|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
Yemista means "stuffed" in Greek, and this recipe traditionally features tomatoes. This recipe is a staple of the summer season when tomatoes are abundant and at their peak. You can also use the same filling for peppers, zucchini or any other vegetables that may be available.
This recipe makes enough filling for 6 large tomatoes and 3 medium zucchini. You can adjust it according to your needs. Feel free to add raisins, pine nuts or slivered almonds if you like.
- 6 large tomatoes
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 medium zucchini
- 1 lb. beef (ground)
- 1/2 cup olive oil (plus more for drizzling)
- 1 large onion (minced)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 cup parsley (fresh, minced)
- 6 tbsp. rice (uncooked)
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 1 pinch nutmeg (ground)
- Optional: salt and pepper (to taste)
- 3 large potatoes (peeled and sliced into wedges)
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 6 pats of butter or margarine
Prep the Vegetables
Slice the tops of the tomatoes, leaving a small piece attached to the base to act as a hinge for the tomato top. This helps to keep the tops matched to the bottoms.
Using a spoon, scoop out the tomato flesh and reserve in a bowl. Be careful not to pierce through the skin of the tomatoes. Sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar into each tomato cavity to help reduce the acidity.
Prepare the Stuffing
Brown the ground beef in a large skillet. When all the pink has disappeared, add the olive oil. Add the onions and saute until translucent. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the parsley, rice, half the tomato pulp puree, tomato paste, and tomato sauce. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Allow the sauce to simmer and reduce a bit so that it is not too runny. The uncooked rice will begin to absorb the excess liquid as it cooks.
Stuffing and Baking the Vegetables
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Drizzle some olive oil in the bottom of a rectangular pan. Assemble the vegetables in the pan and use the potato wedges to keep the vegetables upright.
Stuff the tomatoes and zucchini about 3/4 full. Replace the tomato "caps" and sprinkle the tomatoes and zucchini with breadcrumbs. Place a pat of butter or margarine on each tomato top. Pour the remaining pulp puree into the bottom of the pan and season the vegetables with salt and pepper.
Bake for about 1 hour or until the vegetables have become tender and cooked through. For best results, you can lower the heat to 275 F and let the vegetables slow roast for a few hours.
The flavors develop as the vegetables sit so they can be enjoyed even more as leftovers the next day.