“Gemista” means stuffed vegetables. This is one of the most popular Greek vegetarian summer dishes. They are one of my favourite dishes, as it is a combination of so many tastes and aromas. Vegetables, oil, rice, potatoes, parsley and mint are mingled in our palate and all the seet juice from the fresh, ripe tomatoes and raisins should be mopped off the plate with fresh, hot bread.
This dish traditionally uses tomatoes as well as bells peppers but aubergines (eggplants) and courgettes (zucchini) can also be stuffed.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Very high in vitamin C
Calories per each vegetable: 170
Note: Most of the calories are in the olive oil, which at the end most of it stays in the pan.
Serves: 3 – 4
- 4 large tomatoes, about 250 grams (8.8 oz) each
- 3 large green bell peppers
- 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup olive oil, divided
- 150 grams (5.2 oz) carolina rice, nychaki or other medium grained, non aromatic rice
- ½ cup white dry wine
- ½ cup finely chopped parsley
- 3 tablespoons crumbled dried mint
- 2 tablespoons raisins
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 medium potatoes
- Salt, freshly ground black pepper and oregano
- Wash rinse and drain the vegetables. Cut off their tops.
- With a teaspoon, scoop out the flesh of the tomatoes into a food processor and then blend them. Do not scoop too close to the skin as it might break.
- Remove the seeds and veins from the peppers and wash inside to remove any seeds.
- Put the tomatoes and peppers in a baking dish and sprinkle some salt inside their cavity.
- Heat a few tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick sautéing pan and sauté the onions until translucent. Add the garlic and stir a couple of times until fragrant before adding the rice. Stir well to ensure rice is well coated with the olive oil.
- Add wine and mix for a couple of minutes until the alcohol evaporates. Season with salt and pepper and add the mint and raisins.
- Add 1/3 of the blended tomatoes, lower heat and mix for five minutes stirring occasionally.
- Remove from the heat and mix in the parsley.
- Fill in the vegetables by ¾ full, leaving space for the uncooked rice to expand. Add remaining 1/3 of blended tomato over rice and cover the tomatoes and peppers with their lid.
- Cut the potatoes lengthwise into halves and cut each half into thin wedges about 2 ½ cm (1”) thick. Season with salt, pepper and oregano.
- Add the potatoes in the gaps between the vegetables.
- Add the remaining olive oil and the remaining blended tomatoes. (No water should be added).
- Preheat oven to 180o C (350o F).
- Bake for about one hour to one hour and thirty minutes, depending on oven performance. Half way through, baste the vegetables in order to keep them moist on the top and turn the potatoes over when golden on one side.
- Continue baking until potatoes are soft and golden.
Note: If you have leftover rice, just add it in the baking tin.
As we are not using too much olive oil, the potatoes may stick to the baking tin. If they do, add half cup of water and turn off the heat. Wait for 5 – 10 minutes and they will come out easier. Serve slightly warm at room temperature and accompany with feta cheese.
This and many more meatless recipes are included in my e-cookbook “More than A Greek Salad”, available at all Amazon stores.