Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Stuffed Tomatoes and Peppers with Potatoes (Yemista)

Yemista. My grandma's most delicious food. Every time I visited her at her village, she cooked this for me, with all the ingredients coming from her backyard. The smell that fills the house, while they're in the oven is INSANE!
In Greek it means stuffed. Peppers, tomatoes, zucchinis, eggplants whatever vegetable you can find and can be stuffed. Super easy, super yummy and super light. The filling that is used to stuff the vegetables contains mince in many recipes, but this is optional. In this recipe I won't use mince, so it's something a vegetarian can eat as well (It's been a heavenly-only-meat week for me so I thought it was about time to prevent an unwanted stroke).

Ingredients (serves 4)

4 large tomatoes, ripe and tight 
4 bell peppers
2 ripe tomatoes/tomato juice
2 potatoes

Ingredients for the filling

1 and 1/2 cups of chopped parsley
1 and 1/2 cups of chopped mint
8 tbs carolina rice (long-grain rice) (1tbs for each vegetable)
Salt and pepper 
Olive oil
1 onion 
1 garlic clove

Prepare vegetables: Wash all the vegetables. Cut the top of the tomatoes and peppers, so that it opens like a lid. Remove the inside with a spoon (try not to create a hole) and keep it in a bowl. Spread some olive oil on a baking pan and place the tomatoes and peppers with the lid up.

Prepare filling: Finely chop the onion and garlic and fry them in a pan until golden. Add the rice, parsley, mint and half a cup of olive oil. Season the filling and add the inside of the tomatoes after you finely chop them. Let the mixture fry for 2-3 minutes and stir at the same time. Carefully fill the tomatoes and peppers. Fill them up to 3/4 of each vegetable. If you overdo it the filling will start to leak out. Don't forget to add some moisture in each vegetable (the broth that is created in the pan) in order for the rice to cook. Cut the potatoes and put them in the baking pan along with the stuffed vegetables. Sprinkle some salt and pepper. Add the 2 ripe tomatoes in a food processor (alternatively you can use tomato juice) and spread it over the stuffed tomatoes, peppers and potatoes. Add a cup of water as well.

Cook in a preheated oven at 180°C for 1,5 hour. The first 30 minutes cover the baking pan with tin foil and then remove it.

When the time has come and nothing can hold you anymore from raiding the oven, regain your self control and approach the oven. Open slowly. Take a deep breath. Take a second deep breath. Now you can eat. WAIT. No, it's still hot. When it's cold enough, serve with some greek yoghurt or feta. Enjoy! :)


  1. in italy we have a similar dish, but we use only tomatoes, i will try the pepper as soon as they'll be back on market ;)

    1. Yes! DEFINITELY try with the peppers but choose the green ones instead of the red! Sadly here in Finland they don't sell the green ones. :( And best advice is to try and get the fresh ones! I was always stealing some from my grandma's backyard!