Gemista Recipe (Greek Stuffed Tomatoes and peppers with rice)

Gemista RecipeJust few weeks ago, fortunately (thanks to my loving Husband), I got a chance to explore the most beautiful Greek island Santorini. Famous for its infrastructure, I found that island amazingly beautiful and offered some best option in terms of food.

Normally in Europe, being vegetarian I get less options of having some great vegetarian food. However, this greek island offered me some great dishes. Some of the most common dishes which one can find in every Greek restaurant are Greek salad with feta cheese, Fava and Gemista.

I tried all the three (feta cheese, fava and gemista) and liked Gemista very much. I had gemista in two different restaurants and both were superb!

What is gemista

Gemista or also called “Yemista“, which in Greek means ‘filled with’ is juicy, healthy, bursting with fresh and vibrant colours and flavours, is a traditional recipe for Greek stuffed Bell peppers, tomatoes and other vegetables which can be stuffed and baked until soft and nicely browned. 

The traditional Greek recipe for Gemista can be either vegetarian or non vegetarian depending upon your choice of food.  

Gemista recipe - bellpepper-rice-tomato | YourFoodFantasy.com
Gemista Recipe | Your Food Fantasy

Filling for gemista

In Vegetarian version of Gemistafilling of gemista is made with rice, chopped vegetables and baked in a tomato based sauce

In the non-vegetarian (meat) version of Gemista, minced meat (mostly beef) is used as stuffing. There are countless versions of Gemista around Greece and every household has  got its own recipe for it.

gemista recipe | greek food | yourfoodfantasy.com

I will call Gemista as spectacular greek style risotto, and I was keen to learn more about Gemista.

People in Santorini are nice and helpful. Knowing my desire to learn authentic gemista recipe chefs from both restaurants gave me the recipe without any hesitation. Recipes by both chef, were similar.

Gemista recipe | yemista recipe
Yemista/ Gemista

Here in this gemista recipe I have followed Greek chef’s advice on core cooking, however have added few tips from my own style of cooking, such as, using less oil and spices. 

How to make best Gemsita

  • As the peppers are not as juicy as the tomatoes the stuffing of the peppers always comes out a little dry. To avoid that, spoon some extra tomato juice over the peppers and they will become just amazing.
  • Preheat the oven and cover gemista with aluminium foil. Covering with foil allows steam to cook the rice and the vegetables to soften, without them ending up being burnt. However, remove the foil in last 30 mins for gemista to get nice colors.
  • Peppers are not as juicy as the tomatoes the stuffing of the peppers always comes out a little dry. To avoid that, spoon some extra tomato juice over the peppers and they will taste amazing.
  • Use Olive oil for best results.
  • Always use fresh bell peppers and tomoatoes.
Gemista recipe | YourFoodFantasy | Meenu Gupta
Yemista Recipe / Gemista Recipe

If you are a vegetarian like me and like risotto, you may like to try this veg risotto too.

Gemista recipe - Greek food recipe | Your Food Fantasy

Gemista recipe (Greek Stuffed Tomatoes and Peppers with rice)

Meenu Gupta
Traditional Greek Gemista or Yemista recipe – Stuffed peppers and tomatoes with rice
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Main Course
Cuisine Greek Cuisine
Servings 3
Calories 840 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 200 Grams Risotto Rice
  • 3 Tomatoes Big Size
  • 3 Bell Peppers
  • 1 Aubergine Medium Size
  • 4 Potatoes Medium Size
  • 2 Red Onions Finely Chopped
  • 2 Garlic Cloves Finely Chopped
  • 1 Zucchini
  • 2 Tbsp Tomato Purée
  • 2 Tsp Sugar
  • 2 Tsp Salt As per taste
  • 2 Tsp Black pepper powder
  • 3 Tomatoes Medium Size (Chopped)
  • 1 Tbsp Butter
  • 10 Grams Parsley
  • 10 Grams Fresh Mint Leaves
  • 4 Tbsp Oil Ideally Olive Oil

Instructions
 

  • First of all, wash thoroughly all the vegetables. Soak rice in 2 cups of water. Chop the potatoes into wedges and dip them in cold water with a pinch of salt.
    Gemista Recipe | Your Food Fantasy
  • Now slice off the top of the tomatoes; using a spoon remove the flesh of the tomatoes and keep it in a bowl. (The flesh of the tomatoes will be the base for the tomato sauce for the Gemista.) Similarly slice off the top of the peppers and remove the seeds and white parts from the inside. 
    Bellpepper and Tomato for Gemista Recipe
  • Place the empty vegetables on a large baking tray. Try to leave the vegetables as thin as possible, leaving just a little of the flesh, but be careful not to poke through their skin. Season the empty vegetables with a pinch of salt and sugar and add a little butter on the bottom of each one.
  • Cut the eggplant and zucchini in small cubes. Finely chop the garlic cloves and set aside, as we will use them later for the filling of the Gemista.
  • In a blender add the flesh of the tomatoes, 2 tbsps olive oil, the tomato puree, sugar, one teaspoon  salt and pepper and mix to combine. Keep this aside, will use this as sauce for Gemista.
    Preparing tomato puree for gemista recipe
  • In a saucepan add one tablespoon of oil and sauté the onions, until translucent. Now add zucchini  in the saucepan and sauté for one more minute. Now add chopped eggplant and chopped garlic and sauté, until softened. Add the rice and continue sautéing, until  it becomes translucent. Pour in chopped tomatoes  and add 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and mix well.  As soon the liquid evaporates, the stuffing is ready. Add chopped mint and parsley and remove the pan from the stove. 
    Rice filling for gemista | yourfoodfantasy.com
  • Now lets do the final step of assembling the Gemista. Fill the stuffing inside the empty vegetables and place the potatoes wedges, in between the vegetables. Season with one teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and pour the tomato juice (sauce) over the vegetables and in the baking tray.
    Gemista Recipe - Greek food - Yemista | Gemista | YourFoodFantasy.com
  • Cover the vegetables with their lids and add 1 glass of water. 
    How to make Gemista | Your Food Fantasy
  • Cover the Gemista with aluminium foil and bake in preheated oven at 180 degrees for 30 minutes. Then remove the aluminium foil and bake for more 30-35 minutes, until nicely coloured.
    Baking Gemista in oven - Gemista Recipe | Your Food Fantasy
  • Garnish this with some mint leaves and cubed feta cheese and enjoy this greek delicacy in the privacy of your own home.
    Gemista Recipe - How to make Yemista | Your Food Fantasy

Notes

  1. You can use other vegetables like Eggplants and Zuccini too for stuffing. For this simply repeat the same process of cutting the top and scooping out the flesh. This flesh can then be used in preparing the stuffing and you can use the empty vegetables to fill the filling and make Gemista.
  2. This traditional Greek recipe for Gemista comes under the category of Greek dishes called “Ladera”, which means Greek dishes prepared with olive oil. So make sure to use some good quality olive oil, which will surely enhance the flavour! 
  3. As the peppers are not as juicy as the tomatoes the stuffing of the peppers always comes out a little dry. To avoid that, spoon some extra tomato juice over the peppers and they will become just amazing.
  4. When cooking the Gemista, make sure to cover them with aluminium foil as the steam allows the rice to cook and the vegetables to soften without them ending up being burnt. 

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Gemista recipe (Greek Stuffed Tomatoes and Peppers with rice)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 840 Calories from Fat 225
% Daily Value*
Fat 25g38%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 10mg3%
Sodium 1635mg71%
Potassium 2788mg80%
Carbohydrates 143g48%
Fiber 21g88%
Sugar 27g30%
Protein 17g34%
Vitamin A 6482IU130%
Vitamin C 270mg327%
Calcium 125mg13%
Iron 11mg61%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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