If you are in need of some inspiration this lent in the lead up to Orthodox Easter, you are looking in the right place.

Neos Kosmos will be sharing some fasting-friendly recipes to get mouths watering at the dinner table.

This week passionate home cook Rally shares a family favourite during lent, ‘gemista’, also known as stuffed tomatoes.

There are may ways to cook gemista when it comes to the filling. When lent is not taking place, it is commonplace to add beef or lamb mince to the mixture.

With Rally’s recipe you won’t have to worry about your gemista coming out dry!
“You will find that adding water to the recipe may not be necessary as the tomatoes release their own juices to aid in the cooking process,” she said.

If you’re looking to mix it up, you can also replace the tomatoes with stuffed capsicums, or have a mixture of both. You can serve these delicious stuffed tomatoes with a side of olives, bread and a green salad. Happy cooking!

READ MORE: Fasting and feasting tides of Greek Orthodox eating habits for the year

Serves: 6


12 large tomatoes
1 large onion
1 bunch spring onions
½ bunch continental parsley
Small bunch of dill & mint
One can crushed tomatoes
2.5 cups of long grain rice
1 cup passata
Salt & pepper to taste
½ tsp caster sugar
1 cup olive oil
2 tbsp Nea Fitini/vegetable oil shortening

1. Prep your herbs and tomatoes by giving them a good wash. Preheat oven to 160 degrees, fan forced.
2. Cut off 1cm thick tops off the tomatoes to create a ‘lid’, place tomatoes in a deep baking tray.
3. Scoop out the insides of your tomatoes into a bowl, leaving half a centimetre on the inside. Set aside the scooped out tomato.
4. Grate the onion into a bowl, chop up the spring onion along with the continental parsley, dill and mint and place it in the bowl with the grated onion.
5. Rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear, add rice to the onion and herb mix.
6. Add passata and can of crushed tomatoes to the rice mixture.
7. Grate scooped out tomatoes into the rice mixture, discarding the core.
8. Add salt, pepper, sugar and olive oil to the rice mixture, mix well.
9. Fill your tomatoes to the top with the rice mixture, be careful not to press down or overfill.
10. Place a small dollop of Fitini on top of each filled tomato and then place the tops back on top of the tomatoes. Drizzle olive oil over the top.
11. Place baking tray in the oven for 1.5 hours, or until rice is cooked.
12. Remove once cooked through, enjoy!

Tip: If your tomatoes are toppling over, you can reinforce them by cutting up some large potatoes into quarters long ways, season them with salt and pepper and place them in between your tomatoes to stabilise them.