No ratings yet

Healthy Armenian Stuffed Red Peppers (Dolma)

 October 22, 2023

A classic Armenian recipe that comes together with just a few simple ingredients. Made from tender red bell peppers and ground meat cooked in a medley of different seasonings and broth, this cozy and comforting recipe is perfect for those colder months when you’re craving a dish that’s filling, without being heavy. My Healthy Armenian Stuffed Red Bell Peppers (aka Dolma) are a recipe taken straight from my bestselling cookbook, LOVE TO EAT, and is a recipe that the whole family is sure to enjoy!

A big pot of the Armenian dolma, sitting on a countertop

Whenever someone asks me in an interview what my favorite comfort food is, hands-down, my answer is the same: Armenian food. Growing up as a 1st generation Armenian-American, I was raised on the most delicious Armenian food. From kofta kebabs to tabouleh, my dad always fed my sister and I a medley of traditional Armenian recipes. To this day, every time I have Armenian food, it makes me think of him!

So, when I was developing the recipes that would go into my debut cookbook, LOVE TO EAT, I knew that I had to include some traditional Armenian recipes. And what could be a better traditional recipe other than dolma?

Dolma refers to “a dish of stuffed vegetables.” You might know of Greek or Turkish dolma, which consist of grape leaved stuffed with a rice and meat mixture. But Armenian dolma are slightly different, instead swapping the grape leaves for red bell peppers. When cooked in broth and tomato sauce, the peppers get nice and tender, making them the perfect vessel for the rice, herb, and meat mixture stuffed inside!

If you’ve never had Armenian food before, I highly recommend serving these Dolma alongside a simple salad and some pita bread. It doesn’t get more classic than that!

What You Need to Make This Classic Armenian Recipe

  • Red Bell Peppers: This recipe is traditionally made with red bell peppers, which is why they are essential for this recipe.
  • Ground Lamb: Traditionally, this recipe uses ground lamb. However, since lamb can be expensive and/or hard to find at a traditional grocery store, you can absolutely substitute the lamb for ground chicken, turkey, or beef. Use whatever you would like or have on hand!
  • Short Grain Rice: Make sure that the rice is UNCOOKED, as it will become nice and tender during the cooking process.
  • Parsley: Fresh parsley is a MUST when it comes to Armenian cooking, and this recipe is no exception!
  • Onion & Garlic: I always recommend using fresh onion and garlic, opposed to dried, whenever possible. It just adds the richest flavor!
  • Tomato Paste: A little tomato paste ensures that the filling comes together and has a nice, balanced flavor.
  • Tomato Sauce: Tomato sauce adds a rich flavor and helps the bell peppers take on a nice, tender flavor and consistency.
  • Broth: Pick your favorite broth and use it in this recipe! I usually opt for chicken bone broth, but even veggie broth is fine.
  • Seasonings: These dolma require a blend of ground cumin, cayenne pepper or paprika, sea salt, and ground black pepper to achieve the perfect flavor. Yum!
A pot, sitting on a countertop, with bell peppers inside of it actively being filled with the rice and meat mixture
Next, slice the tops off of the bell peppers and scoop out the seeds. Then, carefully fill each pepper with the meat and rice mixture.

How to Make These Hearty Stuffed Peppers

To make these dolma, start by washing and drying the bell peppers. Once they’re washed, slice the tops off of the peppers and discard them. Try to slice as little of the pepper off as possible, so that the top is removed but the pepper is still intact. Then, use your hands to gently scoop out the seeds.

Next, set the peppers aside and prepare the filling. Add the meat, rice, onion, parsley, garlic, tomato paste, cumin, cayenne pepper, paprika, sea salt, and black pepper and mix them to fully combine. Then, fill each pepper with the mixture and place them into a dutch oven or large pot, with the cut sides facing up. Pour the broth and tomato sauce on top of the peppers.

Place the dutch oven or pot onto the stove and bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat to low, and place a large dinner plate on top of the peppers, upside down. Allow the peppers to cook for 45-60 minutes, until the bell peppers and rice are nice and tender.

Once they’re done, transfer the dolma to a platter and season them again with sea salt and black pepper. Spoon the remaining sauce over the top of the dolma, and garnish with greek yogurt and more chopped parsley, if desired. Finally, serve them and enjoy! These dolma can be stored in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to one week.

If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a review and rating below! To see more recipes and behind the scenes, follow along on InstagramTikTok, and Youtube! I’m also now on Pinterest, so stop by and take a look at what’s new.

** Photography by Gayle McLeod
A big pot of the Armenian dolma, sitting on a countertop

Healthy Armenian Stuffed Red Peppers (Dolma)

No ratings yet
Nicole Modic
SERVES 6 Servings
Print It Pin It
A classic Armenian recipe that comes together with just a few simple ingredients. Made from tender red bell peppers and ground meat cooked in a medley of different seasonings and broth, this cozy and comforting recipe is perfect for those colder months when you're craving a dish that's filling, without being heavy. My Healthy Armenian Stuffed Red Bell Peppers (aka Dolma) are a recipe taken straight from my bestselling cookbook, LOVE TO EAT, and is a recipe that the whole family is sure to enjoy!

Ingredients

For the Peppers:

  • 6 Large Red Bell Peppers
  • 1 ½ Pounds Ground Lamb this is the traditional option, however if you want to go non-traditional, you can also use ground chicken, turkey, or beef.
  • ¾ Cup Short Grain Rice uncooked
  • ½ Cup Flat Leaf Parsley finely chopped
  • 1 Onion finely chopped
  • 4 Cloves Garlic mashed
  • 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • ½ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper or Paprika
  • 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Cup Tomato Sauce
  • 2 Cups Broth of Choice

For Garnishing

  • 6 Tablespoons Greek Yogurt dolloped on top of the peppers
  • ¼ Cup Fresh Parsley finely chopped

Instructions

  • To make these dolma, start by washing and drying the bell peppers. Once they're washed, slice the tops off of the peppers and discard them. Try to slice as little of the pepper off as possible, so that the top is removed but the pepper is still intact. Then, use your hands to gently scoop out the seeds.
  • Next, set the peppers aside and prepare the filling. Add the meat, rice, onion, parsley, garlic, tomato paste, cumin, cayenne pepper, paprika, sea salt, and black pepper and mix them to fully combine.
  • Then, fill each pepper with the mixture and place them into a dutch oven or large pot, with the cut sides facing up. Pour the broth and tomato sauce on top of the peppers.
  • Place the dutch oven or pot onto the stove and bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Once it's boiling, reduce the heat to low, and place a large dinner plate on top of the peppers, upside down.
  • Allow the peppers to cook for 45-60 minutes, until the bell peppers and rice are nice and tender.
  • Once they're done, transfer the dolma to a platter and season them again with sea salt and black pepper. Spoon the remaining sauce over the top of the dolma, and garnish with greek yogurt and more chopped parsley, if desired.
  • Finally, serve them and enjoy! These dolma can be stored in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to one week.

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love to see what you made – tag @kalejunkie
in your posts and I’ll re-share!

S
H
A
R
E

WHAT DID YOU THINK?

Rate + Review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *






  1. Was I supposed to cook the meat first?

    Love all of your recipes!! You are my go to, everything is attainable and yummy.

    • Hi Marcy, this recipe has not been tested with cauliflower rice (which contains a higher water content than traditional rice) so I cannot say for sure how it would turn out.

    • Hi Carol! The purpose of the plate is 1) its the traditional method, and 2) if your pot is large, it prevents the bell peppers from moving around in the pot and 3), the plate compresses the stuffing inside, keeping everything intact! If your bell peppers don’t move around in the pot and you prefer to use the cover, you absolutely can. Hope you enjoy this recipe!

    • Woohoo! I am so happy to hear that, Karina! Thank you so much for making this recipe, and for leaving such a kind review!