Instant Pot Dolmas Recipe | Unstuffed Dolma Casserole

Dolma Casserole

If you’ve been looking for an Instant Pot Dolma recipe, this Instant Pot Unstuffed dolma casserole is the one you need. It’s a great way to make dolmas-without actually having to roll up each grape leaf individually.

Overhead shot of Instant Pot Dolma Recipe on white plate with tomatoes on the side

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This dolma casserole tastes exactly like stuffed grape leaf dolmas, but it’s an easy weeknight supper to put together. Try this and you may never make grape leaf dolmas in the traditional way again!

What Is An Unstuffed Dolmas Recipe?

What are dolmas really? Dolmas are essentially stuffed grape leaves and across the Levant, they are made in a variety of different ways. At the heart of it, you’re looking at grape leaves or if you’re in the Balkans, often cabbage leaves, stuffed with rice and usually some meat. The spices vary across regions.

Dolma means stuffed. But in each case, the grape or cabbage leaves are stuffed individually. You put down a grape leaf, you put in a mixture of raw meat and rice or sometimes bulgur, and you painstakingly roll each one up. You then cook the leaves until the rice and meat are cooked, a squirt of lemon juice, and you’re ready to go.

Dolmas can be eaten hot or cold. I prefer mine–both ways, hah! Eat some hot and eat some cold, I say. Why choose?

How To Make This Unstuffed Dolmas Recipe

I love dolmas, but I hate rolling up each one. Given my lazy efficient disposition, I just can’t even cope with rolling up 1000 grape leaves before we can eat. So most of the time I end up not making them.

I have been wondering for a long time though, WHY they need to be rolled? I mean sure, it’s portable, it’s traditional, and that’s just how it’s done.

But when was the last time I did things traditionally? Ground beef shawarma rice anyone? 30-minute butter chicken recipe? Butter chicken Pizza?

Yeah, I don’t do things traditionally, BUT I need my food to taste authentic and traditional.

So I decided to just play with this Instant Pot Dolma recipe. If I were a hipster, I’d be calling this deconstructed dolmas. But I am not a hipster.

So I call it unstuffed dolma casserole because in fact, what I did was I used the traditional dolma ingredients, but I cooked it all in one go in one pot.

  1. With your Instant Pot on Sauté mode, add olive oil to the pot. Add garlic and onions and stir. 
  2. Add the ground beef and break up any large pieces. You’re just trying to break up the ground beef, not cook nor brown it. 
  3. Add rice, grape leaves, parsley, ground allspice, salt, pepper, and water. Stir and immediately close the lid.   
  4. Cook for 4 minutes high pressure. Allow it to release pressure naturally for 10 mins and then release all remaining pressure.
  5. Sprinkle lemon juice and chopped mint and stir with a light hand to incorporate the juice but not break the rice.

How To Cook Ground Beef In The Instant Pot

One thing that’s different about cooking ground beef in the instant pot is that you do not need to brown the ground beef. Pressure cooking will brown and cook the meat just fine. So your job is just to break up the ground beef so it doesn’t cook up as a huge lump of beef, and you are good.

In fact, if you’re new to Instant Pot cooking, you may run into a few issues if you brown the meat. What happens is that the meat might make a brown fond at the bottom of the pot, and unless you very carefully deglaze the pot, you might well get a Burn message on your Instant Pot panel.

So why take a chance, and especially if it’s not going to vastly improve the flavor anyway? I say skip it. I’ve been cooking ground beef without browning in a pressure cooker for years and I assure you, it’s equally delicious without that extra step.

You can also substitute ground lamb or ground chicken for this Instant Pot Dolmas recipe if you’d like.

Getting the burn message and unsure as to why? Check out this article on Everything You Need To Know About The Instant Pot Burn Message!

Want More Easy Casserole Recipes?

Sideways shot of Instant Pot Dolma Recipe Casserole on white plate

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Dolma Casserole

Instant Pot Dolmas Recipe | Unstuffed Dolma Casserole

If you’ve been looking for an Instant Pot Dolma recipe, this Instant Pot Unstuffed dolma casserole is the one you need. It’s a great way to make dolmas-without actually having to roll up each grape leaf individually. This dolma casserole tastes exactly like stuffed grape leaf dolmas, but it’s an easy weeknight supper to put together. Try this and you may never make grape leaf dolmas in the traditional way again!

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Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 24 minutes

Total Time: 34 minutes

Course: Main Courses, Rice

Cuisine: Mediterranean

Keyword: dolmas casserole, dolmas recipe, instant pot dolmas

Servings: 6

Calories: 341kcal

Click on highlighted ingredients or Equipment to see exactly what I use to make this recipe

Ingredients

For Finishing

Instructions

  • With your Instant Pot on Sauté mode, add olive oil to the pot. Add garlic and onions and stir. 

  • Add the ground beef and break up any large pieces. You’re just trying to break up the ground beef, not cook nor brown it. 

  • Add rice, grape leaves, parsley, ground allspice, salt, pepper, and water. Stir and immediately close the lid.   

  • Cook for 4 Minutes high pressure. Allow it to release pressure naturally for 10 mins and then release all remaining pressure.

  • Sprinkle lemon juice and chopped mint and stir with a light hand to incorporate the juice but not break the rice.

  • Serve with Tzatziki on the side. 

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Nutrition

Calories: 341kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 13g | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 3g

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Originally Published June 25, 2018

Don’t forget to check out my other Best-selling Instant Pot Cookbooks!

Indian Instant Pot, Keto Instant Pot, Instant Pot Fast and Easy, Healthy Instant Pot & Vegetarian Instant Pot.

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