Friday, September 28, 2012

Lemony Greek Stuffed Tomatoes or Peppers ( Vegan)

vegan stuffed peppers

stuffed peppers |gluten freeLong before my recent trip to Greece, I had always loved and prepared Greek food such as these lemony Greek stuffed tomatoes (or peppers). I have been making them for years using my mother-in- laws recipe from Egypt. So many Greek and Middle Eastern foods are similar and are naturally gluten free.

I don't know why, but most Mediterranean countries notoriously like to stuff their vegetables. My mother- in-law (from Egypt) stuffs onions, grape leaves, squashes, peppers, and artichokes. Stuffed vegetables make an interesting colorful 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 of the lemon. These stuffed vegetables are light, tasty, gluten free, and vegan!  So enjoy!

A few photos from my trip to Greece!

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)

stuffed peppers
Slice off the tops and hollow out the vegetables saving the inside of the tomato for the stuffing
rice stuffing
Prepare and cook the rice stuffing separately
vegan stuffed tomatoes and peppers
This picture shows the vegetables, stuffed but uncooked ( you can eat them this way or cook them)

vegan and gluten freevstuffed tomatoes and peppers
Stuff the hollowed out vegetables

gluten free stuffed peppers at
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)

Stuffing Ingredients

1 and half cups raw brown rice, washed and drained very well ( on Passover substitute raw washed quinoa)
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 or vegetable broth to sautee oil-free
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, ) one 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 or vegetable broth for oil-free 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 or if you like, the peppers and tomatoes can be served raw just the way they are!  - (I prefer to 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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  1. These are really delicious!!!

  2. I love stuffed things and these loook sooo tasty. Similar ingredients for stuffed grape leaves, I love those too but they are hard to find. Cool photos.

  3. These look fantastic! I'm always up for savory dishes with lemon.

  4. I love the raisins and the pin nuts in your stuffing. The pics of your trip are wonderful. I only spent a day in Athens... wise I had spent more time in Greece.

    1. The raisins and pine nuts make this recipe special.. Our trip was fabulous

  5. Ohboyohboyohboy those looks so good! I want to rush out and buy all the fixin's for these right now. I'm so glad you linked this to Food on Fridays. AND...those photos from your trip? Wow. I've never been to Greece, but I'd sure love to go someday. I almost got to go once, but the opportunity fell apart at the last minute.

    1. Ann,
      thank you for your enthusiasm about my stuffed peppers and YES they are that good.

  6. Oh, what a gorgeous and flavorful dish!!! :)

  7. Oh these look delicious! I'll have to try it. I'm stuffing some acorn squash this week!

  8. I have LOTS of tomatoes to use up! This is perfect!! Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! :) See you next Friday! Next Friday one lucky blogger will be randomly selected to win a case of Planet Rice! Its yummy! Its gluten free, sprouted and grown in the US. You can link up to 3 entries! The more you link up the better you chances to win! (entries from US only) Cindy from

  9. Hi Judee,
    I just love the photos of your awesome trip, what wonderful memories. Your Greek Stuffed Tomatoes and Peppers look delicious. Thanks so much for sharing with Foods of The World as we visit Greece.
    Miz Helen

  10. What's a vacation without great meals and who can resist this healthy, delectable dish! Thanks for sharing your Lemony Greek Stuffed Tomatoes or Peppers recipe and lovely photos with us on the Plant-Based Potluck Party Blog Hop. I'm pinning and sharing.

  11. Love that you left the tomatoes raw. Cheers

  12. Those look wonderful! You and Beth Fish Reads are on the same page today!

  13. Ha! Stuffed veggies is the rule this week. I think these would be awesome with either rice or quinoa. I've always wanted to go to Greece ... maybe my next trip. :)

  14. I have never stuffed tomatoes, however I loved stuffed vegetables. They are just a little time consuming. Looks like a lovely time in Greece.

  15. So bright and colorful--these look delicious!


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