Yummy Stuffed Peppers and Squash is also called Yemesta (gemeesta) which is Greek for stuffed vegetables.
But I just call them yummy.
Gluten free and vegetarian, stuffed vegetables make a satisfying main dish or side and are delicious hot or cold. For vegan yemesta, skip the feta or choose a vegan melting cheese.
- 1 large onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 cup long grain rice (uncooked)
- 2 cups water or stock
- 1 bay leaf (optional)
- 3 bell peppers, any color
- 2 large zucchini
- 2 large yellow squash
- ¼ cup white wine (optional)
- Large handful of fresh parsley
- 6 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 cup fresh or canned chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- Spray Pam or olive oil (for baking sheet)
- Prepare rice: Separately chop onion and 2 cloves of garlic. In a large heavy pot, heat olive oil. Sauté onion about 5 minutes, then add garlic and 1 cup rice. Brown rice a few minutes, then add in water or stock, bay leaf (optional) and a little salt and pepper. (If using water, use up to 1 t each salt and pepper. If using stock, just add ¼ t each salt and pepper). Stir mixture once, bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove pot from heat but keep covered another 10+ minutes while prepping vegetables.
- Prepare vegetables: Cut peppers in half lengthwise and carefully remove seeds and membranes. Think of carving each squash into a canoe and cut about the top ¼ of the length off each squash (see photo) to create a deep vessel to hold filling. Carefully cut down (but not through the bottom) around the inside of each squash and then use a spoon to scoop out the flesh and set it aside. (see photo)
- Chop into small dice the “leftover” tops of the squash. Using a small bowl or blender, puree the squash pulp with ¼ cup water or white wine. Chop enough parsley to fill ½ cup. Measure out 1 cup fresh chopped or canned tomatoes. Measure out 6 oz. feta cheese.
- Prepare peppers and squashes for baking: On a foil lined baking sheet sprayed with Pam, place peppers and squashes upside down. Spray with Pam or brush with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with kosher salt. Turn vegetables over and repeat.
- Prepare rice filling: Remove bay leaf from rice. Add feta cheese, parsley, pulp and diced squashes to cooked rice and mix lightly but thoroughly. Add tomatoes last (to avoid turning rice red), taste and adjust liberally for salt and pepper. Fill each vegetable with 2 – 3 T rice mixture and spoon about 1 -2 T tomato sauce on top. Place vegetables in oven, and then add 1 cup water around vegetables before closing oven door.
- Bake for 60- 80 minutes. Rotate tray after 30 minutes for even cooking. Add more water if baking tray is dry.
- Stuffed vegetables may be prepared up to three days in advance and baked just before serving. Serve hot, cold or at room temperature.
- Serves 4-5 as a main course or up to 10 for a side dish.
Adapted from The Good Greek