Stuffed vegetables (greek gemista)


If you are looking for a way to promote your vegetables from a simple "side" to the star of your meal, look no further. Stuffed vegetables pack a variety of nutrients and vitamins, can support your energy levels and keep you full for longer. This recipe also makes for a great post-cardio meal and can be easily adjusted to what you have at your pantry (i.e don't have rice? use quinoa or even lentils instead if you want to up the protein content).


Ingredients (for 6-8 portions)

2 aubergines (or zucchini)

3 bell peppers

5-6 tomatoes ideally a bit large in size to handle easier

12 tablespoons wild rice (1 for each vegetable plus 2 extra)

1 can chopped tomatoes

2/3 cup olive oil

1 brown onion cut in chunks

a handful of finely chopped parsley (or other herb of your choice)

Salt and black pepper

Directions


1. Prepare the vegetables and add them in a deep baking tray (aim to create an outer "shell" of about 0.5cm or less, thick enough to hold the stuffing without leaking).


  • Peppers: cut out the top part with a knife (and keep it on the side) and carefully remove the seeds

  • Aubergines: cut a slice from the long side of the aubergines, big enough to allow you to remove most of the flesh using a knife and spoon. Dice the flesh and keep on the side in a large bowl.

  • Tomatoes: cut out the top part and using a spoon remove the flesh (including the tomato juices) and keep to the side.




2. In a hand mixer blend together the brown onion chunks and the tomato flesh you kept. Combine the mixture with the diced aubergine flesh.

3. Add the parsley, wild rice and 1/3 cup of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Combine well with a spoon.

4. Using a spoon, fill each vegetable up to 2/3 of it with the stuffing mix (don't fill your veg all the way to the top as rice expands when cooked). Use the top parts of each vegetable to cover the stuffing (this ensures your stuffing won't get overcooked).

5. In a bowl combine the remaining 1/3 cup of olive oil with the can of chopped tomatoes , add a bit of salt and pepper and spread equally on top of the tray to cover the veg.

6. Move the tray to a preheated oven and bake for about 1 hour in 180 degrees fan or grill till the vegetables get softer and start to change colour.

7. Serve with some feta cheese or low fat yogurt and enjoy!

Bonus tip: you can play around with adding carrots or mushrooms in the stuffing mix to add more flavour, or remove the vegetable tops about 5-10 minutes before they are ready and add a few cubes of low fat cheese for melting.

Nutrition facts for each portion: 160 calories, 10g carbs, 4g protein, 10g fat (predominantly unsaturated fatty acid from the olive oil)

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