Traditional Greek recipes: Gemista (stuffed vegetables)

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Niki Louca from My Greek Kitchen shares her favourite vegan recipe for gemista (stuffed vegetables) with The Greek Herald. You can follow her on Instagram @mygreekkitchen for more!

This vegan recipe serves 4-6 people and is very appropriate for those who are fasting leading up to Christmas. If you are fasting just omit the feta at the end. It is also a great side dish when serving with meat because of the variety of vegetables it consists.

Ingredients:

  • 4 small capsicums (green, yellow or red).
  • 2 large zucchinis.
  • 2 carrots – thickly grated.
  • 1 large onion – finely diced.
  • 1 cup white cabbage – diced.
  • ½ bunch of parsley – finely chopped.
  • 1 stick celery finely chopped – leaves as well.
  • Salt.
  • 1 tin crushed tomatoes.
  • ½ cup olive oil.
  • Feta cheese.
  • ½ cup of rice.

Method:

Firstly, cut the lids off your capsicums and put them aside. Discard the seeds inside the capsicums and put to one side.  Cut your zucchinis in half, and carefully scoop out the flesh inside (do not throw away).  Be careful not to scoop all the way through the other end as you will not have a bottom to hold the contents. 

gemista
Niki’s gemista (stuffed vegetables). Photo supplied.

In a heavy based saucepan, add some of the olive oil and gently fry the capsicums and zucchinis shells to soften them. We do not want the skin to blister and peel away. This is to simply soften the vegetable.

In a separate bowl, add the zucchini flesh (finely cut), the grated carrot, diced onion, diced celery, cabbage, parsley, tin of tomatoes, salt, olive oil and rice together.

Stir them well and proceed to fill in the capsicum and zucchini shells. Do not overfill because once the rice cooks it will overflow. If you are a cheese lover, add a slice of feta cheese to the top of each of the capsicums and zucchinis. Do not forget to put the lids back on your capsicums. Add the stuffed vegetables to your saucepan, making sure they fit snug in an upright position and any liquid left from the filling, pour into the saucepan. If there are no juices left, add half to one cup of water to the base of your saucepan along with any oil left, from frying the capsicums and zucchinis. Cover with a lid and cook on medium heat for approximately 20-30 minutes. 

Check after 20 minutes to see if the rice is puffed up and cooked – if it is, your Gemista are ready.

I serve these with a Green salad (anything green – lettuce, cucumber, beetroot leaves, spinach, cabbage cut up finely with an olive oil, lemon juice dressing).

Niki Louca runs cooking classes in Melbourne. For more or to book classes visit My Greek Kitchen at www.mygreekkitchen.com.au or Instagram @mygreekkitchen. You can email Niki at: niki@mygreekkitchen.com.au.

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