Gemista can be vegetarian or with minced meat, traditionally though it is made with rice, herbs, spices and a homemade tomato sauce made with the tomatoes used for the dish. The original recipe has to be made with extra virgin olive oil, as it is falls under the category of “ladera”, which means “oily”. If you want some extra flavor, feel free to add some butter in the Gemista before adding the stuffing!
The juices of the tomatoes are used in order to keep our dish juicy and to prevent from drying. For a better result, cover the Gemista with aluminum foil while baking and uncover towards the end for a more vivid color. Ingredients

8 tomatoes
4 green bell peppers
1-2 eggplants
5-6 potatoes
2 chopped red onions
2 chopped cloves of garlic
1 zucchini, chopped
500g/ 18 oz. rice (for risotto)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
a small bunch of parsley, chopped
a small bunch of fresh mint, chopped
2 tbsps tomato puree
2 tsps sugar
2 tbsps of butter
salt and freshly ground pepper
olive oil
250 grams (8.8oz) beef mince (optional)

Step by step: instructions and preparation

1. /6

Remove the top and the flesh of the vegetables and keep it in a bowl in order to use it later, except of those of the peppers. Place the empty vegetables on a baking tray and add salt, sugar and a little butter on the bottom.

2. /6

Add the flesh of the tomatoes, 5-6 tbsp s olive oil, the tomato puree, sugar, salt and pepper to a blender and combine.

3. /6

In a pan add some olive oil and the onions, and then add the zucchini, the flesh of the eggplants and the chopped garlic. Add the rice and until translucent and then the chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper. When there is no liquid left, remove the pan and add the herbs.

4. /6

Add the filling inside the empty vegetables and place the potatoes in between them. Pour the tomato sauce over the vegetables and add salt and pepper. Put the tops on the vegetables and pour 2-3 glasses of water.

5. /6

Cover with aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven at 180 degrees for 60-75 minutes. After about 30 minutes remove the aluminum foil and continue baking.

6. /6

You can eat the Gemista either warm or even straight out of the fridge, with some salty feta cheese. Enjoy!