Iraqi Dolma

This was absolutely cracking today, who knew that the dreaded chard could taste so lovely?

Thank you to our new Iraqi volunteers who created this dish on their first day at Growing Well!

Disclaimer – we have completely and totally lifted this recipe from a food blog website called a lovely food blog, and many thanks, we love your recipe!  I have listed the recipe as it is on the website, but we used chard throughout, rather than onion/tomato/pepper.



4 cups of brown basmati rice, rinsed and soaked for at least 30 mins

8 tomatoes, coarsely chopped

2 bunches of flat parsley, coarsely chopped

3 cloves of garlic

1 can of tomato paste

1/2 cup (ish) of lemon juice

dash of olive oil

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp cinnamon

salt, to taste


vegetables (to be stuffed):

2-3 onions

about 10-12 baby bell peppers

2-3 small tomatoes

4-6 baby aubergine

4 small courgettes

12 ish chard or spinach leaves



water and 1 1/2 cups of lemon juice, to just cover the veg when pressed down with a plate.


Right, so peel the onions and make a slit lengthwise less than half way down, and then microwave them in a dish for 2 minutes.  Carefully take off the first 4 or 5 layers of each onion, these will be for stuffing.  Save the rest of the onion on one side.

Peppers  – slice the tops off and rinse out the seeds from the inside (these are also for stuffing)

Tomatoes – slice the tops off (and save them as the tomatoes will need their hats :)).  Remove the insides of the tomatoes but save the insides (with the onion).

Aubergine and courgette – slice the tops off and remove the seeds (keep with the tomato and onion)


  1. In a food processor, work the tomatoes, parsley, garlic, and contents of the discard bowl (the onion, tomato and other inside bits).
  2. Drain the rice well.
  3. Add the mixture from the food processor into the rice and mix.
  4. Add the tomato paste, lemon juice, and olive oil to the rice. Mix.
  5. Add generous amounts of cumin and cinnamon. Add salt to taste. Mix.


  1. Add a thin layer of olive oil to the bottom of your cooking pot.
  2. Begin by stuffing the onions. Add them to the bottom of the pot.
  3. Then stuff the aubergine and courgette, add to the pot.
  4. Then stuff the peppers, add to the pot.
  5. Then stuff the tomatoes, add to the pot.
  6. Then roll the chard/spinach leaves, add to the pot.
  7. Press everything firmly down.


  1. Add a mixture of water and lemon juice to the pot so that ONLY when you press the vegetables down firmly does the water then barely cover the vegetables. The liquid from the vegetables will come out later so you don’t want to add too much extra liquid.
  2. Place a dinner plate downwards on the vegetables. This helps put pressure on the vegetables.
  3. Cover with the pot lid.
  4. Bring to a boil for about 5 minutes. Then simmer on low for about 40 minutes.
  5. The onions will caramelize at the bottom so be careful not to burn them.
  6. Remove lid and plate.
  7. If there is still red liquid in the pot when it’s done, carefully drain that liquid.
  8. OPTIONAL: Take the extra red liquid and cook it in a small sauce pot with garlic confit, to pour over the dolma once it’s served — so yummy!


  1. Place a really big serving plate on top of the pot and carefully flip the dolma onto the plate. Make sure to keep the pot on the plate until the plate is on the table so that it’s safe!

Delicious vegan Iraqi dish with chard

What's In The Bag? - Thursday 28th June 2018
What's In The Bag? - Thursday 21st June 2018