Friday, March 15, 2013

Yemista Piperi (Banana Peppers
Stuffed with Ricotta and Mint)

Earlier this week I posted a recipe for Vegetarian Stuffed Tomatoes topped with Bechamel Sauce and mentioned the many and varied versions of this Greek dish known as "Yemista". Tony and I are planning on creating a cheese-filled yemista of sorts for one of our Meat-free/Carb-free week meals next week so I thought I should do a quick test run with some home-made ricotta to make sure it held up to the task.

The ricotta performed very well indeed, perhaps a little too well... to the point of causing a scientific phenomenon known as Exploding Pepper Collapse. I think my choice of vegetable to stuff had a lot to do with the unfortunate result here. I've stuffed long, thin peppers before, but not with self-combusting cheese.

Obviously the use of a self-standing vegetable like a plump tomato or a sturdy capsicum would avoid the gravitational tendency of ricotta cheese that, given the opportunity, will simply remove itself from its surrounds. And that's exactly why I conducted this experiment. I now know not to use sideways-lying banana peppers for our recipe next week!

Before explosion – beautiful, neatly stuffed peppers

After explosion – not one bit of stuffing left inside the peppers

They might have been a bit of a visual fail but they still tasted amazing. It's a really, really simple filling but oh so flavoursome. Mint and ricotta are just magic together.

Yemista Piperi (Banana Peppers Stuffed with Ricotta and Mint)

Serves 4


  • 4 small red or green self-standing capsicums (or banana peppers if you'd like to recreate the Exploding Pepper Collapse phenomenon)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 400g fresh ricotta
  • 3 tablespoons mint, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Fry the onions in 3 tablespoons of oil until golden.
  2. Meanwhile, cut the tops off capsicums and set aside. Using a paring knife, carefully remove seeds and membranes from the capsicums (or banana peppers).
  3. Place cooked onions, ricotta, mint, salt and pepper in a large bowl and mix well.
  4. Pour the remaining olive oil into a high-sided baking dish and roll capsicum (or banana pepper) shells in oil to coat.
  5. Stand capsicum shells upright and stuff with cheese mixture, (or lay banana peppers flat) then cover with capsicum tops.
  6. Bake in oven for 1 hour, or until capsicums are starting to brown.
  7. Serve with a simple tomato and cucumber salad mixed with fresh shredded mint and extra virgin olive oil.


  1. Never mind the spilling of contents! Some greek dishes are meant to be messy and this one looks very greek to me! Lovely post Lisa

    1. Thanks Jenny! You're right, Greek food and mess go together well. Especially in my kitchen!

  2. I guess you could say that they were "bursting with flavour!"


    1. Haha, I love it!! Maybe I should have called the dish "Peppers With a Bang"!

  3. even if they exploded, they look amazing! so excited for your meat and carb-free week challenge with tony next week!

    1. Thanks Caitlin, we're excited too! We've just come up with another recipe idea - Briam with Cinnamon-baked Tofu. Oregano and cinnamon is a combination I love so I think it might go down a treat.

  4. So many vegan recipes...

    Thank you so much for posting so many meat-free recipes.

    Blog : global vegan fare

    1. Thanks Kumudha. Yes there are a few vegan recipes here (and more to come!) and certainly everything here is meat-free, but you would have to exchange the cheese in Yemista Piperi with rice or perhaps a medley or other vegetables to veganise it. There are so many varieties of yemista - only limited by your imagination!

  5. We have some banana capsicums growing in the garden and I will definitely be giving this ago, at the risk of explosion and all!

    1. Yes! Risk it Christine! I was also thinking you might be able to stand them upright, tightly packed together in a small bread tin or something (perhaps with a large tray underneath to capture any explosive matter!)

  6. Are these peppers kinda sweet? I don't think I've ever seen em before. I'll be on the lookout for them now!

    1. Hi Lauren, yeah, they are sweeter than regular peppers, but only a little. They go really well in salads too, just chopped up raw. I don't see them very often in the stores but when I do, I stock up!! I love these things..


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