Baked Zucchini Dolmas

Yesterday we had Turkish style stuffed zucchini at work or dolma, but as the original recipe is done with rice inside the stuffing, I couldn’t eat any because of my Keto diet. All the way back from work, I formulated this recipe in my head. Cooking and preparing every part. This spontaneous recipe combines a few of my cravings as of late. It doesn’t make sense in paper but the outcome was very delicious and satisfying. And I must say, I am very proud of this %100 original recipe of mine.

keto stuffed zucchini

I’ve been watching some cooking shows and as they made meat stuffing for pastries, I really wanted some, so I made this delicious but very simple stuffing. It was pretty amazing by itself but I was craving some good old homemade food to eat with some yoghurt and there you go! Perfect Keto Dolmas.

Ingredients for stuffing:

  • 400gr ground beef
  • 2 small onions or one big one
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Half a bunch of parsley
  • Lots of black pepper
  • Salt
  • Olive oil

Don’t be intimidated by the ingredient list it is very easy to make this.

Just put the ground beef in the hot pan. Make sure it is separated in pieces and gray everywhere.  At this point to both add flavor and get rid of that unpleasant meat smell, add black pepper. Depending on the hotness of your pepper, you can add as much as you want . I wanted the flavor as well as the hotness so I added a good amount.

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keto stuffed zucchini

Add the chopped onions and the garlic. I wanted the onions to be visible and clear in the stuffing so I chopped mine medium, if you don’t want to see or distinctly taste the onion chop them fine and add them before the meat.

keto stuffed zucchini

Season the meat with salt. You can add some pepper at this point too. And add a little bit of olive oil. This will liven up the food and will make it easier to saute.

While the onions are cooking on the stove, chop your parsley fine – not too fine, but it is up to you really, as long as they are not put in whole, any size is good.

When you add the parsley, stir everything for 30 seconds and take off the heat. It is better if the parsley still has its vibrant green color.

keto stuffed zucchini

keto stuffed zucchini

While the stuffing is cooling on the side, you can start on your zucchini.

  • 3 medium zucchini is enough for two servings.

I wanted my dolmas to be small and to be able to stand on their own, without leaning on anywhere. After I cut them up, with a teaspoon, I carved them real close to the surface. There is no precooking the zucchini, so make sure they are carved thinly.

keto stuffed zucchini

When all of them are done, place them in an oven proof dish. One by one fill the zucchini with the stuffing and place them back in the dish.

You can bake this dish like this but to add color, flavor and make the zucchini cook better, I prepared a simple red sauce.

keto stuffed zucchini

Ingredients for the sauce:

  • 2 heaping tablespoons red pepper paste
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Water
  • Salt and pepper

In a small sauce pan add chopped garlic. When their smell is in the air, add a little bit of olive oil and  the red pepper paste. You can do this with tomato paste too but this will add another layer of flavor. Mix a little and gradually add water. Make sure to stir constantly to make a smooth sauce. Add about 2 – 2 and a half cups of water. When everything is mixed together take of the heat and pour into the pan. Make sure it doesn’t  touch the zucchini and only the bottom of the pan. The sauce should be about half way of the zucchini.

keto stuffed zucchini

They look quite delicious this way too! Put the dish in the pre-heated oven. Bake for 15 minutes at 180 °C. The top of the dolmas get really nice and crispy and the rest of the flavors are mixed so well together.

keto stuffed zucchini

You can add tomatoes to the sauce, add the sauce in the dolmas too anything goes really. You can even add shredded cheese on the zucchini!

keto stuffed zucchini

keto stuffed zucchini

I left it as it is because I wanted to eat the dish with some garlic yogurt. That it finely chopped and crushed fresh garlic mixed in yogurt. A must in Turkish cuisine.

Now be warned the stuffing has nothing that binds them together so, it is pretty crumbly. I used the yogurt as a binding agent too.

keto stuffed zucchiniThis was just what I needed really. Everything I craved in one perfect dish. I hope you try it and love it as much as I did. Enjoy.

keto stuffed zucchini

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