Gemista – Delicious Stuffed Vegetables

Gemista is everyone’s favourite dish. There are many ways to cook stuffed vegetables. Gemista, the Greek way of doing it, consists of stuffing mainly tomatoes and green bell peppers with a mixture of rice and vegetables.

Often, the mixture also includes minced meat. Many people also choose to sautee their vegetables. Or at least this is what used to happen.

Today, it is much easier, healthier, quicker and lighter to cook gemista the way we, and other families like ours, cook them. That is without using any meat and without sauteing the vegetables first. Trust us, it will still taste amazing. And it is really and truly much more compatible with our 21st century way of life. We all are busier and want a simpler and healthier life!

A seasonal but adaptable dish

You can cook gemista throughout they year and we do because our kids ask for it. But it’s best eaten in the summer with some feta and a glass of wine.

This is also considered one of the ladera group of foods that are best eaten a while after you’ve finished cooking. It’s usually a great idea to get this going first thing in the morning. You can set your timer and then hit the beach or go to work. A great lunch will be waiting for you!

If you have any rice mix left over, don’t worry, just throw it in the baking tin. It will cook wonderfully.

Gemista – Delicious Stuffed Vegetables

5 from 7 votes
Course: MainCuisine: GreekDifficulty: Medium
Servings

7

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

1

hour 

45

minutes
Total time

2

hours 

15

minutes

Delicious stuffed tomatoes and peppers, a quitenssential Greek recipe.

Ingredients

  • 12 tomatoes

  • 3-4 green bell peppers

  • 1-2 potatoes, peeled and quartered (optional)

  • 1-2 carrots

  • 1 large onion

  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • 1/2 bunch parsley

  • 1 tbsp fresh mint leaves

  • salt

  • pepper

  • dried oregano

  • 300 grams rice, preferably white carnaroli

Directions

  • Pre-heat the oven at 180C – 350F
  • With a knife cut off the tops of the tomatoes, one by one. Then with a spoon empty out the flesh into the blender and let the tomatoes in the oven tin, covered with the round disk tomato lid.
  • Pulp the tomato flesh in the blender and pour into a large bowl.
  • Cut off the top of the peppers, one by one. Empty the peppers out of seeds and chop off the white bits of flesh within.
  • Chop the onion, parsley, mint and carrots in the blender. Be careful, you want to end up with small chunks not with your vegetables completely pasted. Add to the tomato in the bowl.
  • Add 2/3 of the olive oil in the tomato mix along with a full tablespoon of salt and pepper.
  • Add the rice to the mix and stir with a spoon.
  • Fill the tomatoes and peppers with the rice mix almost to the top and cover with their lids. Replace in the tin.
  • Salt and pepper the potatoes and slide then in the tin, in between the stuffed vegetables.
  • Pour the remainder of the olive oil over the vegetables.
  • Sprinkle everything with a bit of salt, pepper and oregano.
  • Pour a cup of water into the tin and place in the oven.
  • Cook for around 1 hour and 45 minutes, until rice is cooked and soft.
  • Mid-way through, when the tops of your vegetables turn brown, cover the tin with some foil so that they do not burn.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature with some feta or Greek yoghurt or tzatziki.

Notes

  • You can skip either the parsley or the mint but it’s best to add at least one of the herbs!

The kids love eating the rice filling and leaving the tomato and pepper skins. Worry not, these are the best leftovers for adults. Just stick on some toasted bread, they make the best Greek bruschetta!

If you prefer peppers to tomatoes, just make more peppers and add some tomato puree to your mixture rather than blended/crushed fresh tomatoe flesh.

Some people also like adding pine nuts in their gemista or even some sweetcorn but I feel this takes away from their delicious simplicity.

I know this may seem like a lot of food but trust me, we never have any left over. So if there is more than 3 of you just go with it!

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