stir in the panko, parmesan, onion, oregano, parsley, freshoregano, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and pepper flakes.
  • Taste and adjust for seasonings.
  • Divide mixture between the tomatoes, and place on the prepared sheet pan.
  • Dot each tomato with room temperature butter.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, or until bread crumbs are golden brown.
  • Eat in bed with your favorite animals while watching some1970’s detective shows.

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