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Gemista (Stuffed Vegetables)

June 6, 2014 by: Zoe Vlachos Main Dish, Recipes, Vegetarian

This is a very popular summer casserole dish for Greeks; using as many seasonal garden veggies and herbs that we can get our hands on!  I like to make Gemista year round, especially when  I have vegetables that look like they are beginning to wilt. This a great way to clean out the refrigerator! Gemista are healthy, delicious and often accompanied with a nice, salty piece of feta cheese. You can substitute the white rice in this recipe for brown rice or even quinoa. You can also add ground beef or chicken to the filling mixture. This dish is very versatile, so get creative!

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

Vegetables to be stuffed:

  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 2 large zucchinis cut in half or 4 small zucchinis
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • sprinkle of salt and freshly ground pepper

Filling:

  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced finely
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced finely
  • 1 carrot, peeled, halved and diced finely
  • 2 cups kale leaves, chopped
  • handful of fresh dill, chopped
  • handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/2 cup tomato puree or juice
  • 2 cups of white rice, washed well
  • 2 cups water
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Potatoes:

  • 4 medium potatoes, quartered
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Directions:

Place all diced vegetables that will be used for the filling into a large bowl.  Wash the vegetables that you will be stuffing well. Cut the tops off of the peppers, removing any seeds and pulp.  Cut the tops off of the tomatoes and slice the zucchini in half horizontally. Using a spoon, scoop out the insides, dice and set into the same bowl with the rest of the diced vegetables for the filling. Place all hollowed out vegetables and their lids into a large casserole, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile in a large skillet heat oil on medium heat add all of the chopped vegetables and sauté with a sprinkle of salt and pepper until they have softened and slightly caramelized. Add the herbs and tomato puree and stir. Then add the rice and 2 cups of water. Simmer until rice has almost cooked completely and season to taste. Take off of heat.

In a large bowl toss the potato quarters with the oil and spices.

Spoon the filling mixture into hollowed vegetables and close with their lids. Add any excess filling around the vegetables as well as the potatoes. Drizzle olive oil over the casserole and cover lightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 35 minutes in a 345 degree F. oven until potatoes have cooked.

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