Stuffed Tomatoes and Peppers (Gemista)

Gemista means ‘filled’: this can be anything fro stuffed tomatoes and peppers to stuffed grape leaves, or even sweet dishes. This is not a regional recipe; gemista is found in all of Greece. The types of filling can vary between regions, however. Rice is a common main ingredient, minced beef is often added, and various herbs and spices are used for flavour– all in all, it is a delicious Greek dish.

4 large, ripe tomatoes,

4 large green peppers

6 T olive oil

1 onion, chopped fine

4 sprigs fresh mint, chopped, or 2 t dried mint leaves

300 g round rice

300 ml warm water

salt and pepper

opt: one or two potatoes


Preheat oven to 200 °C.

Cut off the tops of the tomatoes and set aside. Scoop out the insides with a spoon, taking care not to damage the sides. Cut out the tops of the peppers, set them aside and scoop out the seeds. Place the tomatoes and peppers in a large baking dish.

Chop the tomato pulp fine.

Heat 4 T olive oil in a frying pan. Brown the onion, then add the tomato pulp and mint and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook another few minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and remove from the heat. Spoon the rice mixture into the hollow vegetables, filling each about half full. The rice needs space to expand as it cooks. Place the tops on the vegetables. If wished, place pieces of peeled and chopped potatoes in between the peppers and tomatoes, and salt the potatoes lightly. Drizzle the remaining oil, and the warm water over the vegetables,

Place the dish in the oven and bake about 1 hour. The vegetables should then be browned, but not too dark. Allow to stand for 15-30 minutes before serving. Greeks also love to eat this dish cold, for example the next day.