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Stuffed Peppers & Tomatoes – Taze Dolma

Want to try a new healthy, cheap meal using pantry staples? These stuffed peppers and tomatoes are pulled from my mother-in-law’s taze dolma recipe. “Dolma” refers to stuffed vegetables and “taze” means fresh, as opposed to dried vegetables which are also often used.

You can use other vegetables as well such as zucchini, or a Japanese eggplant in addition to peppers and tomatoes. In the pictures here I have used full-size bell peppers, but this recipe would also work well with mini-peppers (likely even better) especially since they are the same size as the tomatoes. If using eggplants and zucchini, cut into quarters to make similar sizes to the tomatoes. 

Here’s what you need for this recipe:

  • 4 full size bell peppers or 1-2 bags of mini-peppers
  • 4-5 roma tomatoes
  • 1 cup of rice
  • 1 medium onion
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup of pine nuts
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • Lemon juice from ½ lemon
  • 1 tsp sugar/stevia sweetener of your choice
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • ⅛ tsp of sumak ekşisi (or juice from another ½ of lemon)
  • 6.5 glasses boiling water

Heat 1.5 glasses of water in a kettle and place your rice into a heat-safe bowl. When the water comes to a boil, remove from heat and pour over the rice. Let sit for 15 minutes, then drain.

Next, chop your onion & garlic and add to the bowl of rice with the pine nuts, tomato paste, 1 tsp salt, pepper, sugar, lemon juice & olive oil and mix well with your hands. Your stuffing is now ready.

Cut the tops out of your peppers and remove the seeds and white pith from the inside of the peppers. Cut the seeds off the top off the stem but keep it, because it is going to be used as a lid when you cook the peppers later. 

Cut the tops of the tomatoes and scoop out the center of the tomato. Do not discard the top of the tomato as you will use it as a little lid when cooking.  If using other vegetables, follow the same process – quarter, remove the tops and scoop out the middle.

Next, you’re going to fill your vegetables. If using full-sized bell peppers, only fill them halfway. If you stuff them too full, the rice will not cook in the center. For the smaller vegetables, stuff them about ¾ of the way full. Then place your vegetables tops back onto the stuffed vegetable bottoms. 

Now you’re going to layer your vegetables in a pot. If you can get them all in there standing straight up, that is best. If you need to layer, that is OK. When you are finished, place a small plate on top of the vegetables in your pot. Pour 1 tsp of salt onto the top of the plate. If you are able to purchase sumak ekşisi from a mediterranean market, add ⅛ of a teaspoon (it is extremely sour, so you only need a little bit). If not, just use another ½ of a lemon and add to the water. 

Heat 6 cups of water in a kettle and when hot, pour into your pot so the water is just cover the edge of the plate. Cook on medium heat for 35 minutes. When finished cooking, remove the lid and drain as much of the water as you can. Remove the plate and use a large spoon to remove the vegetables onto a separate plate.

Serve as is or with a side of plain yogurt. Enjoy!

Stuffed Peppers & Tomatoes - Taze Dolma

Dinner Mediterranean
By Janice Yucel Serves: 6
Prep Time: 15 Minutes Cooking Time: 35 Minutes Total Time: 50 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 full size bell peppers or 1-2 bags of mini-peppers
  • 4-5 roma tomatoes
  • 1 cup of rice
  • 1 medium onion
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup of pine nuts
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • Lemon juice from ½ lemon
  • 1 tsp sugar/stevia sweetener of your choice
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • ⅛ tsp of sumak ekşisi (or juice from another ½ of lemon)
  • 6.5 glasses boiling water

Instructions

1

Heat 1.5 glasses of water in a kettle and place your rice into a heat-safe bowl. When the water comes to a boil, remove from heat and pour over the rice. Let sit for 15 minutes, then drain.

2

Next, chop your onion & garlic and add to the bowl of rice with the pine nuts, tomato paste, 1 tsp salt, pepper, sugar, lemon juice & olive oil and mix well with your hands.

3

Cut the tops out of your peppers and remove the seeds and white pith from the inside of the peppers. Cut the seeds off the top off the stem but keep it.

4

Cut the tops of the tomatoes and scoop out the center of the tomato. Do not discard the top of the tomato as you will use it as a little lid when cooking.  If using other vegetables, follow the same process - quarter, remove the tops and scoop out the middle.

5

Next, you’re going to fill your vegetables. If using full-sized bell peppers, only fill them halfway. If you stuff them too full, the rice will not cook in the center. For the smaller vegetables, stuff them about ¾ of the way full. Then place your vegetables tops back onto the stuffed vegetable bottoms. 

6

Now you’re going to layer your vegetables in a pot. If you can get them all in there standing straight up, that is best. If you need to layer, that is OK.

7

When you are finished, place a small plate on top of the vegetables in your pot. Pour 1 tsp of salt onto the top of the plate. If you are able to purchase sumak ekşisi from a Mediterranean market, add ⅛ of a teaspoon. If not, just use another ½ of a lemon and add to the water. 

8

Heat 6 cups of water in a kettle and when hot, pour into your pot so the water is just cover the edge of the plate. Cook on medium heat for 35 minutes.

9

When finished cooking, remove the lid and drain as much of the water as you can.

10

Remove the plate and use a large spoon to remove the vegetables onto a separate plate.

11

Serve as is or with a side of plain yogurt.

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