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Spicy stuffed vegetables.

Stuffed vegetables have been a favored food in the Middle East and the Balkans for centuries. In Arabic, they are called "dolmas," meaning something stuffed." Although the ancient Greeks were known to fill leaves of fig, hazelnut, and mulberry trees, as well as many other vegetables, dolmas' point of origin is open to debate. Greeks, Turks, Syrians, Arabs, Uzbeks, and Turkomans-all people who at one time were part of the vast Ottoman Empire-all boast traditional variations on dolmas as part of their national cuisines.

Turkish upper classes transformed the simple dolma into the grand gourmet cuisine, befitting the lavish tables of sultans and aristocratic households, by stuffing their veggies with expensive meats. The nonmeat fillings were frowned upon as food fit only for peasants. But the poor, as always, improvised their own variations on the royal theme, minus the meat that was beyond their means. Zeroing in on the vast variety of nonmeat stuffings, the peasants produced wholesome stuffed vegetable creations that emphasized the subtle flavors produced from the fusion of the leaves, spices, and vegetables. Today, the peasants' low-fat, lowcost creations continue to prove much more wholesome, economical, and heart healthful than their noble counterparts, and they boast a seemingly endless variety.

In our constant search for something different, we find that dolmas offer a hint of the exotic while celebrating the bounty of the season's freshest produce. Besides stuffed cabbage, familiar to most American tables, almost any other edible vegetable or leaf is an ideal candidate for experimentation. Mushrooms, cabbage, zucchini, grape leaves, or pepper-the exciting variety of vegetables guarantees that no dinner need be dull.

The next time you are stumped for a little something different, "stuff it" with delicious and healthful dolmas.

Stuffed Carrots

(Makes 8 servings)

A similar dish called zanahorias relienas is prepared

in the Latin-speaking lands.
12 large carrots, 3-4 pounds, scraped and washed
1 1/2 cups soft white
 cheese, any type
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions,
 finely chopped
1 small sweet pepper,
 finely chopped
1 small hot pepper,
 finely chopped
4 cloves garlic,
 crushed
4 tablespoons tomato
 paste
1 teaspoon salt, if
 desired
1/2 teaspoon pepper


Place carrots in pot and cover with water. Cook until somewhat tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Remove carrots but reserve broth.

Cut each carrot lengthwise and scoop out heart. Chop scoopings and reserve.

Fill with cheese, then firm the pieces together with toothpicks. Place in casserole and set aside.

Heat oil in frying pan. Sautee onion, sweet pepper, hot pepper, and garlic over medium heat 10 minute. Stir in remaing ingredients, including carrot broth (add water to make 3 cups) and scoopings. Pour frying pan contents over carrots in casserole. Bake in 350, F. preheated oven 40 minutes or until carrots are well-cooked.

Stuffed Potatoes

(Makes 6 servings)
6 large baked potatoes, about 3 pounds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons powdered coriander
1/2 small hot pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt, if desired
1/2 teaspoon pepper


Cut off tops of potatoes. Scoop out; leave 1/4"-1/2" shells. Set shells aside and reserve scoopings.

Heat oil in frying pan. Sautee onion, garlic, coriander, and hot pepper over medium heat 10 minutes. Allow to cool. Stir in 2/3 of scoopings and remaining ingredients to make stuffing.

Stuff potato shells and place in baking pan. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in 300 deg, F. preheated oven 30 minutes. Serve hot.

Stuffed Mushroom Appetizer

(Makes 6 servings)
1 pound large mushrooms, thoroughly washed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 small hot pepper, finely chopped
4 tablespoons pulverized almonds
2 tablespoons fine bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon tarragon
1/4 teaspoon salt, if desired
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 egg, beaten


Remove mushroom stems. Finely chop stems, and set both caps and chopped stems aside.

Heat oil in frying pan. Sautee onion over medium heat 5 minutes. Stir in chopped stems, garlic, and hot pepper, then sautee an additional 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Stir in remaining ingredients except mushroom caps to make stuffing. Fill mushroom caps heaping full, and place in greased baking pan. Bake in 300 deg F. preheated oven 20 minutes. Serve hot.

Chickpea and Rice Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

(Makes 10 servings)

Meat-filled cabbage rolls are the most widely

eaten of all the stuffed vegetables, but this vegetarian

version is an excellent substitute.
1 large head cabbage, 4-5 pounds
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 cup brown rice
1 small bunch green onions, finely chopped
2 cups stewed tomatoes
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons powdered coriander
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoons salt
8 cloves garlic, chopped into large pieces
1/2 cup lemon juice


Place cabbage in pot of boiling water, and cook a few minutes to soften leaves. Loosen with knife from bottom. Trim thick ribs. (If inner leaves are not soft, boil again a few minutes.) Set leaves aside.

Combine remaining ingredients except 1/2 teaspoon of salt, garlic, and lemon juice to make stuffing. Place some stuffing, depending on size of leaf, on wide end. Roll; tuck in ends while rolling. Continue until all leaves are stuffed.

Cover bottom of saucepan with trimmed ribs. Arrange rolls side-by-side in alternating layers; place garlic pieces between rolls. Sprinkle remaining salt over top and add lemon juice. Cover with inverted plate. Add enough water to barely cover plate.

Bring to boil. Cover saucepan and cook over medium heat 1 hour or until rice is done. Serve hot or cold as main course or for snacks.

Stuffed Zucchini

(Makes 8 servings)
16 small zucchini, about 5"
 long
1 cup fine noodles, broken
 into very small pieces
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
4 tablespoons grated
 Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons pulverized
 almonds
2 teaspoons powdered
 coriander
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt, if desired
1 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
2 cups tomato juice mixed with '12
 teaspoon nutmeg


Cut off stem ends of zucchini and reserve; core zucchini. (Corer can be bought from Middle Eastern stores.) Set aside.

Combine remaining ingredients except tomato juice to make stuffing. Fill zucchini and close with inverted stem ends. Secure ends with toothpicks.

Arrange zucchini tightly in saucepan. Add tomato juice and enough water to cover zucchini. Bring to boil. Cover saucepan; cook over medium heat 1 hour. Serve hot with sauce.

Stuffed Tomatoes

(Makes 8 servings)

The stuffing for this recipe can also be used to stuff sweet peppers or a mixture of tomatoes and peppers.
8 medium firm tomatoes
1/4 cup rice
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt, if desired
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 cup water mixYd with 1
 teaspoon basil


Cut out stem ends of tomatoes and reserve. Scoop out pulp and reserve. Set both aside.

Place rice and 1/2 cups water in saucepan; bring to boil. Cover; cook over medium-low heat 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Stir in remaining ingredients except mixed water to make stuffing.

Fill tomato shells; replace stem ends. Arrange side-by-side in casserole.

Combine mixed water and tomato pulp, then pour over tomatoes. Bake in 350 deg F. preheated oven 1 hour. Serve hot with sauce.

Stuffed Turnips

(Makes 8 servings)

Kohlrabi may be substituted

for turnips.
8 medium white turnips, about 4 1/2
 pounds, trimmed and washed
1 cup pulverized almonds
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon margarine
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt, if desired
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 1/2 cups water mixed with 2
 teaspoons finely powdered
 coriander leaves, 1 1/2 teaspoon salt,
 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 1/2
 teaspoon garlic powder


Place turnips in pot and cover with water. Bring to boil and cook over medium heat 10 minutes or until turnips are half-cooked. Remove from heat and discard water. Cut off tops and scoop out to about 1/4" shells. Reserve tops.

Combine remaining ingredients except mixed water to make stuffing. Fill turnips and secure tops with toothpicks. Place in casserole with cut top in water mixture.

Cover and bake in 350 deg F. preheated oven 1 hour or until turnips are well-done. Serve hot with sauce.

Note: To make side dish, cook scoopings further, mash, and add butter and spices.

Stuffed Grape Leaves

(Makes 10 servings)

Swiss chard, kohlrabi leaves, or other vegetable leaves may be substituted for the grape leaves.
1 pound jar grape leaves
1 cup lentils, soaked
 overnight and drained
1 cup brown rice
2 medium onions, finely
 chopped
2 medium tomatoes, finely
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt, if desired
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon allspice
2 cups tomato juice mixed with
1 teaspoon oregano


Thoroughly wash out salt from grape leaves and set aside.

Make stuffing by combining all remaining ingredients except tomato juice. Place approximately 1 tablespoon stuffing on each leaf, depending on size. Roll; tuck in ends when rolling. Continue until all leaves are rolled.

Place any extra leaves on bottom of saucepan. Arrange rolls side-by-side in alternating layers. Pour tomato juice over rolls and cover with inverted plate. Add enough water to barely cover plate.

Bring to boil. Cover saucepan and cook over medium heat 1 hour or until rice is done. Serve hot or cold as main course or for snacks.

Stuffed Peppers

(Makes 6 servings) A mixture of red and green peppers

makes a colorful dish.
6 large sweet peppers
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1/2 cup rice
2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 teaspoons powdered coriander
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon allspice
2 cups tomato juice mixed with
1 teaspoon garlic powder


Cut out stem ends of peppers and reserve. Remove seeds and fibers from peppers and set aside.

Combine remaining ingredients except tomato juice to make stuffing. Fill peppers and close with stem ends. Arrange in saucepan with opening to top. Add tomato juice and enough water to near top of peppers.

Bring to boil. Cover saucepan and cook over medium heat 50 minutes or until peppers are done. Serve hot with sauce. A
COPYRIGHT 1990 Saturday Evening Post Society
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:recipes
Author:Salloum, Habeeb
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Date:Jul 1, 1990
Words:1776
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