This is my take on the Middle Eastern vegetarian dolma or stuffed vegetables, a fantastic dish that brings the whole family around the table. Using only simple ingredients, you can cook a meal that is nutritious, delicious and filling. Although it is suitable for those on a vegetarian or vegan diet, meat lovers will also go for it. And what’s not to be loved!!!
Dolma can refer to stuffed vegetables like peppers, onions, aubergines, courgettes, tomatoes, but also to rolled grape leaves or pickled cabbage filled with rice and vegetables and/or meat. The dish is very popular in many Middle Eastern and some European cuisines. In Romania, we even have meat and rice rolls treasured as our national dish, throughly enjoyed during festive times like Christmas, New Year, Easter and so on. My Romanian stuffed cabbage rolls with chicken and rice is an example of how we prepare such dish. So tasty! Stuffed peppers are also common, the others not as much, at least not in my family.
The bigger the family, the larger the pan! At Christmas, mum gets to cook about 80 or so rolls, and we are not really that many. Imagine very large families, they must cook enough to feed an entire army! The ingredients l listed below are more or less enough to feed 4-6 people, so just adjust the numbers accordingly. Also feel free to add more seasoning, l tend to use less so my cheeky monkey toddler can eat it too.
Middle Eastern vegetarian dolma or stuffed vegetables (aubergines/eggplant, onions and peppers), a healthy and filling dish for the whole family. Vegan friendly recipe.
- 2 green peppers
- 1 red pepper
- 1 yellow pepper
- 2 aubergines / eggplant
- 3 onions
- 10 tbsp basmati rice
- 1 large carrot
- 2 green onions
- 1 garlic clove
- 3 tomatoes
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp caraway seeds
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- juice from 2 lemons
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cups water
Cut the stalk end of the peppers and aubergines into a lid, scoop out the seeds or/and the flesh and set aside.
Use a sharp knife to cut the ends of the onions, peel them and boil in salty water for about 15 minutes. Once soften, separating the layers for stuffing should be a lot easier.
Make a cut on the side and separate each layer.
Wash the rice under cold water until it runs clear.
Finely chopped the green onions, carrot, tomatoes and parsley and mix with the rice.
Season with salt, pepper, paprika and caraway seeds.
Stuff the peppers, aubergines and onions and arrange them in a large pan. Put the lids back on the peppers, l used slices of carrots to make a lid of the aubergines. The onions can be rolled tightly. Do not stuff the vegetables right to the top, about 2/3 should do.
Place a plate on top of the vegetables to ensure the stuffing does not overflow.
Mix 4 cups of boiling water with the lemon juice, olive oil and tomato purée and pour over the vegetables.
Boil on a medium heat until the rice is cooked and the vegetables are soft, it is hard to appreciate for how long, l would say at least 45 minutes.