Zucchini and Tomato Dolma (meat and rice stuffed vegetables)

You say Sarma, I say Dolma.

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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.

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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

Fish en Papillote with Lemon Garlic Tomato and Parsley sauce

Fish en Papillote with Lemon Garlic Tomato and Parsley sauce

In the past when I went out for dinner, I was instantly drawn to the fish option on the menu regardless of what cuisine we were having. I don’t know why I was so scared to cook fish at home, it really is so simple!

This is a most delicious way to enjoy white fleshed fish at home, and quite economical too if you buy the special of the day. I find that this recipe works well and truly with any white fish variety. I am always sure to buy those from Australian or New Zealand waters, preferably wild caught instead of farmed.

 Cooking fish in baking/parchment paper is a low fat way of serving the dish, and easy all round because you don’t have to dirty a baking tray or pan, simply throw out the paper once served and since there is less washing up to do, you can put your feet up and enjoy another glass of wine!

Fish en Papillote with Lemon Garlic Tomato and Parsley sauce

 Fish en Papillote (fancy French term for Fish in parchment paper) in a Lemon, Garlic Tomato and Parsley sauce/salsa

Serves 2

  • 2 pieces of white fleshed fish e.g., Ling Fillet
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 bunch Parsley, chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced.
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Sea Salt and cracked pepper
  • Parchment Paper and Foil

 Preheat your oven to 230 degrees Celsius.

 In a bowl combine the fresh tomatoes, crushed garlic, chopped parsley, lemon juice and Olive Oil. Season it well with salt and cracked pepper. Stir to combine and let it marinade for 5 minutes while you prepare the Fish parcels.

Fish en Papillote with Lemon Garlic Tomato and Parsley sauce

Meanwhile prepare your fish by cutting a large square of parchment paper double the size of your fish fillet. Place the fish fillet in the centre of the square, top with 2 generous spoonfuls of the tomato salsa and fold up the paper to make a tight parcel. I cheat here, by grabbing a larger piece of foil and wrapping the paper parcel into a big foil* parcel, so now its air tight and sealed. Repeat with your other fish piece, dividing up the tomato salsa on top evenly.

 Place your tight parcels on a tray and bake for 15-20 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish fillet.

 Serve with a bed of fluffy white rice.

Fish en Papillote with Lemon Garlic Tomato and Parsley sauce

 *NOTE: Don’t cheat by forgoing the parchment paper and placing the fish directly on the foil because tomato and lemon juice can react with the foil and create an unpleasant flavour. Be sure the food touches the paper and that the foil is only being used here to secure it all in place creating an air tight parcel.

Fish en Papillote with Lemon Garlic Tomato and Parsley sauce