Long before my trip to Greece , I had always loved and prepared Greek food- like these lemony Greek stuffed tomatoes (or peppers ) which I have been making for years! So many Greek foods are naturally gluten free.
I don't know why, but most Mediterranean countries notoriously like to stuff their vegetables. My mother in law ( from the Middle East) stuffs onions, grape leaves, squashes, peppers, and artichokes. Stuffed vegetables make a great presentation for entertaining and can be used as a side dish or entree. Surprisingly, they are relatively easy to make.
I usually make this vegan recipe towards the end of the summer when peppers, tomatoes, and fresh herbs are seasonably plentiful. I like the contrast of yellow peppers against the red tomatoes.It looks so pretty and colorful!
Greek stuffed vegetables are definitely crowd pleasers. The stuffing is almost always made with a significant amount of freshly squeezed lemon juice that cooks down in the tomato base to create a sweet and tangy flavor that everyone seems to love. I added raisins to reduce the tartness. These stuffed vegetables are light, tasty, gluten free, and vegan! So enjoy!
|Parthenon ( Our trip to Greece 2009)|
|Ancient Greek Ruins ( Parthenon area)|
|Greek windmill in a small village near Santorini, Greece|
|Typical Greek buildings, architecture and colors ( on the beach front)|
|Slice off the tops and hollow out the vegetables saving the inside of the tomato for the stuffing|
|Cook the rice stuffing|
|This picture shows the vegetables, stuffed but uncooked ( you can eat them this way or cook them)|
|Stuff the hollowed out vegetables|
|Cook in a Dutch oven pot in tomato juice, lemon and broth to soften veggies if desired.|
Otherwise, you can eat the tomatoes or peppers raw- it's still good.
Slice off top of 5 tomatoes and 4 peppers and hollow out ( save inside of tomato, chop and add to stuffing mixture)
1 and half cups raw brown rice, washed and drained very well
2 1/2 cups onions, chopped
4 cloves fresh garlic ( or more to taste) , chopped
1/2 red or green pepper, chopped
2 -3 Tbsp olive oil
5 additional tomatoes, chopped and use any juice that accumulates when cutting them
1/2 cup dark raisins
2 Tbsp dried thyme ( don't omit)
chop any fresh herb you have ( oregano, thyme, basil, ) a Tablespoon of each
2 cups tasty vegetable broth.
1/4 -1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts, ( optional, but delicious)
salt and pepper to taste
On low heat, slowly saute onions, garlic, brown rice and chopped yellow pepper in olive oil for 5-7 minutes in a large skillet, stirring frequently until onions are soft but not browned. Add chopped tomatoes, raisins, dried thyme and lemon juice and cook an additional 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add broth, salt and cracked pepper if desired and any additional fresh herbs. Bring to a boil, cover with a lid and continue to cook on low until rice is soft . When you turn off the heat, leave the lid on to steam for about 15 more minutes . Uncover and toss in toasted pine nuts ( optional) Then stuff the peppers and tomatoes. ( you may have stuffing left over . Stuff more vegetables or just eat the leftover rice as a delicious side dish.
Cook the peppers and tomatoes if desired , but the peppers and tomatoes can be served raw just the way they are! - (I usually cook them.)
To cook the stuffed peppers and tomatoes: Spray a Dutch oven with cooking spray. Place stuffed tomatoes and pepper in the plan. Turn on med heat and cook for about 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup lemon juice,1 cup tomato juice, and 1/2 cup broth. Cook uncovered in the juice for 5 minutes on medium basting peppers with tomato and lemon sauce. Cover and cook an additional 10-15 minutes until peppers and tomatoes are soft. Remove tomatoes earlier if they start to get too soft.
** note: If you use a large pepper, cut in in half to serve
|Sometimes I stuff small mini peppers too|
What type of stuffed vegetables do you make? What is your favorite Greek Food?
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