Gemista | A Cyprus Traditional Plate of Stuffed Vegetables

Greeks do it better but the recipe that follows is a traditionally original Cypriot recipe called “koupepia” and “gemista”, meaning meat and rice stuffed in vine or cabbage leaves and/or vegetables like tomatoes, potatoes and red peppers.

Koupepia and gemista  are widely known in Cypriot homes and the recipe is passed on from generation to generation. Although today we are going to maintain and stick to the original recipe, we will add lots of creative colors and taste.

Koupepia are originally made with fresh vine leaves but my version is made with huge cabbage leaves while gemista  are stuffed peppers, tomatoes and potatoes. This is not exactly an easy recipe but if you generally  love cooking, you won’t find it that difficult to make it. The stuffed vegetables and koupepia work miracles with Greek yogurt and fresh Cypriot salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, rocket, coriander and feta cheese. You will need to spend lots of time in the kitchen to prepare these dishes and it’s great if you have a helper, this is why in Cyprus we usually serve koupepia and gemista at big family gatherings and parties where relatives gather from before in order to prepare certain dishes, with some Cyprus coffee and lots of gossiping…!!!

Kali Orexi..!!!











 Level of difficulty: 5/5

Serves: 4

Calories: 143 ( 1 tomato) 

                 300 (1 pepper)

                  253 (1 potato)

                 240 (per 100 g of koupepia)


2 bunches of huge cabbage leavs slightly boiled

2 tomatoes peeled on the inside

2 potatoes peeled on the inside

2 red onions peeled on the inside

1 kg of  pork loin minced meat

2 huge finely chopped red onions

½ bunch of finely chopped parsley

½ glass of glazed rice – Karolina

The juice of 3 lemons

250 g of slightly concentrated tomatoes juice or purée

250 g of freshly grated ripe tomatoes

½ glass of pure Greek olive oil

A generous pinch of salt

1 teaspoon of grounded cinnamon

1 tablespoon of finely grated dry mint


For the cooking

1/3 of a glass of pure olive oil

1/3 of a glass of water

1/3 of a glass of tomato puree



Slightly boil the cabbage leaves to get softer and by using the appropriate tool remove the inside of the vegetables, leaving a hole to put in the stuffing.

Remove the cabbage leaves from the water and place them in a drainer.

Mix all the ingredients in a big bowl and make an even stuffing.

Open your cabbage leaves in a big plate, remove the lower end, and leave a soft leaf. Using a big spoon pour in a sufficient amount of stuffing and roll the leaf including the sides, to form a closed cylinder.

Place the closed leaf, which is called “koupepi” at the bottom of a big casserole.

Repeat with all the leaves and place them in your casserole, one next to each other.

When your “koupepia” are done, use the remaining meat stuffing to fill the holes of your vegetables and place them in another casserole.

Place both casseroles on separate gas hobs or fires and fill them with the mixture of the cooking juice.

Cover your casseroles and leave them on a slow fire for at least 45-60 minutes or until cooked well.