Olivia’s gemista
Peppers are not native to Greece, but instead arrived from the New World in the late 15th century. Now, they are synonymous with Mediterranean cuisine. My gemista nods to the pepper’s origin by substituting quinoa for rice and using turkey instead of beef, giving a uniquely American twist to the traditional stuffed pepper. The berbere chili-spice gives the filling a complex depth of flavour and the chilis add an extra kick. This recipe has now replaced the other version in our household.
Servings Prep Time
4people 40minutes
Cook Time
Servings Prep Time
4people 40minutes
Cook Time
  1. Preheat the oven to 200℃, 390℉, Gas Mark 6 Start by hollowing out your peppers. Cut the tops off but do not discard them. Remove all the seeds from the inside of the pepper and any that may be on the tops. You will use the tops as a hat on the pepper.
  2. Next, chop the mushrooms into slices or cubes, dice the onion, finely chop or crush the garlic; and set all of the ingredients aside, keeping them separate.
  3. If you are using kale, roughly chop the kale and set aside. However, if you are using spinach there is no need to chop it.You can also use frozen spinach or kale.
  4. Cook the quinoa by following the package instructions and set aside until needed.
  5. You will need to brown the turkey first. Heat a pan on high heat and add 55ml olive oil with 2 tsp of ground cumin, 2 tsp of coriander, 1-1.5 tsp of chili powder, 2 tsp berbere and ground black pepper. Add the ground turkey and stir continuously to brown the meat and break up any large pieces. While you are stirring add 2 tsp of salt. Once the meat has been browned turn the heat to low.
  6. Now in another pan, repeat the step of heating the same amount of cumin, coriander, chili powder, berbere and ground pepper as before. Once the mix begins to steam add the olive oil, onion and garlic and stir. Once the onions become translucent turn the heat to medium, throw in the mushrooms and stir.
  7. As soon as the mushrooms start becoming soft add the spinach or kale. Stir and cook, letting it shrink a little and then add 2 tsp of salt. Stir again and then cover. Once the spinach has shrunken down completely the vegetables should be ready.
  8. Now it’s time to add all the components together. Add the quinoa to the turkey meat and mix well and then add the vegetables. Let the mixture cook together for 2 minutes. Taste and add more salt, pepper or spices depending on your taste.
  9. Now pack the hollowed peppers with the mixture and cover with the pepper tops. Coat the bottom of an ovenproof dish with olive oil. Then using a pastry brush coat the outside of the peppers with olive oil as well (including the tops). [stand them upright?] and bake for 1 hr 15 mins, until the peppers have softened and the tops have started to brown.
  10. Let them cool and serve with a fresh salad.
Recipe Notes
Nutrition Facts
Olivia’s gemista
Amount Per Serving
Calories 605 Calories from Fat 234
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 26g 40%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Polyunsaturated Fat 6g
Monounsaturated Fat 11g
Cholesterol 126mg 42%
Sodium 2548mg 106%
Potassium 2606mg 74%
Total Carbohydrates 52g 17%
Dietary Fiber 15g 60%
Sugars 15g
Protein 49g 98%
Vitamin A 401%
Vitamin C 554%
Calcium 35%
Iron 73%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.