Yemista/Gemista

This recipe comes from Greece. The word yemista/gemista means stuffed in Greek, and there are various combinations of vegetables used for this oven-baked dish. Yemista is often stuffed with minced meat and rice, but the vegetarian version is just as common. Kalí óreksi!

Serves 4-6 stuffed vegetables

What you need:

2 1/2 bell peppers
2 tomatoes
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1 1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 cup spinach
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp basil
1 cup water
2 cups short-grain rice
1 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F). Carefully remove the tops of two peppers and two tomatoes (or more depending on how many you make) using a sharp knife. Remove the seeds from the peppers and scoop out the insides of the tomatoes with a teaspoon. Put the tops of the vegetables and the insides of the tomatoes to the side. Chop up the other half of the bell pepper to use in the rice.

In a medium frying pan, sauté the onion and garlic in the 1/2 cup olive oil until the onions are translucent. Add the other half of diced bell pepper, mushrooms, and tomato insides. Sauté for another 7 minutes. Add the spinach, rice, 1 cup water, spices, and salt. Let boil, stirring occasionally, for another 5 minutes.

Fill the hollowed out peppers and tomatoes with the rice mixture 3/4 of the way full to allow room for the rice to expand when cooked. Place the tops of the vegetables back on and set stuffed vegetables in a baking pan. Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil and salt and bake for 1 1/2 hours.

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