Stuffed Tomatoes

17 May

Asking me to pick a favorite Greek Easter dish is like asking a mother to pick her favorite child– everyone knows she has one, but no one wants her to say out loud who it is.

Luckily–I’m not a mother. So I don’t mind screaming from the rooftops that gemista (literally: the stuffed) are my FAVORITE!


On a scale of 1-to-easy, these are about a 5 or so. Lots of prep work involved, but not of the highly technical variety. I have been using this recipe for years and it is ALWAYS a crowd pleaser. ALWAYS. Except of course the first time I made them and I didn’t cook the rice and it took what I think was every ounce of self restraint for my Pappou not to laugh uncontrollably in my face.

My only additional thoughts are these:

  • DO NOT believe that raisins are optional. They are required. And they are delicious.
  • Use a serrated table steak knife (or any sharp but not too sharp knife) to remove the flesh. If you use your sharpest paring knife, you will accidentally cut through the skin of the tomato. Believe me when I say this.
  • You will have left over filling– use it in a casserole or over pasta or something. It is so yummy.
  • I never use a full 1.5 c water to bake the tomatoes in– I use a little less than one cup and then put a TBS or two of leftover filling between each tomato and bake it like that. But in the interest of keeping someone else’s recipe in tact, I have included the original instructions below.

    Stuffed Tomatoes

  • Ingredients
  • 10 medium perfectly-ripe beefsteak tomatoes (cheapest thing is to buy them day-of at Trader Joe’s)
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 10 heaping tablespoons rice, prepared
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (unless you happen to have hard mizithra cheese or kefalograviera cheese), either shredded or the way it comes when using it for spaghetti… no idea what that’s called
  • 1/2 cup sultana raisin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • salt and pepperAssembly
    1. Preheat oven to 375. Cut off tops of tomatoes (retain tops) and carefully scoop out flesh (retain this as well) using a knife and spoon. Place tomatoes in a glass pan large enough to hold them comfortably.
    2. Take tomato flesh and process it until pureed.
    1. Add olive oil, rice, onion, garlic, mint, nuts, cheese, sultanas, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper (or season to taste).
    2. Stuff the vegetables evenly with this mixture.
    3. Replace tops of tomatoes.
    4. Combine 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup olive oil with a scant tablespoonful of tomato paste and a little salt and pepper and pour this around the veg.
    5. Bake in a preheated 375F oven (180C) for approx 1 3/4 hours (vegetables should pierce easily and be slightly blackened in parts).
    6. Turn off oven and leave in for another hour to’mellow’ before serving.
    7. This is best served slightly warm or at room temperature.

4 Responses to “Stuffed Tomatoes”


  1. Baked Stuffed Green Tomatoes | Pam's Food Court - May 18, 2013

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    […] Stuffed Tomatoes […]

  3. I Survived Greek Easter 2013 | Cooking Up Kefi - May 20, 2013

    […] Stuffed Tomatoes                                             γεμιστές […]

  4. Back from Hiatus, With Dolmadakia! | Cooking Up Kefi - May 28, 2014

    […] Until this year. It was about 1130 PM on Saturday night. My house was literally (read: very much not figuratively) packed to capacity- BFKef was lawyering into the wee hours in the bedroom, ThisIsYourLifeNowKef had annexed (okay–xanxed) the couch, PinchinaKef was on the air mattress desperately trying to avoid Oliver Tambo’s nocturnal antics, every other available space was covered in food or food prep, and 20 dismembered tomatoes were precariously perched while they awaited their filling (which was being blended in the bathroom to reduce late-night noise) and their transformation from fleshless fruit to amazing, show-stopping yemista. […]

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