Zucchini and Tomato Dolma (meat and rice stuffed vegetables)

You say Sarma, I say Dolma.


In the ‘Armenian Wog World’ there is a bit of confusion over the name of this dish, however all will agree their Mum makes it the best. It’s highly subjective however all will agree it’s a classic and there is nothing better than coming home to a big plate of mixed vegetable dolma smothered in garlic yoghurt mopped up with Lebanese bread.

Essentially it is minced meat, onion and rice and herbs stuffed into your favourite vegetable of choice. Traditionally Lebanese zucchini is a must, and then really you can add whatever is in your crisper. I often stuff tomatoes, capsicum, baby eggplants, and even cabbage leaves.

Now, if you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I’m pregnant and tomatoes have been a no go due to their acid and my terribly sensitive belly. Hubby dared to groan about pub food again so I decided to be a good wifey and cook him a good Dolma. The smell floating through the house was so divine and I just HAD to give it a try, knowing truly what the consequences would be. Well I am SOOOOO happy to say, I mopped up a big plate of Dolma, popped a few Mylanta’s (ok so I double dosed on the chewable tablets) and I managed to keep this dish down! Hooray!

zucchini dolma

Zucchini and Tomato Dolma.

  • 10-12 Lebanese Zucchini’s
  • 10 large tomatoes
  • 400g minced lamb or beef
  • 1 cup long grain white rice, rinsed
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 ½ teaspoon dried mint
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Water, salt and pepper

Garlic Yoghurt to serve

  • 1 cup Greek style yoghurt
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 large clove fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Using a sharp knife or spoon hollow out each zucchini and tomato.

zucchini dolma

In a bowl, grate or finely dice (as small as you can) the onion, and add the meat, rinsed raw rice, dried mint, chopped fresh parsley (I used a tablespoon of dried parsley because I didn’t have fresh on hand but if you do go fresh), a teaspoon of salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and use the mixture to stuff each vegetable.

zucchini dolma

Place all stuffed dolmas into a large saucepan and in a separate bowl, combine the tomato paste, enough water to completely cover the dolmas so that they are submerged and a teaspoon of salt. If your pot is quite large, you may need another teaspoon of salt. Pour the tomato paste and water mixture into the saucepan and if you find the dolmas are floating to the top, use a dinner placed upside down into the saucepan to keep them under the water level.


Bring the pot to the boil for about 5 minutes; reduce the heat to medium and simmer for a further 25-30 minutes until the rice and meat is cooked through.

To Serve, combine all the ingredients in the garlic yoghurt and mix well to combine. Drizzle over the top of the hot steamy Dolma or serve on the side. Whatever floats your boat? Enjoy!

Sorry for the awful photo and sauce smudges! I just couldn't wait a minute further dig in

Sorry for the awful photo and sauce smudges! I just couldn’t wait a minute further dig in


26 thoughts on “Zucchini and Tomato Dolma (meat and rice stuffed vegetables)

  1. I’m so glad you were able to eat this dolma dish. I’m amazed at how the filling stays in during the cooking process. And I’m impressed with how well you scooped out the zucchinis. I hope the pregnancy is progressing well xx

  2. Hi Lisa, this looks just like my mum makes it (the Syrian way, I suppose). Pretty yummy. I guess I should try making it myself.

    Question though … did you mean to write one bulb of garlic per one cup of yoghurt, or one clove? I love garlic, but I’m thinking the bulb may be tooooooo extreme ?

      • Oh and my husband was born in Syria, (he’s of Armenian origin, but was born in Haleb) and he said the flavouring (dried mint and parsley) its exactly as they would make it at home 🙂

      • lol, cool. Some of my cousins are garlic fanatics so … I thought I’d just check 😉

        Cool about your hubby. I love this but in the tomatoes only. Nom nom nom … so good!!! I will definitely have to give it a go and make it myself one time 🙂

  3. That to me is comfort food on a plate. Glad bubba didn’t protest too much and you got to enjoy your dinner:)

  4. Looks delicious! How do you think they would go in a slow cooker? Not an all day shot, just a couple of hours.Even better, I may try and let you know!

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