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Yemista

A traditional Greek meal of stuffed vegetables
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time3 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: #greeklentenrecipes, vegan, stuffed vegetables, yemista
Author: Mia Kouppa

Ingredients

  • 12-15 vegetables to stuff assortment of peppers, tomatoes, small eggplants, zucchini

For Filling

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions (both white and green parts)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill or you can replace by chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 cups mixed shredded zucchini, carrots, and finely chopped eggplant
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes fresh and can
  • 2 cups uncooked medium grain rice we use the Carolina brand or Calrose rice, but any medium grain rice will do
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • sugar if using store bought tomatoes

For the baking:

  • 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • water
  • Potatoes optional

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Start by washing and preparing your vegetables
  • Hollow out your peppers by removing seeds and ribbing.  Keep lids to the side. Place peppers and lids in a bowl and cover with boiling water for approximately 10 minutes.  This will help soften the vegetables
  • Prepare tomatoes by cutting off lids and scooping out the insides.  Blend the tomato you have scooped out, measure, and set aside.  Add enough crushed tomatoes (from a can) to make 1 1/2 cups.
  • Prepare zucchini.  Cut off the stem ends and then with a small pairing knife cut out a pyramid shaped piece of zucchini.  These will act as “stoppers” to keep the filling from falling out.  Set aside.  With a spoon or butter knife or apple corer, begin to carefully cut through the zucchini, being careful not to pierce and break the skin.  (If you do…it’s really not the end of the world).  Follow the same procedure for the eggplant.  Place the zucchini and eggplant shells in a bowl, cover with boiling water for approximately 10 minutes.  
  • Finely chop the zucchini and eggplant innards, and place in a bowl. Grate 1 medium size carrot, add to the bowl and measure everything.  You will need a total of 2 cups.  If you fall short (which you likely will), shred some zucchini and carrots until you reach the desired amount of 2 cups.
  • To prepare filling, heat olive oil in a large pot and add onion.  Cook over medium heat for approximately 5 minutes and until the onion is softened, being careful not to burn it.
  • Combine the parsley, garlic, green onions, dill, paprika, shredded and chopped zucchini/eggplant/carrots, crushed tomatoes, rice, salt and pepper in a bowl.  Stir well to combine, add to the pot with onions and cook until just heated through.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Begin stuffing vegetables with filling. Be careful not to pack the filling in too tightly or to the top, and ensure that there is some liquid from the filling added to each vegetable stuffed.  When stuffing tomatoes, add 1/2 teaspoon white sugar to the bottom of each tomato shell before stuffing it.  According to our folks, this is essential when the tomatoes are not fresh from the garden.
  • Once the vegetables are stuffed, top them with their lids and stoppers.  Place vegetables in a roasting pan. If you find that you have extra space between vegetables, fill it with potatoes that you have peeled and cut into thick chunks.
  • Mix tomato sauce with vegetable oil and pour into roasting pan. We use a 15 inch round roasting pan.  Add enough water so that there is at least 1/4 inch of liquid in bottom of pan.
  • Cover with tin foil and bake in a 375 degree oven for about one hour. Remove foil and continue to bake for another hour or until rice is cooked.  If you find that the liquid in your pan has evaporated during the cooking process, add some more water.
  • Let cool and serve.
  • Enjoy.

Notes

When placing long veggies (like long peppers/zucchinis or eggplants) in the pan, ensure that they are not lying flat; prop them up with a potato; this prevents them from losing their liquid, and the rice from cooking well.
We enjoy yemista most when it's at room temperature.
If you don't have enough tomatoes to get 1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes, use a can of crushed tomatoes, blend it..or use tomato sauce.  
When you're stuffing your vegetables,  if you find that the filling is not liquidy enough... add more tomato sauce or water.