Looking for a flavorful meal that won’t weigh you down? Try my gemista recipe! Bell peppers and tomatoes are filled with more veggies, arborio rice, and plenty of herbs and spices. It’s a Greek recipe you’ll want to whip up for dinner tonight!
Some of my favorite types of Mediterranean recipes come out of Greece. Dishes like this lemon rice, this shrimp saganaki, and these zucchini fritters are all staples in my house. I seriously can’t get enough of them!
Today’s Greek dish is called gemista, or Greek stuffed peppers and tomatoes served with potatoes. It only takes 15 minutes of prep work to make. Then sit back, relax, and soak in the yummy aromas of baked vegetables as they slow cook for nearly 2 hours. You’ll love the way your kitchen smells — and the flavor of the end result!
Cuisine: Mediterranean / Greek
In addition to the use of olive oil, Greek cuisine incorporates plenty of fresh herbs and healthy vegetables, including potatoes.
Potato wedges are included in this gemista recipe, and you can also find them featured in a skordalia recipe, which is a delicious dip made with garlic and potatoes.
Alternate names/spellings: yemista, γεμιστά
Course: Main dish
Difficulty: Medium 🥄 🥄
Stuffed vegetables (in this case, tomatoes and peppers) with a filling of rice, vegetables, golden raisins and pine nuts, baked with potato wedges in olive oil-based tomato sauce.
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Tomatoes – Make sure you use large tomatoes for this recipe, such as beefsteak.
- Bell Peppers – I like using green bell peppers as it adds even more color to the dish.
- Onion – Use a large red onion.
- Garlic – For added savory goodness and flavor.
- Eggplant & Zucchini – The peppers and tomatoes aren’t the only veggies in this dish! You’ll use these ingredients in the filling.
- Olive Oil – Don’t skip it — or replace it with another cooking oil. This is one ingredient that shouldn’t be substituted with anything else.
- Potatoes – I like using Yukon Gold for this dish, but you can also feel free to use whatever type of potatoes you have at home.
- Rice – Use arborio rice for the best results.
- Tomato Paste – To add to the potatoes for even more tomato flavor.
- Stock – If you want to keep this dish vegetarian-friendly, use vegetable stock.
- Water – You need 1 cup of warm water to create a simple tomato sauce for the potatoes to cook in.
- Pine Nuts – For a bit of added nuttiness and sweetness.
- Raisins – This slightly unexpected ingredient adds much to the flavor profile of this dish. Opt for golden raisins.
- Oregano – Earthy and warm, oregano is another Mediterranean staple.
- Salt & Pepper – To taste! Use as needed.
- Mint & Parsley – Use fresh for the filling.
Choose peppers that have a nice piece of stem intact. The stem serves as a handle for lifting the top “lid” off of the stuffed peppers.
HOW TO MAKE GEMISTA (GREEK STUFFED PEPPERS)
1. Prepare The Vegetables. Cut off ½-inch portions from the tops of the tomatoes and bell peppers. These pieces will serve as the lid for your vegetables — don’t throw them away, and try to keep the stem intact. Carefully scoop out the insides of the tomatoes and peppers. Toss the insides of the peppers and place the tomato pulp in a food processor. Add your red onion and garlic to the pulp, then purée and set aside.
2. Create The Filling. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat for about a minute. Add the tomato, onion, and garlic mixture and cook for 3 minutes. Next, add the tomato paste, eggplant, zucchini, oregano, salt, and pepper. Cook for another 3 minutes, then stir in the rice, stock, pine nuts, and raisins. Turn the heat to low and cook for 8 minutes. Once it’s done, turn off the heat and add the mint and parsley, plus a bit of salt and pepper to taste.
3. Stuff The Peppers & Tomatoes. Fill the tomatoes and bell peppers to the brim with the filling and place the “lids” on top. Coat a large roasting pan with oil and cooking spray and put the vegetables inside. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
4. Bake. Place the cut potatoes around the stuffed peppers and tomatoes. Mix together the warm water, olive oil, and tomato paste in a small bowl, then pour it over the vegetables and potatoes. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove the foil and bake uncovered for another 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender.
Can You Freeze Gemista?
If you have any leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge. If you’d like to make a double batch to save for later, you can do so as well! Wait for the dish to fully cool, then place it in an airtight, freezer-safe container. It will keep for up to 3 months.
How Do You Reheat Gemista?
Your best bet for reheating gemista is to do so in your oven. Preheat it to 350° F and place your stuffed tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes in a baking dish with about a cup of water. This helps to make sure that they don’t dry out. Heat until warmed through, or about 15-20 minutes. If working from frozen, make sure to let it thaw in the fridge overnight for the best results.
What Goes Good With Gemista?
This meal is quite filling on its own, but if you’re looking to add a few extras I recommend that you garnish your Greek-inspired meal with crumbled feta cheese and serve it with salad, authentic tzatziki, and homemade pita on the side.
This post, originally published on Silk Road Recipes September, 2021, was updated with new content, photos and/or video in August, 2022.
Gemista (Greek Stuffed Peppers)
- 3 beefsteak tomatoes
- 3 green bell peppers
- 1 large red onion quartered
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 eggplant peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 zucchini cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 tso dried oregano
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- 2 tbsp golden raisins
- 3 tbsp fresh mint minced
- 3 tbsp fresh parsley minced
- Cut 1/2 an inch from top of the tomatoes and bell peppers to create a lid, being careful to keep stem intact. Set aside.
- For the tomatoes: use a sharp paring knife and cut around the inside at the sides. Next cut a "X" into the center, being careful not to cut sides or bottom. Use a spoon and scoop out the tomato pulp and place in a bowl. Repeat with remaining.
- For the bell peppers: clean the inside membranes and seeds and discard.
- In a food processor puree the tomato pulp, red onion and garlic.
- In a large skillet over medium heat add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. After a minute pour in the tomato onion puree. Cook 3 minutes. Add the 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and the cubed eggplant, zucchini, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook for 3 minutes and stir in the rice, chicken stock, pine nuts and golden raisins. Cook for 8 minutes on low. Turn off heat and stir through the fresh mint and parsley. Season to taste.
- Divide the filling into each of the prepared vegetables up to the top. Place each cut lid on top of filling. Transfer to a large roasting pan coated with oil or cooking spray.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. In a measuring bowl mix together the warm water, oil and tomato paste.
- Scatter the cut potatoes around the stuffed vegetables and pour the water, oil, and tomato paste mixture over and around all. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove foil and continue to bake another 30 minutes. Potatoes should be fork tender.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.