Greek stuffed tomatoes

Greek stuffed tomatoes, gemista, are similar to the Italian ones, mainly the Pomodori a riso alla romana, but there are some differences. And as with most recipes, there are variations based on the region and one’s grandmother 🙂 These healthy and juicy gemista are traditionally vegetarian but some use also ground beef or pork. Remember to use a good quality extra virgin olive oil which is key to a Greek ladera dish (prepared with oil).

prep time 20 min + 60 min for marinating    cook time 90 min
ingredients for 4
  • 4 large ripe tomatoes
  • 125g rice (for risotto)
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • handful of fresh dill
  • handful of fresh mint
  • 1 Tbls tomato paste
  • extra vergin olive oil
  • juice of one lemon
  • ground black pepper
  • dahs of ground cumin
  • sweet paprika
  • ground cayenne pepper or peperoncino
  • salt
  • dash of sugar
  • 1-2 potatoes
  • 300 ml water
  • 1 Tbls tomato paste
  • 1-2 Tbls olive oil
  • salt, pepper, dried oregano

1.  Wash and pat dry the tomatoes. Cut off the top part of all the tomatoes and put aside. With a pairing knife help loosen the tomato flesh, scoop it with a spoon and put in a bowl. Place the tomatoes in a baking dish where you have put some olive oil on the bottom. Choose a baking dish where the tomatoes fit snuggly.

2.  Blend the tomato flesh with an immersion blender in a fairly large bowl. Add the minced onion, chopped dill and mint, the lemon juice, tomato paste, the cumin, sweet paprika and cayenne pepper. Season with salt and pepper and add a generous drizzle of olive oil. Mix and add the rice. Let marinate at room temperature for about an hour.

3. Peel and cut the potatoes into rounds (or wedges or cubes), put in a bowl, add 300ml of water and tomato paste. Season with oil, dried oregano, salt and pepper.

4. Pre-heat oven at 190C.

5. Add now a dash of sugar to the tomatoes and also a dash of salt. Fill them with the rice mixture which has by now absorbed most of the liquid in the bowl. Cover tomatoes with the tomato tops.

6. Place the potato slices now on top and around the tomatoes. Pour the liquid in the pan, about half way. Bake at 190C for 45 minutes covered, then uncover and bake for additional 45 minutes. Check to see if some more liquid is needed.


One Reply to “Greek stuffed tomatoes”

  1. Looks yummy. But I try not to have my oven on for an hour and a half in summer. I’d cook before the tomatoes. (Btw Think you say tomatoes when you mean potatoes in the recipe.). Soon as it cools down I’ll give this a try.

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