Stuffed tomatoes is the ultimate Greek summer dish. “Yemistá” as we call them is a meal that we enjoy eating this time of the year when tomatoes are rich in flavor, juicier and much tastier. They are usually stuffed with rice and different fresh herbs and baked in the oven, that being the most popular version. There is also a version where the stuffing is a mixture of minced meat sauce and rice -that is more of a Sunday treat. Today we’ve got for you the veggie version, meaning that rice is the basic stuffing ingredient. We hope you enjoy it!
Greek style stuffed tomatoes
12 medium-large ripe tomatoes
2 white onions finely chopped
2 cloves garlic finely minced
2 cups short grained rice rinsed
1 cup freshly chopped parsley
½ cup freshly chopped dill
½ cup freshly chopped mint
1 cup esti extra virgin olive oil
Clean the tomatoes and remove the stems. Cut their tops off (don’t throw them away!) and scoop out tomato juices, seeds and flesh. You can use a grapefruit knife to make the first cuts, then a spoon to remove the rest- be careful not to pierce the bottom of the tomatoes. Salt the inside of the tomatoes and place them in a baking dish. Puree the tomato flesh and put it into a bowl.
Preheat the oven at 190 degrees
Pour 1/2 cup of the olive oil in a frying pan. When hot add the onions and garlic. Stir and sauté for approximately 5 minutes until soft and translucent. Now add the tomato puree and simmer for another five minutes. Add the rice and three the herbs and stir in, then take off the heat. Add salt and pepper, stir and let it cool.
With the aid of a tablespoon stuff the tomatoes with the rice mixture. Place their tops on top.
Pour the remaining ½ cup olive oil over all the tomatoes. Add some water just enough to come halfway up the tomatoes. Sprinkle salt and pepper and place the baking dish in a pre-heated oven for an hour more or less or until the tomatoes are golden-brown on top.
The tomatoes can be eaten warm (just out of the oven!) or at room temperature (even better!)