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Recipes from home

Dimitra’s stuffed tomatoes recipe

Earlier this year, the IRC in Greece hosted cooking workshops for refugee and local women living on the island of Lesbos. Some of the women who took part talked to us about their experience and shared their recipes.

A woman stands against a wall that reads, "Nan."
Photo: Stefania Mizara/IRC

Earlier this year, the IRC in Greece hosted cooking workshops for refugee and local women living on the island of Lesbos. Some of the women who took part talked to us about their experience and shared their recipes.

Dimitra, born and raised in Lesbos, shared her recipe for stuffed tomatoes and peppers. “I chose this dish because it is fresh and summery,” she says, but also because the dish represents her own migrant heritage. Her grandparents came to Greece as refugees from Asia Minor. It was her grandmother who taught her how to make stuffed tomatoes.

“I made the Asia Minor version, just like my grandmother did, where we put pine nuts and raisins together with the rice,” she says, adding, “The situation on Lesbos is hard for both refugees and locals, but we shouldn’t lose our humanity.”

All people are equal.

Stuffed Tomatoes and Peppers

Ingredients

  • 5 large tomatoes, tops carefully cored and saved, pulp removed and coarsely chopped
  • 5 large green peppers, tops carefully cored and saved, seeds and spines removed
  • 1 cup feta cheese
  • 10 tablespoons Carolina rice, rinsed
  • 1 onion, grated
  • 1 zucchini, grated (discard excess water)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 medium potatoes, quartered
  • 3 ounces pine nuts
  • 3 ounces raisins
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped (save the stalks)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped
  • Smoked paprika, hot paprika, chilli flakes, salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup olive oil
Tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, and other ingredients on a table

The stuffed tomatoes recipe serves approximately 5 people.

Photo: Stefania Mizara/IRC

Steps

  • In a large bowl, mix together the rice, zucchini, onion and garlic, half the chopped tomatoes, the feta cheese, the herbs, and the pine nuts and raisins.
  • Stir in the oil, the smoked and hot paprika, salt and pepper, and mix well.
A woman holds a bowl of salt over a table of ingredients for stuffed tomatoes.

The workshops were held in Nan restaurant in Mytilini on the island of Lesvos.

Photo: Photo: Stefania Mizara/IRC
  • Fill the tomatoes and peppers with the mixture (there should be one spoonful for each tomato/pepper).
  • Place the stuffed tomatoes and peppers in a baking pan along with the coarsely chopped tomatoes, the potatoes, and the leftover parsley stalks.
Two woman add salt to a bowl of ingredients for stuffed peppers.

"We knew that local women did not usually have the chance to meet refugee women and interact with refugee women and that giving them this chance could bring a change in attitudes and a warmer welcome." Said Martha Roussou, Senior Advocacy Manage for the IRC.

Photo: Photo: Stefania Mizara/IRC
  • Put the “lids” on the tomatoes and peppers, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees for at least 1 hour.
  • When the lids appear well cooked, the tomatoes and peppers are ready; serve with potatoes and chopped tomatoes.
A woman adds filling to a green pepper.

On taking part in the IRC’s workshop, Dimitra said: “It was a great experience, I saw some differences in the way women cook around the world.”

Photo: Photo: Stefania Mizara/IRC

Recipes from Home

The Recipes from Home series presents dishes lovingly prepared by refugee and local women who attended the IRC cooking workshops held at Nan, a restaurant on the island of Lesbos. The aim of the workshops is to bring together people to promote common experiences and mutual understanding through the universal language of food.

The workshops were supported by the Western Union Foundation.