Mrs Maria is a dear friend of my aunt Stavroula. She gave me this recipe to include in my cookbook, My Greek Family Table. Mrs Maria cooks many traditional Greek dishes, such as stuffed tomatoes and lamb. She feels it’s important to share her recipes to ensure they survive.






Skill level

Average: 3.4 (18 votes)


  • 10 medium-sized tomatoes, washed
  • extra virgin olive oil, for frying
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 kg lean beef mince (or lamb)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup rice
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • tzatziki, to serve
  • Greek-style yoghurt, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Resting time 30 minutes

The following recipe has been tested and edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the podcast.

Slice the tops off the tomatoes and reserve for later. Hollow the tomatoes by removing and discarding the seeds and flesh.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet or frypan over low heat. Add the onion and beef mince. Cook for 5 minutes or until the meat browns. Season with salt and pepper. Add the rice and tomato paste, mixing well. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

Preheat oven to 180°C. 

Stuff the tomatoes with the beef mixture. Top with the reserved tomato tops, and arrange in a baking dish so that the tops face downwards. Add enough water to cover the bottom of the baking dish. Drizzle olive oil over the tomatoes.

Bake for 1 hour or until cooked. Turn off the heat and leave the tomatoes in the oven for 30 minutes before serving. Remove carefully from the serving dish, using two spoons.

Serve with tzatziki or Greek-style yoghurt.

Text © 2012 Maria Benardis