Colourful, juicy, and jam-packed with flavour. These stuffed vegetables are anything but boring.
Yemista, or Gemista (which in Greek means ‘filled with’) is a traditional Greek recipe for vegetables filled with rice, minced meat, and a lot of delicious herbs. There are countless variations for Yemista, and they can be made with pork, beef, plant-based – and now also in a very nutritious and sustainable variation with insect protein!
Perfect for a barbeque, on their own, or as a side dish, these Yemistas are as versatile as they are delicious!
Cook time: 90 minutes
Vegetables (to be stuffed)
There are many vegetables that can be used for Yemista, but we but we recommend:
6 Large tomatoes, or
4 bell peppers, or
2 large potatoes
For the filling
400 g Hey Planet Mince, or other meat/alternative
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large eggplant
1 x 140g can tomato purée
300 ml white rice
100 ml white wine
600 ml vegetable broth
200 g feta
4 bay leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 handful fresh mint
1 handful fresh dill
1 handful fresh basil
1 handful fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 180°C on the fan setting.
Start by rinsing the vegetables to be stuffed under running water. Lightly pat them dry.
To prepare the vegetables for stuffing, carefully cut off the tops, which will form the lids later. It’s best to use a sharp knife for this. The lid should be around 0.5-1cm thick, depending on the size of the vegetable.
Remove the lids, and carefully scoop out the insides from the vegetables. Finely chop all the tomato pulp that has been scooped out, and store it in a bowl for later use.
Finely chop onion and garlic.
Heat a large saucepan over medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil, and sauté the onions and garlic until they are transparent.
Add the meat and sauté over high heat for approximately 4-5 minutes, until the meat is golden and slightly crispy.
Add the bay leaves, the tomato pulp, the tomato purée, oregano, thyme, cinnamon, and freshly ground pepper. Let them cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the rice and the white wine, and stir well in the pan for 1-2 minutes so that the alcohol can evaporate.
Add the vegetable broth and salt, and stir the whole mixture thoroughly together.
Let the mixture simmer on low heat for at least 15-20 minutes, preferably longer.
While the rice is simmering, chop the eggplant and squash into small cubes.
Drizzle the cubes in olive oil and a pinch of salt. Place them on a baking sheet and bake them in the oven until they are tender and lightly browned. Do not turn off the oven when they are done baking!
Rinse the fresh mint, dill, basil and parsley, and chop them finely.
When the rice has simmered for long enough, mix in the baked vegetable cubes and the fresh herbs. Add the feta.
Now the vegetables need to be stuffed!
Fill all the vegetables as compactly as possible, but without tearing them. Put the vegetable lids over the filling, covering the rice as much as possible.
Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil and place them in an ovenproof dish.
Bake for 40-60 minutes (depending on the oven). If the vegetables quickly get a burnt surface, they can be covered with some aluminium foil.
Once baked, they are ready to be served. They can also be made in advance, in preparation for a party, for example. They taste best when piping hot, so make sure to reheat them in an oven or on a grill – preferably wrapped in foil, so they don’t get burnt.