BAKED VEGETABLE RECIPES
Greek Stuffed Peppers and Tomatoes - Yemista
Of all the Greek baked vegetable recipes, Stuffed Peppers and Tomatoes - Domates Yemistes is one of the most
popular dishes in Greece. Stuffed Tomatoes and peppers are one of those Greek recipes that brings back memories of summer in Greece.
Greeks always eat which ever vegetable is in season and in the summer you will find an abundance of colourful ripe capsicum and tomatoes. You will often find this baked vegetable recipes on many taverna menus, especially in the summer, when tomatoes are ripe and juicy.
It is one of my favorite baked traditional Greek recipes. Colourful bell-peppers and tasty tomatoes, filled with a stuffing of ground minced meat and rice. Plump sultanas and crunchy pine nuts adds flavour and texture to a meal that is ideal to serve to children, especially those who are fussy eaters and don't like plain old vegies!
They are a complete meal in themselves, with a supply of vegetable, rice and meat. I love to eat it with a couple of chunks of feta and plenty of crusty bread to dip in the tomato infused olive oil sauce!
The Greek word for this dish is Domates Yemistes or just Yemista - Gemista, which literally means stuffed! In the food sense, of course!
Stuffing vegetables is one of the many imaginative ways the Greeks have to include vegies in their everyday meals. Typical of the Mediteranean diet meals, its delicious and healthy!
Some stuffed and baked vegetable recipes will use a little minced meat, traditionally lamb, but these days you can use either ground beef or lamb.
For other variations you can omit the meat altogether making it a delicious baked vegetarian dish.
Try to find large even sized tomatoes and peppers, find ones with a flat bottom so they can sit upright in the tray. Use a variety of capsicum, red, yellow and green to add colour!
Baked vegetable recipes is one of those Greek dishes, like most olive oil based meals, that is best left for a while after cooking to cool slightly, have at room temperature, or even better - leave until the next day and reheat. The flavors the next day will intensify and set your taste buds alight!
Ingredients 4 peppers (capsicum), any colour
4 tomatoes, washed
2-3 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoon tomato puree
150ml / 1/4 pint hot water
80ml / 2.5 fl oz / 1/3 cup olive oil
For the Filling
5 tbspn vegetable oil for frying
1 large onion, finely chopped
350g / 11 oz minced beef or lamb
1 tspn ground cinnamon
2 tbspn parsley, finely chopped
freshly ground salt and pepper
150ml / 1/4 pint hot water
50g / 2 oz long grain rice
50g / 2 oz sultanas
50g / 2 oz pine nuts, lightly roasted
- If the peppers are very thick, you can drop them whole in a pot of boiling water for 2-3 minutes to soften. Drain.
- Slice the tops off the tomatoes and peppers, keeping them in one piece.
- These will be the caps on top of the stuffed vegetables. Put aside.
- Using a small spoon, scoop out and de-seed the peppers.
- Gently, scoop out the insides of the tomatoes, leaving a bit of pulp next to the skin.
- Sprinkle a quarter teaspoon sugar to the insides of the tomatoes to balance the acidity.
- Be careful not to go too thin, or cut the surface.
- Chop all the tomato pulp and along with all the juice, keep for adding to the stuffing.
- Fry the onion in the oil until golden.
- Add the mincemeat and cinnamon and fry until brown.
- Make sure you break up any clumps of meat.
- Separate the tomato pulp from the juice and add the tomato pulp to the meat, along with salt and pepper.
- Fry for 5 minutes to soften.
- Add parsley, tomato juice and hot water.
- Simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add the rice, sultanas and pine nuts and mix through the mixture.
- Cook for another 10 minutes.
- Peel the potatoes and cut into quarters.
- Prepare a small baking tray, drizzle a lit olive oil over the bottom, then place the peppers and tomatoes upright in the tray.
- Stir the stuffing mixture so the rice etc is evenly mixed through.
- Fill the peppers and tomatoes with the stuffing, to just below the top of each vegetable to allow room for the filling to fluff up.
- Place the reserved tops back on top of each vegetable.
- Place the quartered potatoes between the tomatoes and peppers to help keep them in position.
- Mix the diluted tomato puree with the water and oil and pour over the vegetables.
- Cover the baking tray with foil.
- Bake in a preheated oven, 190C, 375F, gas 5 for about 1 hours and 15 minutes.
- Check that the shells are soft and the rice filling is cooked.
- You can turn the temperature down and roast for longer to help infuse the flavours.
- You may need to baste the vegetables once or twice during cooking so they do not dry out.
Serve baked vegetable recipes with a light crispy green lettuce salad, plenty of fresh crusty bread and chunks of feta!
Greeks don't tend to eat baked vegetable recipes, such as this one, piping hot from the oven. Instead they cover them and let them sit for a while, which helps the flavours mingle and intensify and then serve at room temperature. They do taste better once they have been left awhile, you can even have them the next day - they taste even better!
Purely your preference!
You can also stuff potatoes if you wish. Peel them, then cut a slice off the top for the cap. Microwave for about 5 minutes, cool, then scoop out the insides to create a potato shell. Stuff the potatoes following the baked vegetable recipes above.
I have tried to keep the amount of oil low for todays standards, although the traditional Greek recipes would
probably have 1/2 - 3/4 cup of olive oil poured over the vegetables at the end. Traditionally they only used green peppers, but I love the colour when using different colored peppers!
Kali Orexi - Bon Appetit
There are many traditional Greek recipes that use stuffing, check out these popular dishes!
Stuffed Eggplant and Zucchini - Papoutsakia
Dolmades - Stuffed Vine Leaves
Grilled Squid Stuffed with Feta Cheese
Stuffed Calamari - Kalamaria Yemista
Have a browse through our Greek Meat Recipes
Return from Baked Vegetable Recipes for more delicious Easy Vegetable Recipes