Dishes with stuffed vegetables are called "dolma" and are categorized two ways: served warm as a meal, or served cold as a second course or appetizer. This recipe for dolmeh felfel is meant to be served warm as a meal, but the leftovers make for a great, cold lunch the next day.
Why this Recipe Works
- The rice is par-boiled with the spices, which gets it to absorb the flavors and cook perfectly after stuffing it in the peppers.
- The spices in this recipe are the base for many delicious recipes, and just as wonderful in this recipe.
- The peppers stay slightly crisp, providing a different texture to the ground meat and rice filling.
- This recipe is delicious both warm and cold, making for great leftovers.
Ingredients & Substitutions
bell peppers - You can stuff almost any of your favorite peppers for this recipe. I have made it with poblanos, hatch chiles, and more. However, depending on the pepper, you may need to cook it or char it prior to stuffing because not all peppers taste good when left crisp. This recipe yields a pepper that still has a slight crunch to it.
ground lamb - my favorite in this recipe is ground lamb, but it is also delicious with ground meat (the more traditional option), chicken, turkey, and even a plant-based ground meat substitute.
rice - this recipe uses basmati rice. However, I have made it with other grains like farro and it is also delicious. You will need to adjust the amount of water you add to the recipe if changing the grain.
How to Make Dolmeh Felfel
Preheat to 350F. In the meantime, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Cook the diced yellow onion until translucent. Season with ½ teaspoon of cumin and ¼ teaspoon of ground turmeric. Season with some salt.
Add the washed ¾ cup of basmati rice and ¾ cup water. Cover and cook 8-10 minutes until the water is absorbed.
Remove from heat and add the pound of ground meat, ½ cup of fresh chopped herbs, diced tomato, ½ teaspoon of salt, and ½ teaspoon of pepper. Mix well, kneading the ingredients together.
Cut the tops off the 8 bell peppers. If using large bell peppers, you will only need 4-6. Remove the seeds and any large white parts. Stuff each bell pepper with as much filling as you can so it is flush with the top of the pepper.
Cover with the bell pepper tops and place in an baking dish that fits them all. It is OK if it doesn't fill the dish. Add ¼ inch of water to the bottom of the pan. Bake for 1 hour.
Dolmeh Felfel FAQs
Different kinds of dolmeh are served in different ways. Usually the ones that include meat are served warm, and the ones without are served cold.
More Persian Recipes
As you know, I love sharing all the Persian recipes from my childhood, mostly ones that my mom and grandmother taught me. Here are some favorites that were regulars during my childhood:
Dolmeh Felfel | Persian Stuffed Peppers
- 8 bell peppers multi-colored (only 6 if large)
- 1 lb. ground lamb beef, turkey, chicken, or meat substitute
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup yellow onion diced
- ¾ cup basmati rice washed until water runs clear
- ¾ cup water
- 1 tomato diced
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ cup fresh herbs parsley and cilantro
- ½ teaspoon salt do not add salt if using the soy chorizo
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Preheat to 350F.
- Heat the oil over medium heat. Cook the onion until translucent. Season with cumin and turmeric.
- Add the washed rice and ¾ cup water. Cover and cook 8-10 minutes until the water is absorbed.
- Remove from heat and add the ground meat, herbs, tomato, salt, and pepper. Mix well, kneading the ingredients together.
- Cut the tops off the bell peppers. Remove the seeds and any large white parts.
- Stuff each bell pepper with as much filling as you can so it is flush with the top of the pepper.
- Cover with the bell pepper tops and place in an baking dish that fits them all. It is OK if it doesn't fill the dish.
- Add ¼ inch of water to the bottom of the pan. Bake for 1 hour.
This post was originally published in November of 2017 but was republished with new photos, step by step instructions, FAQs, and tips in January of 2021.