Gemista (or yemista – γεμιστα) – stuffed vegetables – is a traditional Greek recipe that is the perfect summer dish, using in-season vegetables. The tomatoes are from my garden – can’t get any fresher than that!
My mom shared her recipe with me, and now I’m sharing with you! Some Greek cooks add ground beef, or feta, but I prefer this simple vegetarian version.
3 zucchini, cut in half
For the filling:
1 large onion, finely chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 red pepper, finely chopped
3 tablespoons tomato puree (or sauce)
2 tbsp sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cups rice – I use parbroiled rice
Cut the tops of the tomato and peppers and set aside. Scoop out inside of tomatoes and set aside in a bowl. Strain the tomato juice in a separate bowl, and chop the tomato chunks.
Scoop the insides of the eggplant and zucchini, and chop into small chunks, or add to a food processor and set aside. Tip – use knife at first to loosen, then use a spoon to scoop.
In a pan over medium heat, add ½ cup olive oil. Add chopped onion for a few minutes until soft, and add garlic to soften for a minute.
Then, add all chopped vegetables, parsley to cook for a few minutes. Add chopped tomatoes with tomato juice, and tomato puree. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 5-7 minutes until soft. Let cool.
Rinse 1 ½ cups parbroiled rice. Stir rice into veggie mixture until well blended. Fill the vegetables with the rice mixture until full, using a spoon.
Cut 4-5 small potatoes into fours. Add to a large roasting pan in between the stuffed vegetables.
Once vegetables are filled and tops placed back, sprinkle olive oil over the stuffed vegetables, and season with salt and pepper.
Bake at 350 degrees with lid on for the first hour. Then take off lid for remaining time – about another ½ hour to 1 hour.