Recipe: Calissa Chef Bob Abrams’ Yemista

Yemista at Calissa
Yemista at Calissa
Courtesy Calissa

Yemista (traditional Greek stuffed peppers) is one of our favorite Greek dishes, and Chef Bob Abrams’ take on it at Calissa is one of our favorite versions of the dish.

 Calissa Chef Bob Abrams’ Yemista


4 large bell peppers (any color you prefer)
1 yellow onion (diced)
3 tbsp olive oil (divided)
1/4 cup fresh parsley (chopped)
1 lb ground lamb
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp oregano
2 tbsp fresh mint (chopped)
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp black pepper
1 cup fresh tomatoes (chopped)
1/2 cup rice (uncooked)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce


1. Preheat the oven to 350°

2. Cut pepper tops off about 1/2 inch from the top. Set tops aside.

3. Take a small paring knife and remove all inside seeds. Set peppers aside.

4. Bring a large pot of water to boil.

For the Stuffing:

1. In a large skillet, sauté diced onion and chopped parsley in 1 tbsp of the oil until softened and starting to brown.

2. Add ground lamb and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Then add chopped fresh mint, chopped tomatoes and all spices.

3. Add rice to the skillet and stir to coat. Pour in 1 cup of water. Bring to boil, cover and simmer for 15–20 minutes until rice is cooked.

4. While that is simmering, go back to the peppers. Once a large pot of water is boiling, add peppers and pepper tops and blanch for 5 minutes.

5. While they are cooking, spoon and spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce onto bottom of a baking dish. Remove peppers from water, dry them off, add to a baking dish cut side up.

6. Once stuffing is done cooking, spoon back into peppers. Spoon tomato sauce on top of each pepper. and sprinkle with cheese. Drizzle with remaining olive oil.

7. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes with pepper tops on.

8. Before serving, remove tops and spoon pan sauce over peppers, replace tops and serve.

For more Calissa dishes, visit or visit the restaurant at 1020 Montauk Highway, Water Mill.

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