I have lately been less than pleased with the stuffed peppers I’ve made. The skins have been a little thick, and the peppers a little tasteless, and the ratio of filling-to-vessel has skewed a little too much in the direction of the filling. Which is not a calamity when the peepers have been only mediocre in taste. But, still, my ideal dolma has not been achieved.
THESE! Made with zucchini rather than peppers. I know! It’s like I’m completely cheating, setting you up to think that I had some fabulous new way of making peppers. Well, I do. Calling them zucchini instead! Um, anyway, yes.
Setting aside the fact that bell peppers come with a big cavity just waiting to be stuffed and you must actually dig out the hole in the zucchini (which requires a steady hand and an old-fashioned style vegetable peeler, I have found), it’s really no more work to use zucchini. And you can use any recipe you like for the stuffing. I generally go with white rice, but bulgar works nicely as well. We like ours with ground beef, tomato paste, onion, and served with plain yogurt.
Stuffed Zucchini Dolmas
- 4 whole Zucchinis
- ½ pounds ground beef
- ½ cups rice
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 1-3 cloves garlic, pressed or finely chopped
- 1/2-1 cup Water
- 2 tbs Plain Tomato Paste, divided
- 1 tsp Olive Oil
- Black Pepper
- 1 cup Plain Yogurt, Optional
Saute the onion and garlic, if using, in a large pan with the olive oil. When starting to turn translucent, add the ground beef. Salt and pepper generously. Cook a few minutes, then add the rice (rinsed and drained), half the tomato paste, and water (enough water to blend all ingredients well. Let cook for a few minutes on low heat.
Clean zucchini, and cut off the ends. Clean out the insides with a vegetable peeler. Save the insides for another recipe, if you are brave and thrifty like that.
Stuff the zucchini, leaving room for the rice to expand. Put them in a pot with a sauce made from 1 tbs tomato paste and hot water. Cook over low-medium heat for 20 minutes or until the zucchini are done.
Serve with tomato sauce and plain yogurt.
Bon appetit, and Happy Fourth of July!