Question. What is Gemista?
Answer. Gemista is a greek dish that usually consists of stuffing tomatoes, green peppers, red peppers, zucchini and eggplants. Potatoes are also included in the dish. Gemista are usually cooked during the summer time where you can have fresh vegetables, especially tomatoes. Gemista can also be stuffed with minced meat and rice, but traditionally it’s done without meat. Gemista are accompanied with bread and feta cheese.
Tips, tricks and info on how to make
Best tomatoes to use for this dish are plum/Roma tomatoes because they are more meaty and contain less liquid. Scrape off the skin of the zucchini to ensure the removal of any sand residues embedded in the skin. Pierce the zucchini a few times to ensure even cooking. RULE of thumb: Add 1 full tbsp of rice per vegetable. Do not overfill each vegetable to allow for rice expansion. If you run out of filling, take some from the other vegetables. Add only one layer of potatoes so that all potatoes are submerged in the juices.
- Remove the insides of all the vegetables as shown next.
- Place the insides of the tomatoes in one bowl, and the insides of the zucchini and the eggplants in another bowl.
- Scrape off the skin of the zucchini to ensure the removal of any sand residues embedded in the skin. Discard the skin.
- Pierce the zucchini a few times to ensure even cooking.
- At this point all the insides have been removed.
- Next, chop the three additional vegetables (zucchini, egg plant and red pepper) and mix together with the insides of the eggplants and the zucchinis.
- Shred everything in a food processor.
- Set aside for now.
- Shred the onions and chop the garlic cloves separately.
- Next, we will mince the insides of the tomatoes. Set the sauce aside for now.
- Add the oil and sauté the onion/garlic mixture for about 5 minutes.
- Add the rice and sauté another 2-3 minutes.
- Add the insides of the vegetables and immediately add the herbs and seasoning.
- Add half the tomato sauce we created earlier from the insides of the tomatoes.
- Mix well and immediately remove from heat.
- Take a little taste at this point to see if more salt is needed.
- Optional: Add some hot pepper flakes, to taste.
- Fill all the vegetables with the rice mixture.
- Do not overfill to allow for rice expansion.
- Now that all the vegetables are filled, we will add some potatoes.
- Season the potatoes.
- Add only one layer of potatoes.
- Add some water and tomato paste and pour into the pan.
- Bake at 350 at middle rack, for 2-3 hours or until all juices have evaporated and only the oil is left in the pan.
NOTE: If this Greek recipe is of interest to you, you may watch our video with step by step instructions and precise ingredient amounts. Gemista video