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Greek stuffed veggies (also known as Yemista or Gemista)

Updated: Jan 10

Prep time: 10-20 min

Serves :10

Cook time: 20 -30 min for rice filling

Bake time: 30-40 min or steam for 20 min


  • 5 peppers ( red, yellow or orange bell)

  • 5 large tomatoes vegetables ( hothouse or similar)

  • 1/2 cup mince or ground meat ( veal, beef, pork, turkey or combination)

  • 1.5 cups white rice

  • 2.5 cups water

  • 1/3 cup olive oil

  • 1 cup fresh chopped tomatoes or canned chopped tomatoes

  • 1 large onion

  • 1 tbsp tomato paste

  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika

  • 1/2 tsp black ground pepper

  • 1/2 tsp coriander

  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp sugar

  • 5-6 sprigs fresh parsley

  • 1/2 to one cup chicken stock or vegetablestock (optional)

  • Root vegetables such as carrots, potatoes so forth. (Optional)


Gemista filling:

  • Make sure to wash your tomatoes and peppers.

  • Slice off the upper portions of the peppers and tomatoes and keep the tops! Set aside.

  • Remove the center of the peppers including the seeds to leave a cavity to fill with rice and minced meat.

  • Remove the seeds and center of the tomatoes gently with a spoon to leave a tomato bowl to fill. Keep the portion of the tomato removed from the center.

  • Slice the onion finely.

  • Chop fresh parsley finely.

  • Pour olive oil on a frying pan and sauté the onions for 2-3 minutes or until they caramelise.

  • Season with paprika, ground black pepper, coriander and stir until the spices are evenly incorporated.

  • Continue adding the rice and stir until all the rice is covered with oil .

  • Add mince or ground meat.

  • Break the mince meat with the help of fork into small pieces and mix with the onions and spices. Add tomatoes, tomatoe centers, tomato paste, sugar, salt and stir.

  • Once the combination of meat, rice and tomato has cooked for a few minutes, add 1/4 cup of hot water or broth.

  • Once water or broth is absorbed ,add 1/4 cup more until the rice is half cooked.

  • Add the chopped fresh parsley and cook for 1-2 minutes more.

  • The filling will cook further in the oven, steamer or pot.

  • IF you are using arborio rice, cooking time is less.

  • Fill up the peppers and tomatoes (or other seasonal vegetables) with the use of a spoon and cover them with their 'lids'.

  • Pour 1 cup of water in a baking dish and place the stuffed vegetables in.

  • At this point you can add root veggies in cuts or chunks in the baking dish if you desire since they will cook along side the peppers and tomatoes and absorb some of the yummy flavors.

  • On the middle rack bake Gemista/ Yemista at 375F for 35-40 minutes in the middle rack of the oven.

  • Place the stuffed vegetables in the steam cooker and steam away. Steam for approximately 15-20 minutes for peppers and 10-15 minutes for tomatoes.

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