I’ve been privileged to eat some of the most delicious stuffed tomatoes and peppers during my travels through Greece. One of my most memorable meals was Yemista (YEM-e-staa), at a friend’s grandmother’s house in the village of Itea where at the age of 18, my closest friends and I enjoyed spending a summer. Yiayia Amelia made enough to feed a Spartan army although there were only five of us at the lunch table. How did we end up with just 3 stuffed peppers and 1 stuffed tomato left at the end of our lunch? We ate more than our share, that’s how. It’s hard to pass up on extreme deliciousness.
Yemista (YEM-e-staa), or as my children have coined them, “Yummy-staa” are a fantastic comfort food. Stuffed peppers are great to serve during the winter months but don’t count them out in the spring. Using tricolor peppers adds color to your plate and mixing in spring vegetables welcomes the much anticipated season. I usually prefer using tomatoes rather than peppers, but when using tricolor peppers, because of their sweetness, they give those tasty tomatoes a run for their money.
Instead of spending 20 minutes chopping the vegetables by hand, I throw everything into the food processor together for a rough chop. This saves time in prep and clean up. I’ve tried this recipe with brown rice and white rice- select which ever you prefer because they are both delicious!
These stuffed peppers can be prepared two different ways: in a traditional oven or in a crock-pot/slow-cooker.
6-8 tricolor peppers
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic
2 stalks celery, cut into thirds
2 medium carrots, peeled, cut into thirds
1 small zucchini, quartered
½ cup loosely packed fresh flat leaf parsley
½ cup loosely packed fresh mint
¼ cup loosely packed fresh oregano
¼ cup olive oil
1 pound shrimp, cleaned, cut into thirds
2 teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1-14 ounce can tomato sauce, divided
1-cup water or vegetable stock, divided
Cut the tops off the peppers, clean out seeds and set aside. Place onions, garlic, celery, carrots, zucchini, parsley, mint and oregano in food processor and pulsate until ingredients are chopped. They should be chunky, not finely chopped.
In a large sauté pan or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add chopped vegetables and herbs and sauté until onions are translucent. Add shrimp and sauté until cooked. Stir in rice and ½ can tomato sauce and ½ cup water or vegetable stock. Cook over medium-low heat until most of the liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently.
Place peppers in a deep casserole dish, making sure they fit tightly to avoid them falling over during cooking. Fill peppers with mixture and place the tops on the peppers. Place remaining ½ can tomato sauce and ½ cup water or vegetable stock in the bottom of the casserole dish. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour, basting the peppers often. If necessary during cooking, add additional water or vegetable broth to the bottom of the casserole dish. Drizzle with juice from the bottom of the pan and serve with warm bread.
* If using a slow cooker, prepare the mixture and peppers as above. Instead of placing the peppers in a casserole dish, pour ½ can tomato sauce and ½ cup water or vegetable stock into the slow cooker. Place the peppers in the slow cooker, cover and cook until peppers are tender, 4-6 hours on low.
Recipe by Alexandra Salidas Roll of Figs & Feta. Please do not reprint this recipe without permission. If you would like to feature this recipe on your blog or site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link your post to this one as the original source. Thank you!