Recipe: Louloudakia Gemista

Homer St

A favourite among most Greek and Cypriot families - usually made with Gourd, Pumpkin or Zucchini flowers, grown in the family garden!


  • 45 large gourd, pumpkin or zucchini flowers
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 1 large white onion, finely diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • Half cup parsley, finely chopped
  • Half cup mint, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dill, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 200g tin chopped tomatoes
  • Pinch turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 1 birds eye chilli, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 1/3 cup olive oil for basting the pan and sprinkling over the flowers before baking


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large, deep frying pan. Add the onion. Cook until the onion is translucent.
  2. Add the garlic. Cook for a further 30 seconds, making sure not to burn
  3. Add the salt, pepper, chopped tomato and herbs, and stir until well combined.
  4. Add the rice to the pan, and stir until all the grains are well coated with the ingredients.
  5. Add 3 cups of boiling water to the pan, and allow the rice to cook through and the liquid to evaporate completely.
  6. Set the rice aside and allow the mixture to cool completely. It is important that the rice cools completely, otherwise when you try and fill the flowers they will wilt.
  7. Prepare a large pan for baking the flowers. I used an aluminium pan that was 45cm in diameter and 1.5cm in height. Brush the pan with enough olive oil to cover the base (or spray with oil spray)
  8. Wipe the flowers with a dry cloth, brushing off any dirt. It is best not to wet them as they will wilt and soften.
  9. Gently open the petals of the flowers, remove the stamen from each one (if there is one to remove)
  10. Holding the flower in your hand, with the petals open, fill the flower 3/4 of the way full. Bring the tops of the petals together, and twist them so that they seal. Tuck the twisted flower top behind the flower, and lay it into the baking pan with the tucked edge down (this will ensure they don’t explode open while baking). Repeat with all flowers.
  11. Sprinkle the flowers with parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. Cover the pan with foil.
  12. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Bake the flowers for 35 minutes. Remove the foil from the pan, and bake for a further 7 minutes, or until slightly golden.
This recipe was created by the lovely Effi Georgia - be sure to visit her blog for more Greek food inspiration!


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