Calliope's Real Greek Food

cooking & stories in my Brooklyn kitchen

Anna’s Gemista {Stuffed vegetables} #Vegetarian #Vegan #GlutenFree

Stuffed vegetables is the epitome of the Greek summer dish, when vegetables come in abundance. It comes in many versions; stuffed with rice or ground beef and different herbs. Anna’s gemista is my mom’s flagship dish; its aromatic stuffing is influenced by her Smyrna background. Serve Anna’s gemista, in room temperature with feta cheese or Greek yoghurt; it tastes much better the day after!

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 90 minutes
Serves: 5


  • 5 large ripe beef tomatoes
  • 5 mixed vegetables (bell peppers or Italian zucchini or eggplants)
  • 2 chopped onions
  • 10 tbsp. Arborio rice 
  • ½ bunch mint
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ pine nuts 
  • salt & freshly ground pepper 
  • sugar
  • 3-4 potatoes (optional)

Preparation Method for the vegetables

  • Use a sharp knife to cut a cap off the top off vegetables 

  • Scoop out seeds from peppers and throw them away (likewise, with all other vegetables). Use a sharp European vegetable peeler to dig a hole the zucchini.

  • Scoop out the tomato pulp and keep it on the side in a bowl

Preparation Method for the stuffing

  • Heat your oven in 360F

  • Put the tomato pulp in a blender and then in a bowl where you will prepare your stuffing (keep some of it on the side as you may not need everything for the stuffing; it really depends how juicy the tomatoes are)

  • Put the onions in a blender; add them in your stuffing bowl 

  • Add the rice;  (as many tbsp. as the vegetables)

  • Add the salt & pepper, mint, raisins & pine nuts and ¾ of the olive oil

  • Mix well (optionally, place the stuffing in a large saucepan for a few minutes; it reduces baking time as it softens the rice)

Stuffing your vegetables

  • Put a dash of sugar on the bottom of each vegetable before you fill them up with stuffing (my mom’s secret)

  • Use a teaspoon to fill the vegetables with the stuffing, leaving some space for the rice to expand 

  • Cover with the vegetable caps 
    Salt & pepper, add the remaining olive oil and 1 cup of water 

  • Optionally, add breadcrumbs on top of the vegetables and cut potatoes in your tray if you like

Bake for about 1,5 hours in 360F.