Yemista – Stuffed Tomatoes and Vegetables
Yemista can be prepared in many different ways. Some people prefer just to stuff tomatoes whilst other people like a variety of vegetables. Some prefer the vegetables to be stuffed with mince and herbs whilst others prefer to make yemista as a vegetarian dish. There is no right or a wrong way to make yemista. You can be as creative as you like when you make the filling.
This particular recipe has been converted in honour of Chrystalla’s Yiayia Yvette Neamonitakis.
Yiayia Yvette likes to make a juice with the scooped vegetable flesh and then she pours it over the top of the stuffed vegetables before baking. This technique adds extra flavour and prevents the yemista from drying out.
We would love to know how you make your yemista. Please let us know if you make any variations to this recipe by sharing your tips with our facebook group or by leaving a comment on the blog.
- 155g or 2 red onions, peeled and halved
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 50g butter, plus extra for baking
- 200g medium grain rice
- 10g olive oil plus extra oil for baking
- 1 tsp dried parsley or 1 sprig of fresh parsley, finely chopped.
- 400g diced tomatoes from a tin or fresh
- 30g tomato paste
- 1 tsp salt
- 1⁄4 tsp pepper
- 1000g or 1kg beef mince
- 20-30 vegetables to stuff including tomatoes, zucchini, eggplants, capsicum, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions or peppers.
- 1 tsp salt
- 1⁄4 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp sugar
- 45g lemon juice 25g oil
- 100g water
- Chop the onion (155g) and garlic (2) for 3 seconds/speed 5. Scrape down the sides.
- Add butter (50g) and cook for 3 minutes/100 degrees/reverse/speed 1.
- Add rice (200g) and cook 3 minute/100 degrees/reverse/speed 1/MC off.
- Add oil (10g), parsley (1 tsp), 250g of the tin tomato, tomato paste (30g), salt (1 tsp), pepper (1⁄4 tsp) and mince (1000g). Cook for 5 minutes/100 degrees/reverse/lowest speed.
- Scrape down the sides and mix the mince around with the spatula. Cook for another 5 minutes/100 degrees/reverse/lowest speed.
- In the meantime, clean the vegetables that will be stuffed by removing the flesh and scooping out the insides. Refer to the recipe blog post for cleaning and cutting instructions. Keep the flesh of the vegetables in a seperate bowl and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees, fan forced.
- Once the mince mixture has finished cooking, fill each vegetable with the mixture. Place the stuffed vegetables into a large baking tray. Continue until all the mince mixture is used up.
- Add all the leftover vegetable flesh to the bowl. Do not include any starchy vegetables such as potatoes or sweet potatoes. Add the leftover tin tomato (150g) and the other juice ingredients: salt (1 tsp), pepper (1⁄4 tsp), sugar (1 tsp), lemon juice (45g), oil (25g) and water (100g). Mix 10 seconds/speed 5.
- Pour the vegetable juice over the stuffed vegetables in the baking tray.
- Cover any openings with left over pieces of tomatoes or capsicum so they don’t dry out.
- Put a little bit of butter on top of each vegetable and then drizzle with some olive oil.
- Cover the baking tray with tin foil and cook in the pre-heated oven for 2 hours.
- Check that the stuffed vegetables are cooked and that the rice is soft. Remove the tin foil and continue cooking for another 10 minutes to brown the top of the vegetables.
- Serve yemista with some homemade Greek Yoghurt – recipe available in the Mezze cookbook.
- For an extra boost of flavour, add 2 tablespoons of hot chilli sauce to the mince mixture before cooking. Here is the recipe link: Hot Chilli Sauce
- Leave out the sugar to make this recipe refined sugar free.
- This recipe can be halved.
- Peel garlic more efficiently with these tips: How To Peel Garlic In Your Thermomixer
- Make your own butter with this recipe: How To Make Butter In Your Thermomixer
TIPS FOR PREPARING VEGETABLES FOR STUFFING
- Select vegetables that are in season and have a bright colour and full shape as it will influence the way the yemista looks after it has been cooked.
- Cut the top ends off each vegetable. Keep the tops so that they can be put back on the base to cover the stuffing of rice and mince, just before baking.
- Use a spoon or vegetable corer to scoop out the flesh from each vegetable before stuffing.
- Large vegetables such as capsicums can be cut in half before stuffed. This creates two portions for each capsicum.
- Remove the stalk and seeds from the inside of the capsicum.
- Capsicums are great to use if there is a lot of extra mince filling. They have large stuffing space.
- Eggplants may go brown quickly, so try to prepare the eggplant at the very end to minimise the time between coring, stuffing and baking.
- Vegetables that are suitable for yemista include: tomatoes, capsicum, zucchini, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, eggplants and peppers. Tomatoes are the most popular however any vegetable that can hold the mixture can be stuffed.
- Do not put the flesh of the starchy vegetables in with the juice mixture. Instead, use these leftover vegetable bits and put them around the baking tray, in between the stuffed vegetables.