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All The Flavors But Half The Work!

I love Armenian dolma. It was one of my favorite things to eat when I was living there and my host family taught me how to make it, both with grape leaves and with cabbage leaves.

It snowed yesterday in Atlanta, and I was wearing my lazy pants. I sincerely wanted dolma, though, and I had everything in my refrigerator to make some except initiative...I don't know why I never keep my initiative in the fridge. I would always find it there if I did! Anyway!!

RECIPE Dolma Soup


  • 1 Lb Ground Meat (I used pork but beef is best)

  • 1 Medium Sized Head of Cabbage, Sliced Thinly

  • 3-4 Tbsp of Olive or Sunflower Oil

  • 1 Large Onion, Diced

  • 3 Tbsp Minced Garlic

  • 3 Tbsp Fresh Basil

  • ½ Tsp Dried Basil

  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Dill

  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Cilantro

  • 3 Tsp Hot Paprika (but if you have Aleppo pepper...even better! I'd go with 2 Tsp of that, though)

  • ¼ Cup Bell Pepper, Diced (Green or Red is Fine)

  • 1 Tsp of Lemon Juice (Or to taste)

  • 3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter

  • 1 28-Oz Can of Crushed Tomatoes

  • 1 6-Oz Can of Tomato Paste

  • Salt & Pepper to Taste

  • 1 Cup Pre-Cooked White Rice

  • 1 Bay Leaf

  • 3-4 Cups of Beef or Chicken Stock

  • 1 Small Banana Pepper (optional)


  1. In a deep pot, heat oil on medium. Sautée onions & bell peppers until they are tender.

  2. Add ground meat, cooking until it is no longer pink.

  3. Add garlic, all herbs & spices & cook for five minutes.

  4. Add sliced cabbage & cook until it is wilted.

  5. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, banana pepper, cooked rice & 3 cups of stock. Turn down the heat to medium low, mix & simmer until the soup is reduced. If it is too thick, add the remaining 1 cup of broth.

  6. Taste the soup to see if you need more salt & pepper.

  7. Add lemon juice & butter.

  8. Serve hot with fresh herbs, tangy yogurt & bread.


  • This is an adaptable recipe. You can use leaner meat if you would like. I used lean pork in this recipe because that is what I had in the fridge.

Here is the first dolma I made with grape leaves stuffed with pork that I made with my host sister.

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