Vegan | Gluten-free
Yemista is a traditional Greek dish with stuffed peppers and tomatoes, it’s usually filled with ground beef and rice. Instead of the beef, I used a mix of a mushrooms and instead of rice, I went the slick route and tried out quinoa (which… ta-da… doesn’t taste so quinoa-ey in this dish). The flavor is really scrumptious, and the presentation of these babies? You will impress everyone. This also received the Greek husband seal of approval. Give it a try and let me know if you agree!
4 bell peppers (any color you like!)
2-3 small tomatoes or 1 can diced tomatoes
2 cups chopped mushrooms (I used a mix of shitake, oyster, and cremini)
1/2 cup quinoa
1 large shallot or 1 small yellow onion (chopped)
4 garlic cloves (minced)
2 tbsp olive oil
Pinch of salt and pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Pre-heat the oven to 400f degrees. Take peppers and slice the top off, if there is a large stem, trim it down, if it falls off it’s OK! Clean the inside with your fingers, remove the seeds and pith, set aside. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to a skillet and over a low-medium flame, saute the chopped shallot/onion for a few minutes until soft, add the minced garlic, then the mushrooms. Season with salt, pepper, and oregano as you stir for approx. 5 minutes while everything softens. If you need a little more olive oil here since the mushrooms start off dry, drizzle that in.
Add diced tomatoes (if using a can, go easy on the liquid). You need at least 2 tomatoes or 3/4 of a 15oz. can, after that use your judgment on if you want more tomato than that – to your taste. Press tomato chunks down with a wooden spoon as you stir everything together, as you see it simmering, add the thyme and cinnamon. Taste to see if more salt or pepper is needed.
Once everything is mixed, add your dried quinoa (if you need to rinse the quinoa first, let it air dry a bit before adding). Mix everything up once more and prep your peppers in baking dish (a deep casserole dish helps them stay up if you have one), add a little water to cover the bottom of your dish and then stand your peppers up. Turn the flame off of your stuffing and begin filling the peppers. Once they are filled, return the tops of the peppers to the… well, top. BUT! Here is a trick, strait from a Greek mother, turn the tops upside down. So the stems will be inside the filling. This keeps it from closing completely so the filling can leak out if necessary.
Cover your dish with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes, then remove the tin foil, pick the pepper tops up or move aside and fluff your filling with a fork or spoon. Then continue baking for an additional 30 minutes (1 hour total). Check to make sure the quinoa is cooked properly, leave it in for an extra 10-15 minutes if not.
Put the pepper tops back on right-side up for presentation and serve. Enjoy.