Delicious Greek Stuffed Peppers (Gemista) Recipe

To make Stuffed Peppers Dinner Ideas

Greek Stuffed Peppers
Greek Stuffed Peppers

Greek stuffed peppers, known as Gemista, are a quintessential dish in Greek cuisine. Bursting with flavor, these peppers are typically filled with a savory mixture of rice, herbs, and occasionally meat, then baked to perfection. This hearty dish is not only delicious but also healthy, making it a favorite for family dinners and special occasions alike.


For the Peppers

  • 6 large bell peppers (any color)
  • 1 cup long-grain rice
  • 1 lb ground beef (optional)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (14 oz)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)

For the Sauce

  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Step-by-Step Cooking Instructions

Preparing the Peppers

  1. Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Prepare the Peppers: Cut the tops off the bell peppers and remove the seeds and membranes. Set the tops aside as they will be used as lids.
  3. Sauté the Onions and Garlic: In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic, sautéing until they become translucent and fragrant.
  4. Cook the Meat (if using): If you are including ground beef, add it to the skillet and cook until browned. Break the meat into small pieces as it cooks.
  5. Add the Rice and Other Ingredients: Stir in the rice, pine nuts, raisins, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, cinnamon, oregano, salt, and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
  6. Stuff the Peppers: Spoon the rice mixture into the hollowed-out bell peppers, filling them almost to the top. Replace the tops of the peppers to act as lids.

Baking the Peppers

  1. Arrange in a Baking Dish: Place the stuffed peppers upright in a baking dish. If they don’t stand well, trim the bottoms slightly to level them.
  2. Prepare the Sauce: In a small bowl, mix together the tomato sauce, water, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Pour this sauce over and around the peppers in the baking dish.
  3. Cover and Bake: Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes to allow the peppers to brown slightly.


  1. Garnish and Serve: Once cooked, remove the peppers from the oven and let them cool slightly. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve warm. These stuffed peppers can be enjoyed on their own or with a side of Greek salad and crusty bread.

Nutritional Information

Gemista is a nutritious dish that offers a balanced mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. The addition of vegetables, herbs, and lean meat provides essential vitamins and minerals. Here’s a quick look at the nutritional benefits:

  • Calories: Approximately 250-300 per pepper (without meat)
  • Protein: 6-8 grams (20-25 grams with meat)
  • Fat: 10-12 grams (varies with the type of meat used)
  • Carbohydrates: 35-40 grams
  • Fiber: 5-7 grams

Tips and Tricks

  1. Vegetarian Version: For a vegetarian version, simply omit the ground beef and increase the amount of rice and vegetables.
  2. Herb Variations: Feel free to experiment with different herbs such as mint or dill for a unique flavor twist.
  3. Advance Preparation: The filling can be prepared a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Simply stuff and bake the peppers when ready to serve.

Serving and Pairing Suggestions

Gemista pairs wonderfully with a variety of side dishes and beverages:

  • Sides: Greek salad, tzatziki, or roasted potatoes.
  • Wine Pairing: A crisp white wine like Assyrtiko or a light red wine such as Agiorgitiko complements the flavors beautifully.
  • Dessert: Finish the meal with a traditional Greek dessert like baklava or galaktoboureko.
Dinner Ideas


Greek stuffed peppers, or Gemista, are a delightful addition to any dinner table. Their versatility and rich flavors make them a favorite among both adults and children. Whether you’re looking for a healthy weeknight dinner or a dish to impress guests, Gemista is an excellent choice. Try this recipe and bring a taste of Greece into your home!

Cooking with Greek People YouTube

Author: Bob

With over 20 years in Bioinformatics and AI in Molecular Diagnostics, Bob Stavrou advises BiCos, focusing on authenticating OLIVE OIL DNA. He's also a passionate contributor to YouTube Cooking with Greek People and appeared on Greek TV show Savvatokiriako Me Ton Manesi, bridging science and culinary arts. Watch it on Alpha TV.

Table of Contents

About the Author