Classic Greek Gemista: Stuffed Tomatoes And Peppers With Meat And Rice

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Yemista, also known as stuffed peppers, is a delightful and hearty dish native to Greece and popular throughout the Mediterranean. These colorful bell peppers are filled with a savory mixture of seasoned ground meat, fluffy rice, aromatic herbs, and tangy tomatoes, creating a satisfying and flavorful meal.

This guide will take you through everything you need to know to create the perfect Yemista, from selecting the right ingredients to achieving the ideal texture and taste. So, grab your peppers, gather your spices, and get ready to experience a taste of the Mediterranean!

The Best Authentic Greek Stuffed Tomatoes and Peppers-Gemista
The Best Authentic Greek Stuffed Tomatoes and Peppers-Gemista


6 large bell peppers (red, yellow, or orange)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef (or lamb)
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice, rinsed
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • Instructions:

    1. Prepare the Peppers: Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Wash the bell peppers and carefully remove the tops with a sharp knife. Gently remove the seeds and white membranes from the insides without tearing the flesh. Rinse the peppers once more and pat them dry with paper towels.

    2. Sauté the Aromatics: In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute, allowing the fragrance to develop.

    3. Brown the Meat: Increase the heat to medium-high and add the ground meat to the pan. Season generously with salt and pepper. Using a spatula, break up the meat and cook until browned throughout.

    4. Combine the Filling: Drain any excess fat from the pan. Add the rinsed rice, diced tomatoes with their juices, beef broth, chopped parsley, mint, oregano, and thyme to the browned meat mixture. Stir well to combine all the ingredients. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

    5. Stuff the Peppers: Carefully spoon the filling mixture into the prepared bell peppers, ensuring they are evenly filled but not overflowing.

    6. Bake the Yemista: Place the stuffed peppers upright in a baking dish. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes, then remove the foil and continue baking for an additional 20-25 minutes, or until the peppers are tender and the rice is cooked through.

    7. Serve and Enjoy: Remove the Yemista from the oven and let them cool slightly before serving. Enjoy them warm, with a dollop of plain yogurt or your favorite dipping sauce on the side.

    Nutrition Facts (per serving)

    This recipe yields approximately 6 servings. Please note that these are just estimates, and the exact nutritional values will vary depending on the specific ingredients you use.

    Calories: 450-500

  • Fat: 20-25g
  • Saturated Fat: 8-10g
  • Carbohydrates: 40-45g
  • Fiber: 5-7g
  • Protein: 30-35g

  • Conclusion

    Yemista is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed as a main course or a hearty side dish. It’s a great way to incorporate colorful vegetables into your meals and provides a satisfying combination of protein, carbohydrates, and flavor. With its ease of preparation and delicious results, Yemista is sure to become a favorite in your kitchen.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1. Can I use different types of rice for the filling?

    Absolutely! While long-grain white rice is traditional, you can experiment with other types such as brown rice, basmati rice, or quinoa. Keep in mind that cooking times may vary depending on the chosen rice variety.

    2. What are some vegetarian alternatives to the meat filling?

    For a vegetarian twist, consider replacing the ground meat with lentils, crumbled tofu, or a combination of chopped vegetables like mushrooms, zucchini, and eggplant. Season the vegetarian filling generously with herbs and spices to create a flavorful profile.

    3. How can I adjust the spice level of the Yemista?

    This recipe offers a mild spice level. If you prefer a spicier dish, add a pinch of red pepper flakes or chopped chili pepper to the filling when sautéing the aromatics.