Turkey and Quinoa Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (Dolma)

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Turkey and Quinoa Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, or the name I like to use, Dolma. It is called Dolma in Azerbaijan, and the neighboring regions. The name comes from the verb dolmag which translates as to be stuffed. This recipe is one of my many variations of the Dolma. Traditionally it is made with the beef and rice, but preparing it with the ground turkey and quinoa doesn’t make it less delicious. The herbs and spices in this recipe make the dish savory and appetizing. The garlic and yogurt dressing compliments the sweetness of the cabbage, and completes this dish creating a wonderful aroma. Try it out!

Prep: 30 min     Cook: 1 hr



1 large head of cabbage
1 pound ground turkey
½ cup quinoa, rinsed
1 onion or 2 cups , finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 large tomato or 1 cup canned, diced (optional)
½ cup fresh dill, chopped
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp thyme, chopped or 1 tsp dry
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp coriander seeds, freshly ground
pepper to taste
salt to taste
2 tbsp butter or olive oil
8 tbsp butter, cut into chunks (optional)*
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup cabbage water (from blanching the cabbage)


1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt to taste



In a large bowl mix the ground turkey, quinoa, 1 cup onion, celery, cilantro, dill, thyme, paprika, pepper and salt. Put it aside. In a Dutch oven or large pot heat the butter. Add the rest of the onion, and simmer on low for 5 to 8 minutes until translucent, then add  the tomato. Cover, and simmer for 10 more minutes. Remove from the stove top, and place it on the work surface within your reach.

In a large pot bring water to a boil. With a pairing knife cut out the core of the cabbage, and place the cabbage into the water. As soon as the top layer of the cabbage becomes softer about 2 minutes, remove it from the pot using tongs or a slotted spoon. Separate the leaves from each other as they blanch to prevent the cabbage from overcooking. Cut the larger leaves into two sections. Remove the ribs. Remove the ribs from the smaller leaves as well.

Place 1 to 2 tbsp of the filling on a leave. Roll it, tucking in the sides. Some of the leaves might not be able to be tucked in on both sides. That’s not a problem; just make sure that the filling is not falling out of that side once you are done rolling. Place the stuffed cabbage rolls in rows in the pot on top of the tomato mixture. Place the ribs and remaining cabbage leaves on top of the rolls.

Place a heat proof plate** over it. Place the butter chunks on top of the dish. Pour the boiling chicken broth and cabbage water onto the plate. It should barely cover the rolls. Cover the pot, and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the cabbage leaves are softened and the meat is cooked through.


Mix the garlic, salt and yogurt in a small bowl.

Serve warm with a dollop of the dressing.

* If the ground turkey you are using is low-fat or fat-free, the broth is going to turn out very light. You can add butter to make it creamier, or you can leave as it is. It tastes great either way!
**Microwave safe plate will work as well.


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