Gemista – Rice Stuffed Vegetables
200 g/ 1 cup red rice, rinsed
500 ml / 2 cups water
1 tsp sea salt
1 kg / 2 lb mixed tomatoes and/or bell peppers (approx 15 vegetables, less if they are large)
1-2 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
20 wrinkly black olives, pitted
2 tbsp pickled capers, drained
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
1 handfull almonds, chopped
2 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp raisins or finely chopped dates
150 g /1 cup feta cheese (optional)
1 cup natural yogurt
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp finely chopped mint leaves
1 small clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 175°C / 350°F.
Place rice and water in a saucepan, bring to a boil, lower the heat immediately and let simmer on low heat for as long as instructed on the packet (meanwhile prepare the other ingredients). Drain if needed and transfer the cooked rice to a large mixing bowl.
Trim off the top of each tomato. Use a small spoon to scrape out the seeds and flesh from the tomatoes and into a bowl. Slice each bell pepper lengthwise and discard the seeds, alternatively trim off each top and discard the seeds (depending on the shape of the pepper).
Heat oil in a skillet, add onion, olives and capers. Finely chop the tomato flesh and add it together with the seeds and liquid. Sauté for about 15 minutes until soft and fragrant, then transfer to the mixing bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. Fill upp the tomatoes and bell peppers with the stuffing, pressing down very gently as you go. Place the caps back on top of the tomatoes and bell peppers. Place the vegetables in a greased ovenproof dish and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until the tomatoes and bell peppers are soft, golden and have slightly burnt edges. Whisk together the ingredients for the yogurt sauce in a small bowl while the vegetables are in the oven.
Serve the stuffed vegetables with a drizzle of yogurt sauce and a simple side salad of choice.