Dolmas - Stuffed Vegetables

Dolmas - Stuffed Vegetables

This is another recipe for stuffed vegetables, this time, with oriental flavors. I'd say the presentation is very interesting. The coolest thing here is the fact that you can stuff various vegetables. The filling is not much different from the one you know in the simple cabbage rolls. Still, the difference lies in the multitude of flavors. The only spice you may not have at hand - a mix of 7 spices - is already available now, especially in Arabic or online spice stores. It can be omitted or replaced with a little turmeric, if you have. A great discovery for me were the stuffed onions. You really should make them because they are the best of all. Every time, they are the first to be hunted and eaten.

Various vegetables can be stuffed in this way, especially the ones below. You can add stuffed potatoes and more vine leaves, provided they are tender.

"Dolma" is the stuffing and the wrapping depends on everyone's taste, preferences, skills and appetites :) These stuffed veggies served with a lot of yogurt are extraordinarily good. You simply won't be able to stop trying them all: the eggplant, then the zucchini, but also the onions, and the onions again ....


Beef meat
1 kg
Short grain rice
500 g
2 pieces
small and thin eggplants
2 pieces
just like the eggplants - smaller and thinner
Bell pepper
5 pieces
2 pieces
5 pieces
choose to stuff red onions (they are sweeter and the layers are easier to separate); plus 1 more onion for the stuffing
Fresh grape leaves
10 pieces
preserved or frozen
White cabbage
1 piece
we only need 3-4 leaves
Turkish pepper paste
2 tbsp
2 tbsp
Fresh parsley
1 bunch
1 bunch
Garlic cloves
3 pieces
Sweet paprika
2 tsp
Ground black pepper
0.5 tsp
Sunflower oil
100 ml
Baharat - arabic 7 spice mix
2 tsp
you can also add 0.5 teaspoon of turmeric
Tomato juice
500 ml

Step by step


First, we prepare all the vegetables that are going to be stuffed:

- don't forget to wash well the grape leaves, if they are salty

- soak the cabbage in a large saucepan with hot water and remove 3-4 leaves from the top, let cool a bit.


Look at the kaleiodoscope of vegetables I had, perfect for cooking dolma in the season.


And, of course, the greens, the garlic and 1 onion for the stuffing - all washed, peeled and prepared beforehand.


We prepare the vegetables for the stuffing:

Don't panic if you see so many details in the steps, it's just to emphasize certain aspects.


- Peppers - cut around the stem with a knife, but don't go all the way, remove the core and the seeds - see the video for more details. Notice that we have a lid that holds the pepper, it's not cut completely.


- Eggplants - cut into 2-3 (depending on how big they are) and, with a knife, then with a teaspoon, scrape out the flesh from inside each piece.


- Zucchinis - just like the eggplant. Carefully dig inside, don't break them.

Important! Don't discard the flesh from the eggplants and zucchinis, we'll use it later for the stuffing.


- Red onions:

- cut very little from the root end, only the dirty part.


- with the tip of the knife, carve out the root end slightly. Try not to make a big hole, just carve out.


- cut the onion lengthwise, all the way to the centre.


- Slowly unfold with your fingers and slightly dislodge the layers.


- carefully remove the centre and set aside - we will chop it for the filling.


- and now we carefully remove the layers - you can also watch the video. It's pretty intuitive, you'll see.


- That's what an onion shell looks like when it's ready to be stuffed.


- White onions:

- the procedure is pretty much the same. The only difference is that white onions are slightly denser and harder so, after you carve out the root end and cut in half, keep the onion in hot boiling water for 10-15 minutes. This way, it will soften and you'll be able to work easier, the layers won't break.


- See what it looks like in the end.


And the tomatoes - slice the tops off, not all the way through and scoop out the flesh with a teaspoon.


We make the stuffing:

Heat the oil well in a pan.

Chop 1 whole onion and all the leftovers from the onions waiting to be stuffed.

Add to the pan, stir and cook for 5 minutes.



When the onions are lightly cooked, add in the flesh of the zucchinis, eggplants and tomatoes (chopped with a knife or with the food processor).

Stir and cook for 5 minutes.


Stir in the pepper or tomato paste and leave over heat for another 2 minutes.

Then turn off the heat and let cool a bit.


In a large bowl, place the beef / veal mince.

Add in washed rice, chopped greens, the vegetables sauteed in the pan, crushed garlic, black pepper, paprika, salt and the 7 spice mix.


Stir well, at first with a spoon and then with your hands until everything is combined.


We stuff the vegetables:

We take a large saucepan and start arranging all the stuffed vegetables in it.

Here are the peppers, try not to stuff them all the way through, leave some space for the rice to swell.


Here are the zucchinis and the eggplants.


Arrange them with the open side facing each other, so that the stuffing won't come out when boiling.


Place 2-3 teaspoons of stuffing inside the onion.


And roll up until the edges come on top of each other.


The same with tomatoes, fill, but not entirely.


Finally, the grape leaves - place 1 tablespoon of stuffing on the edge.


And roll as for the classic cabbage rolls.


Do the same with the cabbage leaves. If they are bigger, break them in half and cut away the hard centre.


The vegetables are ready, stuffed and nicely arranged in the pot.


Boil the stuffed veggies:

Pour 500ml of tomato juice into the pot.


Add a little more water, but not too much. The vegetables should not be fully submerged.


Place a plate over the top to put some pressure - the boiled vegetables shouldn't rise to the surface.

Turn on the heat under the pot. When it starts to boil, cover with a lid, turn the heat to low and let simmer for 1 hour and a half.


After that, turn off the heat and let the stuffed veggies infuse in the pot with the lid on for another 2-3 hours.


Before serving, remove the plate.


Now, if you have a large deep platter - such as the Turkish-Arab ones - turn out the stuffed vegetables onto it and serve on the festive table.

That is the exemplary way to do it.


I didn't have a big platter, so I carefully removed the stuffed vegetables from the pot with a spoon and arranged them on a large plate.


Serve hot with lots of yogurt and with great appetite!

The hardest thing is to stop eating :)


Quantity: 5 kg (5-7 liter pot)
Prep time: 240 min
Difficulty: intermediate
Ready in: 90 min
Publish date:

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