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Greek Yemista ( Stuffed Vegetables)

Published on 30.04.2018 under Mediterranean Recipes



Greek Yemista means Fresh Vegetables stuffed with rice and herbs, baked in the oven. It is a traditional greek plate, easy to make and easier to eat! Enjoy it warm or in room temperature. Combine it with beer, ouzo, raki or wine. Serve it as a main course or side dish.



The recipe below is my grandmother's, no hidden surprises in it and it guarantees a great result!


Ingredients ( 4-6 portions):


Vegetables for stuffing:


3 onions ( average to large size, firm )

6 tomatoes ( average size, firm and with no defects)

3 green bell peppers ( or red/orange/yellow)


Potatoes as side:


500 g potatoes, chopped in square pieces or baby potatoes cut in the middle.

2 tablespoons of olive oil, for the pan

salt pepper


For filling


4 tablespoons olive oil, for sautéing vegetables

1 carrot, finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

350 g Arborio rice (glutinous rice)

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 water glass with homemade freshly made tomato juice.

400ml approx water for pan

1 bunch parsley, finely chopped

1/3 bunch dill, finely chopped

1 bunch fresh mint, finely chopped

extra virgin Greek olive oil

generous amount of salt

generous amount of freshly ground pepper


AND: 1 cup of ready toast bread powder ( you may also use trimmed rusks )





Preheat oven to 180*C (350*F) Fan.


For the potatoes


Boil them for 5 minutes, dry them well.
Place a pan over high heat and let it get very hot.
Wash and scrub the potatoes. Leave the skin on since it adds a lot of flavor.
Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and add the potatoes.
Season with salt and pepper and sauté for 4-5 minutes, just until golden. Spread them in your baking dish.


For the vegetables


Slice off the top of 3 onions.
Scoop out most of the inner layers leaving about 3-4 outer layers intact, creating a sturdy shell.
Place them in the baking dish with the baby potatoes.
Finely chop all of the inner layers you removed. Put them in a bowl and set aside until needed.
Slice off the bottom side of the tomatoes with a sharp knife, cutting about ½ - 1 mm from the edge. This way they can hold more of the filling.
Carefully scoop out the flesh, making sure you do not rip the outer shell.
Put the flesh in a separate bowl and set aside until needed.
Place the tomato shells in the baking dish stem side down, arranging them nicely in the dish.
Mash the tomato flesh in the bowl with your hands and set aside until needed.
Slice the tops off of the bell peppers, cutting about ½ - 1 mm under the stem and just a little off the bottom to help them stand better.
Remove any flesh and seeds and arrange them nicely in the baking dish among the rest of the vegetables and potatoes.



For the filling


Place a pan over high heat and add 4 tablespoons olive oil.
Add your chopped onion and sauté.
Thinly slice the garlic and add it to the pan. Sauté.
Add 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar. Mix and sauté until the vegetables caramelize nicely.
Add a generous amount of salt and freshly ground pepper, since you will be adding the rice also and it needs a good amount of seasoning.
Add the rice and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until it turns light golden.
Sautéing the rice “seals” it, so it doesn’t let it get mushy when cooking.
Add the tomato paste and sauté.
Add the 400 ml of water and the reserved tomato flesh. Let it simmer for 5 minutes.
Stir and remove from heat. The rest of the cooking will take place in the oven.
Finely chop the parsley, dill and mint leaves and add them to the pan. Stir.
Drizzle vegetables in pan with a generous amount of olive oil, both inside and out and season with salt and pepper.


To assemble


Use a spoon to help you add the filling to the vegetables. Fill them ¾ of the way because the rice will expand while cooking.
Add any of the leftover filling over the potatoes to add even more flavor.
Add the tomato juice to the pan and drizzle with olive oil.
Sprinkle with the powdered toast bread or rusks.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 60 minutes.
Remove foil and bake for another 10-20 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the stuffed vegetables are cooked and golden.
To serve, drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil, if you wish.

Enjoy !



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