Gemista: a greek recipe for stuffed tomatoes and bell peppers

Main Dish
4 servings
20 min
90 min
This is one of the most popular Greek dishes. Gemista (or Yemista), are stuffed vegetables; This is actually what the word means (from "gemizo", meaning "stuffing"). The most common version of this delicious recipe, includes two summer vegetables: stuffed tomatoes and green bell peppers. Other vegetables that are frequently used, are the zucchinis and the eggplants. It is also common to add wedged potatoes in any baking pan full of gemista.


Number of serving: 4
4 tomatoes (about 1kg / 35oz) *

4 green bell peppers (about 600gr / 21oz)

1 large onion (160gr / 5.6oz), sliced

1/2 small eggplant (80 90gr / 2.8oz), skin removed, cut in cubes

2 potatoes (250gr / 8.8oz), cut in wedges

8 tablespoons medium/short grain rice per vegetable(100gr / 3.5oz), raw **

2 garlic cloves, minced (optional)

1/4 bunch of parsley (15gr / 0.5oz)

7 spearmint leaves

1/3 cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil for the stuffing

3/4 cup (180ml) extra virgin olive oil for the baking


  • Step 1 - Gemista: A Greek recipe for stuffed tomatoes and bell peppers
    We wash and cut the tops of the tomatoes, creating a kind of "lid" that will be used when we 'll put them in the oven in the next steps. We make sure that we keep each top and each tomato close, so that we have our pairs ready for stuffing.

    When the top is removed, we use a sharp teaspoon and carefully remove the flesh from inside of eavh tomato and put it in a large bowl.
  • Be careful not to tear the skin of the tomato when removing the flesh. We need to keep the external layer of the tomato intact (a bit less than 1cm / 0.3-0.4 inch thickness). We sprinkle a few pinches of salt and sugar inside each empty tomato.

    We turn the tomatoes upside down (the open side -the one with the hole- facing down) and let them drain from its' juices inside a medium-large baking pan (just choose one where the vegetables fit nicely).
  • As we have left the tomatoes to drain, we move on to the peppers and cut their tops as well. We wash them inside to remove any seeds. We also cut off and discard the seeds from tops ("lids").

    Keep each top again, close to each corresponding pepper.
  • We empty the bowl with the tomato flesh in a food processor and add the eggplant, the onion, the spearmint and the parsley. We give it a couple of bursts (about 1 second each) as we do not want to grate the materials into a pulp. We just want a rough grating.
  • Step 5 - Gemista: A Greek recipe for stuffed tomatoes and bell peppers
    We empty the food processor back in the bowl, and add the olive oil, the garlic(if we like it) and the rice. We stir well and add salt and pepper.

    We add less salt if we 'll serve the gemista with feta cheese. If we are vegans, we add more salt, as we will not have cheese.
  • Step 6 - Gemista: A Greek recipe for stuffed tomatoes and bell peppers
    We turn the tomatoes with the hole side up, and add the peppers in the baking pan as well. Using a tablespoon we fill each vegetable with the mixture from our bowl.

    We do not fill the vegetables all the way up. We leave about 1cm (0.4inch) from the top, as the stuffing will increase in volume during baking.
  • Step 7 - Gemista: A Greek recipe for stuffed tomatoes and bell peppers
    We put the tops of the tomatoes and the peppers back on, add the potatoes, pour the olive oil on top of all of our vegetables, sprinkle with salt and put the baking pan into the oven, in the middle rack.

    We bake for 1hour and 30 minutes in 200 degrees Celsius (390 Fahrenheit), until our potatoes are cooked through. The potatoes take longer to cook, so when they are baked nicely, the rest of the food is ready as well.

    Serve with fresh bread. If we are not vegan, we can also serve some feta on the side. Kali oreksi!


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