For other uses, see Dolma (disambiguation).

Stuffed peppers
Course Meze or main dish
Region or state Countries of the former Ottoman Empire, Iran, Balkans, Italy, Middle East, Caucasus , Algeria and Central Asia
Serving temperature Cold or hot
Main ingredients Stuffed peppers, Vine leaf, Rice
Variations Partial
Cookbook: Dolma  Media: Dolma

Dolma is a family of stuffed vegetable dishes common in the Middle East and surrounding regions including the Balkans, the Caucasus, Russia and Central Asia. Common vegetables to stuff include tomato, pepper, onion, zucchini, eggplant, and garlic. The stuffing may or may not include meat. Meat dolmas are generally served warm, often with tahini, egg-lemon or garlic yogurt sauce; meatless ones are generally served cold. Stuffed vegetables are also common in Italian cuisine, where they are named ripieni ("stuffed").[1]

Dishes of grape or cabbage leaves wrapped around a filling are also called dolma or yaprak dolma ('leaf dolma') in many cuisines, or may be distinguished as sarma.

Names and etymology

Dolma (Ottoman Turkish طولمه,) is a verbal noun of the Turkish verb dolmak, "to be stuffed," and means "stuffed (thing)."[2][3][4][5] Dolma is a stuffed vegetable, that is, a vegetable that is hollowed out and filled with stuffing. This applies to zucchini, tomato, pepper, eggplant, and the like; stuffed mackerel, squid, and mussel are also called dolma.

Dishes involving wrapping leaves such as vine leaves or cabbage leaves around a filling are called sarma, though in many languages the distinction is usually not made.

Dolma without meat is sometimes called yalancı dolma 'fake dolma' in Turkish.[6][7]

In some countries, the usual name for the dish is a borrowing of dolma, e.g. Armenian տոլմա [tolˈmɑ] or դոլմա [dolˈmɑ],[8] or of yaprak (Turkish 'leaf'), in others it is a calque, and sometimes the two coexist with distinct meanings: Albanian: japrak; Arabic: محشي maḥshi ('stuffed'), محشي ورق عنب (maḥshī waraq 'inab, 'stuffed grape leaf'); Persian: دلمه,"dolme", برگ "barg"; Greek: ντολμάς dolmas (for the leaf-wrapped kind) and γεμιστά yemista 'stuffed'; Kurdish: dolma دۆلمە, yaprakh, یاپراخ. In Aleppo, the word يبرق yabraq refers to stuffed vine leaves, while محشي maḥshī refers to stuffed cabbage leaves and stuffed vegetables.


The filling generally consists of rice, minced meat or grains. In either case, the filling includes onion, herbs like dill, mint or parsley and spices. Meatless fillings are cooked with olive oil and include raisins or currants, onion, nuts or pulses.

Armenian lenten

In addition to the traditional dolmas, Armenia has a giant vegan variant called Lenten Dolma ("Pasus Tolma" or "պասուս տոլմա"). It is wrapped with cabbage leaves, and stuffed with red beans, garbanzo beans, lentils, cracked wheat, tomato paste, onion and many spices and flavorings.[9] Keeping with the Armenian lenten rules, it is vegan, but despite its name of Lenten dolma, it is commonly prepared year round.

With sea food

"Midye dolma", Stuffed mussels

Dolma could be made by using seafood. It is sometimes made with different types of fish or mussels. "Midye dolma",(Stuffed mussels) is very popular in Turkey. Usually, filling of midye dolma consists of rice, onion, black pepper and pimento spice.[10]

Israeli variant

In Israel, vine leaves, Swiss chard, artichoke bottoms, mallow, cabbage, potatoes, eggplants, onions, dates, zucchini, bell peppers, beets, hot chili peppers, dried dates, dried figs and dried apricots are commonly stuffed with a combination of meat and rice, although other fillings, such as bulgur, lentils and ptitim, have evolved among the various Jewish, Arab and Armenian communities.[11]

See also


  1. Gosetti (1967), passim
  3. Merriam-Webster Online - Dolma
  4. Encyclopedia Iranica. Dolma.
  5. Official Turkish Dictionary. Dolma.
  6. yalancı literally means 'liar'; "dolma.". Online English-Turkish-German Dictionary. v4.1. Retrieved 2008-04-13.
  7. Selvili, Elif. "Cooking Fresh: Turkish Summer". Edible Austin. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
  8. "դօլմա" in Stepʿan Malxaseancʿ, Hayerēn bacʿatrakan baṙaran (Armenian Explanatory Dictionary), in 4 vols, Yerevan: State Publishing House of the Armenian SSR, 1944-45
  11. Ansky, Sherry, and Sheffer, Nelli, The Food of Israel: Authentic Recipes from the Land of Milk and Honey, pg. 76, Hong Kong, Periplus Editions (2000) ISBN 962-593-268-2


Media related to Dolma at Wikimedia Commons

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