Etli Lahana Dolmasi Recipe - Authentic Turkish Cuisine

Etli Lahana Dolmasi

Etli Lahana Dolmasi Recipe - Authentic Turkish Cuisine
Region / culture: Turkey | Preparation time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 1 hour | Servings: 6


Etli Lahana Dolmasi
Etli Lahana Dolmasi

Etli Lahana Dolmasi is a traditional Turkish dish made with cabbage leaves stuffed with a flavorful mixture of lamb, rice, tomatoes, garlic, peppers, and parsley. This dish is a delicious and hearty meal that is perfect for a cozy family dinner or a special occasion.


Etli Lahana Dolmasi has been a popular dish in Turkish cuisine for centuries. It is believed to have originated in the Ottoman Empire and has since become a staple in Turkish households. The dish is typically served during special occasions and celebrations, as it is a labor-intensive dish that requires time and effort to prepare.


How to prepare

  1. Boil the cabbage leaves in water for 20–25 minutes.
  2. Mix all the other ingredients.
  3. Take one cabbage leaf and put about 1-2 tbsp of rice mix in the middle. Fold 0.5 inch of two longer side edges towards the middle, then roll the cabbage up.
  4. In a shallow large saucepan, place the stuffed cabbages, folding the loose edge under.
  5. Pour enough hot water with salt and pepper to cover all the stuffed cabbages.
  6. Serve it hot with fresh lemon juice.


  • For a vegetarian version, you can omit the lamb and add more vegetables such as mushrooms, carrots, and zucchini to the filling.
  • You can also add pine nuts or currants to the filling for a touch of sweetness and crunch.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

Be sure to boil the cabbage leaves until they are soft and pliable, as this will make it easier to roll them up with the filling.

- Use a sharp knife to core the cabbage and carefully remove the leaves without tearing them.

- Make sure to season the water with salt and pepper before boiling the cabbage leaves, as this will infuse them with flavor.

- Serve the Etli Lahana Dolmasi hot with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for a burst of citrusy flavor.

Serving Suggestions

Etli Lahana Dolmasi can be served with a side of yogurt or a fresh salad for a complete meal. It pairs well with a glass of red wine or a refreshing glass of ayran.

Cooking Techniques

The key cooking technique for Etli Lahana Dolmasi is to boil the cabbage leaves until they are soft and pliable, then stuff them with the filling and roll them up tightly. The stuffed cabbages are then simmered in a flavorful broth until cooked through.

Ingredient Substitutions

You can use ground beef or ground turkey instead of lamb for a lighter version of the dish.

- If you don't have red pepper paste, you can substitute with tomato paste mixed with a pinch of cayenne pepper.

Make Ahead Tips

You can prepare the filling for Etli Lahana Dolmasi ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. When ready to serve, simply stuff the cabbage leaves and cook as directed.

Presentation Ideas

Serve Etli Lahana Dolmasi on a platter garnished with fresh parsley and lemon wedges for a beautiful presentation. You can also drizzle some olive oil over the stuffed cabbages for a glossy finish.

Pairing Recommendations

Etli Lahana Dolmasi pairs well with a variety of side dishes, such as tabbouleh, hummus, or grilled vegetables. It also goes well with a side of rice pilaf or bulgur wheat.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Etli Lahana Dolmasi can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, place the stuffed cabbages in a saucepan with a little water and heat over low heat until warmed through.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Each serving of Etli Lahana Dolmasi contains approximately 300 calories.


Each serving of Etli Lahana Dolmasi contains approximately 35 grams of carbohydrates.


Each serving of Etli Lahana Dolmasi contains approximately 15 grams of fats.


Each serving of Etli Lahana Dolmasi contains approximately 12 grams of proteins.

Vitamins and minerals

Etli Lahana Dolmasi is a rich source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, and calcium.


Etli Lahana Dolmasi contains wheat (from the rice) and may contain traces of nuts.


Etli Lahana Dolmasi is a nutritious and delicious dish that is rich in carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. It is a satisfying meal that is perfect for a balanced diet.


Etli Lahana Dolmasi is a delicious and comforting dish that is perfect for a special occasion or a cozy family dinner. With its flavorful filling and tender cabbage leaves, this dish is sure to become a favorite in your household.

How did I get this recipe?

The moment I found this recipe is etched in my memory. It was a warm summer day, and I was visiting my dear friend Fatma in her cozy little house in the countryside. Fatma was known for her delicious Turkish dishes, and I always looked forward to trying out her latest creations.

On that particular day, as soon as I entered her kitchen, I was greeted by the enticing aroma of spices and herbs. Fatma was busy in the kitchen, chopping vegetables and preparing a traditional Turkish dish called Etli Lahana Dolmasi. I watched in awe as she expertly filled the cabbage leaves with a flavorful mixture of ground beef, rice, and spices.

As Fatma worked, she shared with me the story of how she learned to make Etli Lahana Dolmasi. It was a recipe that had been passed down through generations in her family, and she was proud to continue the tradition. She told me about her grandmother, who was famous for her cooking skills and had taught her the secrets of Turkish cuisine.

I was captivated by Fatma's storytelling and the way she infused her dishes with love and tradition. I knew that I had to learn how to make Etli Lahana Dolmasi for myself, so I asked her if she would be willing to teach me the recipe. With a smile, she handed me a pen and a piece of paper and began to dictate the ingredients and instructions.

The first step in making Etli Lahana Dolmasi, Fatma explained, was to carefully separate the leaves of a head of cabbage and blanch them in boiling water. This would make the leaves tender and pliable, perfect for wrapping around the filling. As I followed her instructions, I marveled at the simplicity and elegance of the dish.

Next, I mixed together ground beef, rice, onions, garlic, and a blend of spices to create a flavorful stuffing for the cabbage leaves. Fatma showed me how to spoon a small amount of the mixture onto each leaf and roll it up tightly, creating neat little bundles of goodness.

Once the dolmas were assembled, Fatma instructed me to arrange them in a pot, alternating layers of dolmas with slices of tomato and pepper. This would add even more flavor to the dish as it simmered on the stove. Finally, she poured a mixture of broth and tomato sauce over the dolmas and covered the pot with a lid, allowing them to cook slowly until the flavors melded together.

As the Etli Lahana Dolmasi simmered on the stove, filling the kitchen with its mouthwatering scent, Fatma and I sat down at the table to enjoy a cup of tea and catch up on old times. She regaled me with stories of her childhood in Turkey, of family gatherings and holiday feasts where the table was always laden with delicious food.

I listened intently, soaking up every word and savoring the warmth and comfort of Fatma's kitchen. It was a moment of connection and shared history, a reminder of the power of food to bring people together and create lasting memories.

When the dolmas were finally ready, Fatma and I sat down to enjoy a feast fit for a sultan. The tender cabbage leaves, filled with savory meat and rice, melted in my mouth, leaving behind a symphony of flavors that danced on my taste buds. I couldn't believe that I had created something so delicious with my own two hands.

As I savored each bite of Etli Lahana Dolmasi, I felt a sense of pride and accomplishment wash over me. I had learned a valuable lesson that day, not just in cooking but in the importance of preserving traditions and passing them down to future generations.

And so, the recipe for Etli Lahana Dolmasi became a cherished part of my culinary repertoire, a link to the past and a promise for the future. Every time I make this dish, I am transported back to that sunny afternoon in Fatma's kitchen, surrounded by love, laughter, and the taste of tradition.


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