There are countless yemista recipes with almost every household having its own variation. The art of preparing stuffed vegetables has a long tradition in most of the Mediterranean countries. This classic dish of summer vegetables stuffed with rice and mince is a favourite among Greek families and probably the most popular dish enjoyed. In this blog, we will provide you with a tasty yemista recipe that you can try at home by following just a few simple steps.
The Greek Deli is on hand to help you recreate this recipe for yourself. We encourage you to experiment with the stuffing, try different types of herbs and varying amounts of spices. As a tip, we suggest using extra seasonings as it does have a propensity for blandness so don’t be shy with using too much salt, garlic, herbs, or any other additional ingredient you would like to add in.
This beautiful dish is one of those that tastes even better when enjoyed the day after it has been made. It can also be eaten at room temperature along with a chilled glass of white wine which pairs very well.
Although we have made this yemista recipe quite simple, it can get slightly difficult when getting everything baked just right. We recommend precooking the rice so the rice is cooked halfway. This is to prevent the rice from undercooking when placed in the oven. If you do not pre-cook the rice, the stuffed peppers and tomatoes will become overly soft and mushy.
Take a look below at our yemista recipe and make sure to follow each step carefully.
- 8 tomatoes
- 4 green bell peppers
- 1–2 eggplants
- 5–6 potatoes, cut into wedges
- 2 red onions, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 zucchini, chopped
- 500g rice
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- parsley, chopped
- fresh mint, chopped
- Tomato paste 2 tbsps
- Sugar 2 tsps
- Butter 2 tbsps
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- olive oil
- 250 grams beef mince
- Wash all vegetables thoroughly. Cut off the top of the tomatoes and use a spoon to scoop the insides and keep it in a bowl. Slice off the top of the eggplants and remove the flesh, using a spoon. Cut the flesh of the eggplants in small cubes and set aside. Slice off the top of the peppers and remove the seeds and white parts from the inside. Place the empty vegetables on a large baking tray. Next, season the empty vegetables with a pinch of salt and sugar and add a little butter on the bottom of each one.
- In a blender add the flesh of the tomatoes, 5-6 tbsps olive oil, tomato paste, sugar, season with salt and pepper and mix to combine. Leave this to the side.
- Fry 250grams (8.8oz) of ground beef with the onions. Once the beef juices have been absorbed and the meat is done, chop the zucchini in small cubes, add in the saucepan and sauté for one more minute. At the end add the flesh of the eggplants (chopped) and the chopped garlic and sauté, until softened. Add the rice and continue sautéing, until it becomes translucent. Pour in 1 tin chopped tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. As soon as the liquid has been absorbed, the stuffing is ready. Remove the pan from the stove and stir in the fresh herbs.
Preparing the filling
- Spoon the filling inside the empty vegetables and place the potatoes, cut into pieces, in between the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper and pour the tomato juice over the vegetables and in the baking tray. Cover the vegetables with their lids and add 2-3 glasses of water.
- Cover the yemista with aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 60-75 minutes. Halfway through cooking time remove the aluminum foil and bake, until nicely coloured.
- The yemista are equally delicious, served either warm or even straight out of the fridge. Just pair them with some salty feta cheese and enjoy!
We hope you enjoy preparing your yemista following our recipe.
You can also find our Pre-made ready-cooked yemista available from the Greek Deil for the days that you just want a little time off from cooking.
The Greek Deli
The Greek Deli stocks artisanal products, including Greek juices, tsoureki, egg dyes, olive oils, wines, cheeses, and mezedes. In addition, ready meals (such as pastitsio and gemista), sweets (such as baklava and kourabiedes), and Greek coffee (Loumidis) can be found in our online shop. We even stock beloved Greek chocolates and cookies. Furthermore, brands such as Lacta, Ion, Sokofreta, and Gemista cookies, as well as an impressive selection of Greek wines. Gift boxes can be purchased and are available to be customized with your favorite products or pre-made. One box includes extra virgin olive oil, two bottles of wine, two jars of olive paste, roasted peppers, honey, chilies, and balsamic vinegar. Perfect for sending the best of Greek tastes to a distant beloved!).
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