rice stuffing for vegetables & dolma

I am SO, completely, STUFFED with stuffing vegetables! I don’t want to eat another stuffed vegetable for a year! (Okay, maybe only a few months). My grandma took on the task of showing me how we stuff a heap of different vegetables back home in Syria. Terribly sweet of her. But I’m stuffed!

It seems like there isn’t a vegetable on earth we won’t stuff and cook in a deliciously thick tomato broth. Okra, zucchini, potato, cabbage, tomato, onions, capsicum, grape leaves.. You name it, we probably do it.

I’ve posted methods for potato, cabbage, and grape leaves – all of which use this standard stuffing.


Serves: 1 – 8 [look for the guide below]


1 1/4 cup rice

180g minced meat

1 tbs each: mixed spice, salt, pepper

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp safflower or a few threads of saffron (optional)

pinch of paprika (optional)


In a large bowl, mix the above ingredients and set aside.

Take any vegetable you love and core out using a zucchini corer, or scoop out flesh using a spoon. A brief method on using a corer can be found here.

A pic of when I used this stuffing recipe to stuff green tomatoes

Stuff the vegetable with the mixture until it’s 3/4 full.

Repeat until all cored vegetables are filled.

Place a large pot on high heat to bring water to a boil.

Place 3 tablespoons (approx – add more or less, to taste) tomato paste into the water. Add mint flakes, salt, and mixed spice.

Stir through. You can also add your favourite stock cubes if you like – balance the broth to your liking.

Place the stuffed vegetables into the broth making sure they are immersed.

General Rule of Thumb: add a large plate and weight to press down on the vegetables. If this is a bother, use anything that is heavy and can put weight on the stuffed veggies. This ensures that the stuffing does not spew out of the vegetables into the broth. Mum and I never use this technique but my grandma insists on it.

Cover the pot and turn down the heat to medium-low and cook until vegetable is tender and rice is cooked.

Half way into the cooking process, crush a few cloves of garlic and add to the pot. NOTE: for vegetables like tomato, also add finely chopped coriander for added flavour.

To serve, place a small bowl of broth for each person and eat with pita bread (if desired).

Below are some guidelines to help you with the cooking process.

The stuffing mixture makes one of the following listed:

4 – 5 green zucchinis

5 – 6 white zucchinis

4 medium tomatoes

5 medium onions

2 medium-large capsicums

3 – 4 medium turnips

8 round (small) eggplants

1 large eggplant


4 thoughts on “rice stuffing for vegetables & dolma

  1. AfghanCuisine says:

    I know this is an old post, but I love anything stuffed. We stuff zuchinni, belle peppers, cabbage and onions but the cooking method is a bit different. I have learned this way from a friend but it always makes me a bit nervous since the mixture is not cooked, but you make it look so simple.

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