NIKOZA’S GREEK GEMISTA (stuffed vegetables)

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One of the tastier and most traditional Greek foods is “Gemista”, and not without reason. It’s full of colors, healthy and so delicious. If you try it once, you’ll get addicted and definitely add it to your weekly diet. It’s ideal for vegetarians and vegans or for the days of the fast. The recipe I swear by goes as follows:
Ingredients (for a large baking pan):

  • 4 eggplants
  • 4 zucchinis
  • 4 bell peppers
  • 3 small soft tomatoes
  • 2 Anaheim peppers
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 large onion (diced)
  • 1 cup parsley
  • ½ cup spearmint
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • shortgrain rice
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt & pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 3 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • 2tbsp pine nuts
  • 2-3 potatoes cut in wedges (optional)

Steps:

  1. Clean the carrots and the Anaheim peppers and cut them in a MultiCut mixer.
  2. Set aside in a bowl.
  3. Cut off the top of the bell peppers and remove the seeds and place them in the baking pan.
  4. Cut the eggplants and the zucchinis in half (horizontally) and remove their “flesh”, almost leave them with only their skin. This is the tricky part, you need to be careful. Place them in the baking pan.
  5. Cut the “flesh” of the vegetables in smaller cubes and put them in the MultiCut mixer along with the spearmint and the parsley. Careful not to melt them when you start cutting. See the pictures to understand how small they need to be. Place in another bowl.
  6. Remove the tomatoes’ skin and melt the insides. Place in a third bowl.
  7. Put some olive oil (enough to cover the bottom) in a large frying pan and sauté the onion for 2 minutes. (high heat)
  8. Add the carrot-pepper mixture and sauté for another 2 minutes.
  9. Add the parsley-spearmint-vegetable mixture and sauté for 3 more minutes.
  10. Put the tomato sauce; lower the heat in medium and cook for 2 minutes. Also add salt, pepper and garlic powder according to your preference.
  11. Add the pine nuts and rice (1tbsp for each vegetable and 2-3tbsp more “for the pan” as we say in Greece). Stir for 2 minutes and remove from heat. Let it sit for 2minutes.
  12. Preheat the oven 200°C and start filling the vegetables.
  13. If you use potatoes, place them wherever there’s space left in the pan, among the vegetables.
  14. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs evenly over the pan and add some olive oil on top of the veggies.(almost 1 tbsp for each vegetable)
  15. Add 1 ½ cup of water on the bottom of the pan and bake for 1hr.
  16. Serve with fresh bread and feta cheese or as is.

It takes a bit of time to clean and cut all the veggies but the result is rewarding! And trust me, you’ll want to cook it again and again.

Bon appétit!

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