This stuffed cherry tomatoes appetizer is going to be one of the most popular appetizers at your next event. The sweetness of the plump tomatoes complements the tangy goat cheese in such a surprising little mouth pop of flavor! So good, and so easy: can’t beat four ingredients. I’d be quite shocked if you served these up and had a single one left over.
How to soften goat cheese
Here are three options for softening goat cheese. Choose one, not all three. 🙂
- Measure out only the goat cheese you’ll need for the recipe and add to a glass bowl. Press a few times with a fork. Add a teaspoon of milk or cream (any unflavored dairy or nut milk will work). Mix together gently until the goat cheese becomes soft and silky, about a minute.
- Measure out the goat cheese you will need for the recipe into a microwave-safe dish. For about 2 tablespoons of goat cheese, microwave on high about 10 seconds. Remove dish from the microwave and stir with a fork. You can add drizzle a ½ teaspoon of water or dairy and mix again. Add back to the microwave for another 10 seconds if needed.
- Note: Only do this next method if your goat cheese is in an unopened and vacuum sealed container.
- Fill a bowl with warm water.
- Place your unopened log of goat cheese in the bowl.
- Wait 30 minutes.
- Empty into a bowl and mix with a fork until it’s a smooth consistency.
How can you tell if goat cheese is bad?
So how does it look, how does it smell? Sometimes cheese of all kinds tends to get spots of mold but the rest of it is fine. I have shaved off many a white or green patch of mold for the sake of a recipe. If the goat cheese is covered in mold, it is safest to toss it. Smell the goat cheese and if it smells foul or off it has gone bad and should not be used. If you see lots of red spots throughout, throw it away and buy a fresh batch.
The sniff test: If you lean in to smell it and you jerk back from the stank, it’s not good. Toss it, or holler “Hey, honey, this is bad, come smell this!” in your rally for solidarity ... and then toss it.
How can you tell if goat cheese is bad?
There are a few distinct differences between grape and cherry tomatoes that are important to note. First, a grape tomato is shaped more like a green grape and is oblong. A cherry tomato is more evenly round in shape. So many tomato varieties are available in the U.S. year-round.
Grape tomatoes have thicker skin than cherry tomatoes. They also tend to have a longer shelf life. However, cherry tomatoes tend to be more flavorful than grape tomatoes, especially in their peak season. Grape tomatoes make a great tomato compote for burgers, cooked down a bit with balsamic. But I digress.
Should I chop or tear basil?
Whether to chop or tear basil depends on what you plan to do with it. Tear basil when you plan to use it fresh atop a dish immediately. Torn basil releases the freshest flavor. Chop basil when you plan to cook with it or add it to a dish. Smaller cut pieces of basil permeate the dish better more thoroughly.
If you want to top a dish such as Caprese salad with basil, then you want to tear it. If you plan to add it to a tomato sauce on the stove and cook with it, then chopping it is best. For something like this appetizer, where you want that luscious basil to really mingle, chop, chop, chop. We love these herb shears that make cutting/chopping basil a breeze.
Tips on making this recipe
- We recommend that you use cherry tomatoes for this recipe because they are going to be easier to stuff, they will sit upright better, and their sweetness complements the dish.
- It can be tricky scooping out a cherry tomato because you don't have a lot of space to work with. For this we recommend using your smallest measuring spoon. I ended up starting with a spoon and ultimately using my finger to scoop out the meat.
- Be sure to fully soften your goat cheese before stuffing the tomatoes. The softer the goat cheese is, the easier it will be to stuff those small tomatoes.
- Making this appetizer is a bit time-consuming because this is delicate work. Be patient and take your time. We promise that the effort is worth it.
- We love the flavor of basil. Like irrationally obsessed with it. For a mouth-monster punch of flavor, make your goat cheese mixture ahead of time, like three days ahead, and let those flavors make mad whoopee in your fridge. It’s even more delicious, if you can imagine.
- Play around with various toppings. Get creative and add a tiny piece of parsley or anything else that you have in the kitchen that is bright and makes the appetizer pop.
- Also, consider using yellow cherry tomatoes or even mixing between red and yellow to add some flair on the serving tray.
- Speaking of serving trays, this is the kind of app that people will pick up from the side, like deviled eggs, so if you have a tray or plate with no or low sides—perfect. We fell hard for this gorgeous serving tray with handles.
- 4 oz goat cheese
- 1/4 cup fresh basil
- 2 T chives
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
- 24 cherry tomatoes
- Set out your goat cheese and allow it to soften, or use one of the methods above to soften it and allow it work smoothly.
- Tear your basil into tiny pieces and finely chop your chives.
- In a glass bowl, mix the goat cheese, basil, salt and pepper.
- Cut a thin slice off the top of the tomatoes. (Cut off about the top 10% of each.)
- The goal is to create a hollow center that you can then stuff with your goat cheese mixture. Use a small spoon and scoop the pulp out of the cherry tomatoes. A few of mine started to tear so I ended up using my finger to work the guts out. Mm, guts.
- Spoon in about 1 teaspoon of the goat cheese mixture into each hulled-out tomato. Place each tomato on a serving tray once it is filled.
- Sprinkle chives atop the group of stuffed tomatoes. Keep chilled in the fridge until about half an hour before serving.
- Serve at room temperature and enjoy.