Long before my trip to Greece in July of 2009, I had always loved 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. You can make a plate of all stuffed tomatoes or add peppers too if you like. I like the contrast of yellow peppers against the red tomatoes.It looks so pretty and colorful!
Greek and Middle Eastern 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|
|Stuff the hollowed out vegetables|
|This picture shows the vegetables, stuffed but uncooked ( you can eat them this way or cook them)|
|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|
What type of stuffed vegetables do you make? What is your favorite Greek Food?
To be shared on the following recipe carnivals:
Simply Sweet Home Friday’s Favorites ;Food on Fridays ; Foodie Friday ,Fight Back Fridays Friday Food, Allergy-Friendly Frida, Natural Mother's Network, Food Friday Real Food Freaks, Wellness Weekend, Healthy Vegan Fridays Gluten Free Friday
Pity Party Summer Lovin Saturdays; Party Mindie Style; Shindig Saturday; Whatcha Got Weekend (WGW); Creative-ly U Link-up; Strut Your Stuff Saturday; Cookbooks and Glue Sticks Country Mama Cooks
Every Day Sisters Sharing Sundays; Your Recipe, My Kitchen Seasonal Sundays at The Tablescaper, I Gotta Create. Petite Hermine Sunday Linky Sunny Sunday Sunday Blog Love; Sunday Linky Party;Sundae Scoop; Seasonal Sundays; Sunday Show Off; It's so Very Cheri; Sunday Showcase Party; Natashia in Oz Sunday Seasonal Celebration, Sugar-Free Sunday Superfoods Sunday