Yemista – Summer on a Plate

Also known as Tomatoes & Capsicums Stuffed with Rice & Herbs

Yemista is one of the most traditional of Greek dishes made all over Greece, but there are many variations depending on the region. This version is one of my favourites.To me, Yemista is summer on a plate! The vibrant colours of the vegetables drizzled with a little extra virgin olive oil, make them glisten, creating a feast for the eyes. The flavours … well, they literally explode in your mouth! The freshness of the mint combined with the sweetness of the currants and buttery nuttiness of the pinenuts is just divine!

This is trully a dish that will please even the most picky eater.

What you need

  • 6 medium ripe tomatoes
  • 6 small red capsicums
  • 1¼ cups Olive Oil
  • 1 large onion – finely chopped
  • 1 cup medium grain rice – uncooked
  • ½ cup currants
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint – finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons flat parsley – finely chooped
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Serves 5 – 6

What to do

Heat oven to 180°C (350°F)

Rinse the tomatoes and capsicums under cold water. Some people prefer to cut off the stems from the capsicum, but I choose to leave them. Either way, it’s up to you.

Cut a thin slice from the top of the tomatoes and capsicums. Reserve these pieces to use later as the lids.

Remove the membranes and seeds from inside each capsicum. Place the capsicums in a baking dish, drizzle with a little oil and bake for 20 minutes to soften a little. Remove from the oven and set aside.

In the meantime, use a spoon to scoop out the pulp from the tomatoes. Reserve the pulp for later.

Add the tomatoes to the tray of capsicums. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the tomatoes and capsicums and put aside.IMG_0513.jpgHeat ½ the oil in a pan on a medium heat, add the onion and cook until soft. Add the rice, stir well and cook for 5 minutes.IMG_0515.jpgChop the reserved tomato pulp and add it to the pan. Add the currants, pinenuts, chopped mint and ½ cup hot water and stir well.

IMG_0518Season with salt and pepper.

Cover and cook for 10 minutesIMG_0520Fill the tomatoes and capsicums with rice mixture, leaving room for the rice to swell.

Replace the reserved lids and arrange in a shallow baking dish.img_0525-2.jpgPush the remaining tomato pulp through a sieve and pour into the baking dish.

Drizzle a little olive oil over the tomatoes and capsicums. Add 1 cup of hot water to the bottom of the  baking dish

Place in the oven and bake for 1¼ hours. Check from time to time and add a little hot water to the bottom of the dish if it is dry.

You may need to cover the vegetables with aluminium foil if they start to colour too much.

Cooked Yemista

Served hot or cold with Greek yoghurt, crusty bread and a green salad such as my BABY LEAVES AND HERB SALAD – so very yummy!